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Vail is the Ideal Choice for Families Who Love Multiple Winter Adventures

Writer, Forbes

Our first day of our week-long winter break trip at Vail was super sunny and warm. I waited with my 13-year-old twin boys until they were matched with the ideal group and the happiest instructor I’ve ever met. They were off and then the really scary part of ski school began—my own beginner lesson.
After confessing my irrational fear of ski lifts, my encouraging instructor whisked me up to the beginner slope for an evaluation.
Yes, I had to endure one trip up the magic carpet. But I quickly graduated to an actual lift, which I gracefully exited without incident. It was already a very successful morning.
In fact, I had such a blast, I asked my instructor about another lesson before my first one even ended.


My classmates were small children

My own kids had already skied off to more advanced terrain as I spent the morning sharing the mountain with some very small and very adorable children.
I was really impressed by the way the youngest kids learned how to ski and were even equipped with special vests that allowed their instructors to efficiently pick them up from the lift and gently place them on the snow.
My kids quickly jumped a few levels each day and loved tracking their progress on their phones with the EpicMix app. They bragged of thousands of feet, many vertical miles, and several levels.
Since my kids notoriously argue over who has to carry what, I was thrilled to discover that we could store our skis and snowboards by the mountain. Another bonus—the ever-helpful staff will even help kids (and struggling adults) get strapped into their boots. And all of this was just the beginning.
Vail offers something for everyone so it is basically impossible for anyone in your family to get bored.
My son, David, skied for a few days and then decided that he wanted to try snowboarding. The folks at Vail swapped out his equipment and he happily spent the next few days turning into a snowboarding pro. His instructor thoughtfully filmed him so I could see how great he was doing (and so he could Instagram his friends back home).
My kids loved ski school and I knew they were well taken care of so I was able to experience some quality adult time and jump into some of Vail’s other amazing activities. I took a cross-country skiing lesson, where our super enthusiastic instructor taught my group how to glide and try out some of the cool moves we had all seen in the Olympics, although at a much, much slower pace. 
My other favorite activity—a day at the spa. I indulged in an afternoon at the fabulous spa at the Arrabelle at Vail Square, A Rock Resort, which has a gorgeous hot tub and Rocky Mountain views. After a glorious 50-minute massage, I was completely reinvigorated and ready to dive into even more winter fun with my boys at Vail’s Adventure Ridge.


Tubing, hot chocolate, and snow bikes—oh, my!

Adventure Ridge is a snow park that is as big as a football field and the perfect place for families to spend time together. The highlight for us was the multi-lane extra speedy tubing slope.
It was tough giving up an afternoon of skiing and snowboarding but my boys loved the tubing run. They had a blast zipping down at top speed and then riding up again. 
After about 20 runs, I lured them away with some nearby hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows. Adventure Ridge also has snow bikes for more advanced visitors and a kid’s snowmobiling track for kids under 12.
Next time, we want to try the Mountain Coaster and join one of the free evening snowshoe tours.
Just a few steps from Adventure Ridge is Bistro Fourteen, right off the Eagle Bahn Gondola. It is one of my favorite on-mountain places to stop for a casual but sophisticated lunch. I love the winter salad and the Lamb Rueben plus it’s only $10 for a three-course kids’ meal.
Another place I love to eat and hang out is Bol.
Yes, it’s a bowling alley, but since this is Vail, it is unlike any other bowling alley you have visited. The concierge brings your shoes to your pre-reserved lane and food is delivered by a friendly waitstaff. While my children were arguing over who was most likely to get the next strike, I was enjoying one of Bol’s signature cocktails—a gin and tonic served with rose petals.
My family took advantage of both the upscale treats (strip steak and roasted chickpeas) and also indulged in the more traditional pizza, chicken strips, and gourmet fries. My son, Ian, celebrated his bowling victory with a chocolate milk shake.
My kids and I also enjoyed several delicious meals at White Bison, where the bison burgers and fish tacos are outstanding but can’t quite compete with the dessert cronuts, dipped in chocolate sauce. Right next door is Fuzziwigs Candy Factory, the ideal stop for homemade fudge and old-fashioned treats. We left with several pounds of candy and a toffee apple.


Bonding in one of the most beautiful places in the world

If we had had any extra energy, we would have spent an hour on the ice skating rink in the center of town.
And on our next trip, I definitely want to check out a hockey game at the local stadium and stop by CineBistro, the over-the-top movie theatre that is conveniently located right next to the ice skating rink in the village. 
And I am already planning a leisurely meal at The 10th—Vail’s ski in/ski out gourmet restaurant.
That is the place to go when you just have to celebrate another terrific day with delicious food, a stellar wine list, and views of the Gore Range.
I love the fact that Vail makes skiing and snowboarding, and just about anything else that we wanted to do, hassle free.
The mountain is gorgeous, the ski school is the best, the activities are endless, the food is terrific, the accommodations are luxurious, and everyone is always smiling—from toddlers to potentially grouchy teens.
In fact, I can’t stop smiling every time I think about our terrific adventure and can’t wait to go back for another week of family bonding in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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