Plan your ultimate summer
May 23, 2014
This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, an all-too-short window of long, sunny days filled with events and activities that can only be experienced in the mountains in the summer. However, due to the incredibly fleeting nature of the season, the documented incidences of FOMO rise drastically in months of June through September*. FOMO, or "fear of missing out," is a form of social anxiety, a compulsive concern that one might miss out on a social gathering, momentous event or some other opportunity for fun.
FOMO is real, but it doesn't have to happen to you. Starting this weekend, make an effort to eradicate FOMO with this in-no-way comprehensive, totally biased and completely subjective list of ultimate summer experiences in the Vail Valley.
Did the fact that Monday is Memorial Day completely sneak up you? It's not surprising. Due to the "polar vortex" and lingering winter weather, several of the Vail Valley's residents admit that they didn't realize that Monday was a holiday and many were planning on showing up for work as normal.
In order to start the summer season off correctly, then Memorial Day should be treated like the holiday. Avoid FOMO by either playing in the Cut and Slice Golf Event at Beaver Creek; participate in one of the Vail Valor Races (there are one mile, five mile, half marathon and full marathon options); go explore the tasty brunch options from local restaurants like Mountain Standard, La Tour, Kelly Liken and the Sonnenalp Hotel at FEAST! Vail's Memorial Day Brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Call a few friends and organize some other social activity, such as a cook-out or spontaneous neighborhood performance of Pharell's "Happy," because this is America, not Iran.
The 'Must Do' Check List to Circumvent FOMO
❑ GET WET
Yes, Colorado is a land-locked state, but that doesn't mean that you have to stay dry all summer. Get to Gore Creek for the Vail Whitewater Race Series on Tuesdays through June 11; there are divisions for kayaks, rafts and stand-up paddleboards. Not sure what's SUP? Explore Sylvan Lake, Piney Lake or the calmer sections of the Colorado River on a rented stand-up paddleboard — it's easier than it looks. One more to-do for the summer-time list? Take a float trip with Turtle Tubing. Just a few friends and some tubes on the Colorado River? Priceless.
❑ BE AN ATHLETE (OR BE AN
For those athletically inclined folks, there are few places in the country that offer as many outdoor activities as the Vail Valley, both recreationaly and competitively. In order to satisfy outdoor urges, it's necessary to participate in and/or attend at least one of the many of sporting events that are taking place this summer. Start with the GoPro Mountain Games, June 5–8, where you can cheer on climbers, support the slack liners and root for everything else in between. For FOMO of the competitive sort, sign up for a race: the Vail Rec District's Mountain Bike Race Series and Trail Running Race Series run throughout the summer. The Beaver Creek XTERRA off-road triathlon, which allows participants to knock out not one but three events off of the list, takes place July 19-20. Then there are the long-distance runs such as the Ragnar Relay and the TransRockies Run and more bike races … it's enough to keep one in motion right up until ski season.
❑ BAG A 14ER
A quintessential Colorado activity, bagging a 14er simply means summiting one of Colorado's 52 peaks that rise more than 14,000 feet above sea level. However, hiking one of these peaks is not necessarily simple. The 14er hanging out in Vail's back yard, Mount of the Holy Cross, is accessed from Minturn and is considered one of the more difficult peaks to summit. It's doable, though, with a bit of planning and preparation and the victory beverage consumed at the conclusion tastes much sweeter with the accomplishment.
❑ FIND A NEW BAND
Warning: the announcement of an upcoming concert can be one of the most common — and debilitating — triggers of FOMO*. With the packed full lineup of musical opportunities happening in the Vail Valley this summer, it's almost impossible to see every show. It is, however, an admirable goal and one that should be attempted. Start with the free concerts during the GoPro Mountain Games. Attend the Tuesday night Bud Light Hot Summer Night Concerts at the Ford Amphitheater, and then head to Beaver Creek for the weekly Beaver Creek Music Experience concerts on Wednesdays.
The Vail Summer Bluegrass Series starts on July 2 and be on the lookout for the lineup at Gypsum Daze, July 16-19. Then there's the Soul Mountain Music Festival, Aug. 15–17, and the new Rendezvous Music Festival, Sept. 19-20, in Beaver Creek and the many concerts at Wolcott Yacht Club, State Bridge and countless other venues.
❑ LOUNGE ON THE LAWN
The lawn of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, to be precise. It's an only-in-Vail experience that should be on every list: hearing a world-class orchestra like the Dallas Symphony Orchestra perform while lounging on a blanket on the lawn, nibbling at grapes or Cheetos (totally your preference). Ditto on seeing a performance during the Vail International Dance Festival, though eating is often forgotten as you sit spellbound by the performances.
❑ SAVE A HORSE,
RIDE a COWBOY
It's the 75th Anniversary of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo, taking place July 23–26 and there's no excuse for not seeing the rodeo. Get your boots dusty and worn in at the Beaver Creek Rodeo Series at Traer Creek on Thursday nights before going to the big show in Eagle in July.
❑ SPRECHEN SIE
Technically, Vail is not in Germany, but you'd be hard pressed to prove that during a few special weeks. At the end of August, Oktoberfest begins in Beaver Creek and then celebrations oompah their way into Vail. Dirndls and lederhosen abound, mugs are raised and barrels are bowled, bringing to mind the beauty of Bavaria, which is what Vail's founders had in mind in the first place. Pick a weekend, or attend all three, but be sure to participate in Oktoberfest.
❑ EAT (AND DRINK) SOMETHING
It's a little known fact that the reason that the Vail area is home to so many active people is because of the inordinate opportunities for gluttony* that occur year-round. The summer is no exception. With so many amazing culinary options to experience, sampling is crucial. From the new Flavors of Colorado Food, Drink, Music and Arts Festival in Avon to the Beaver Creek Wine & Spirits Festival, Gourmet on Gore, Vail Beaver Creek Restaurant Week and the countless other prospects to nosh, it might be worth referencing the "Be An Athlete" section. Often.
❑ DRINK LOCAL
Colorado is known for its craft beer and the Vail Valley is upholding its end of the brewing bargain admirably, with new options popping up like prairie dogs. Raising a pint at Crazy Mountain Brewing in Edwards and Bonfire Brewing and 7 Hermits in Eagle is a celebration of local goodness and is a definite must-do for the summer. Looking to sample many beers in one, convenient setting? Check out EdFest in Edwards in August. More of a liquor lover? 10th Mountain Division Whiskey & Spirit Company will be satisfying those cravings soon.
This list is by no means comprehensive enough to stave off all signs of FOMO. There simply wasn't enough space to list things like, "learn to cast a fly rod," "go camping at Gore Lake," "join an intermural softball team," "drink the Vail Valley's best Bloody Mary" or "find the golf ball that I lost near the 8th hole." Rest assured, though, that there are people that can help with FOMO. The first step is admitting that you're suffering. **
*Denotes completely fabricated information.
** This article is not intended to cure FOMO. Instead, it's simply meant as a guide to help alleviate the problem. Side effects may include overexertion, a lack of focus at work, incessant calendar wrangling and quite possibly the best summer ever.
Katie Coakley is a freelance writer and part-time Colorado resident who likes to travel, drink beer and sip whiskey. She then writes about it. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Katieonthe map.com, or by buying her a pint on a sunny deck. Email comments about this story to High Life Editor Caramie Schnell at firstname.lastname@example.org.