10 activities and events coming to Vail, Beaver Creek this winter: Tricia’s Winter Picks
Even during a pandemic, the Vail Valley still has a few ways you can enjoy the magic of winter
The ski season looks a little different this year, but there are still glimpses of splendor, wonder and winter’s brilliance through events that are either socially distanced or virtual. Safety is a top priority this winter, while still enjoying the best time of year. Here are a few ideas on how to fill your days and nights while in the Vail Valley this winter.
Revely Vail – Nov. 28-Dec. 11 – Vail and Lionshead villages
Vail’s Welcome to the Brilliance of Winter features tree lightings, ice skating shows, astronomy nights and more. Free take-home crafts like an ornament painting kit from Alpine Arts Center can be found by visiting the Vail Welcome Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily on the top deck of the Vail Village parking structure.
The skating shows are just 15 minutes to promote people from gathering for too long. This week’s show will feature 2018 Olympian Karen Chen and one of the stars from Disney’s “World on Ice,” Alexe Gilles, who portrays Elsa in “Frozen on Ice.” The shows will be at 5 and 6 p.m. on Dec. 5, 12, 29 and 26. Astronomy Nights start next Saturday. See revelyvail.com for the entire schedule.
Vail Holidays – Dec. 11-Dec. 31
Kris Kringle Market – Dec. 11-12 – Vail Village
Shop local and support local businesses and artisans by visiting the Kris Kringle Market on Dec. 11 and 12 in Vail Village. Sip on a hot drink while shopping for wares to deck out your home or shopping for those on your holiday list. Check out facebook.com/VailKrisKringle for more details.
Holiday Sweater Run – Dec. 12 – Vail Village
Don your flashy-est jingle sweater and some fun tights and hit the streets of Vail for the annual Holiday Sweater Run on Dec. 12. The 5K run will start in waves beginning at 8:45 a.m. and will start and end at Bart & Yeti’s in Lionshead. Register in advance at vailrec.com.
Tree Lighting Ceremony – Vail Village
The official holiday tree in Lionshead Village was lit on Nov. 28 in a virtual ceremony on Facebook.com/discovervailco. Check the website or Facebook page to see when the tree lighting will be in Vail Village near the Covered Bridge.
New Years Eve Fireworks – Dec. 31 – over the skies of Vail
View fireworks from the base of Vail Mountain, from a snowshoe trail across the valley, from your hotel or condo window or from your car in the parking structures, ring in the New Year after viewing the Vail Holidays Fireworks display.
Magic of Lights: – Dec. 11-Jan. 24 — Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
New this season, Magic of Lights Vail is a one-of-a-kind celebration of lights offering a memorable, physically-distanced and safe activity for the entire family. Experience a half million lights that will be artfully displayed along a 0.5-mile area of the Lower Bench area of Ford Park and culminates in the beautiful Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. This is an area that most people don’t visit during the wintertime, so prepare to be wowed this season east of Vail Village.
This is a ticketed event with peak pricing (adults: $20; children ages 3 to 12: $10; Children 2 years and younger are free and do not require a ticket) and off-peak pricing (adults: $15; children ages 3 to 12: $5; Children 2 years and younger are free and do not require a ticket). For more information and to get tickets, visit magicoflightsvail.com.
Vail Winterfest – Dec. 20-End of January – Gore Creek, Vail Village
View artwork with ice as the medium in the illuminated Ice Sculpture Installation and Community Lantern Display as it comes to life on Dec. 20 and lasts until the end of January. These ice sculptures come to life on Gore Creek and make for great photos ops. The Community Lanterns offer a festive touch to Vail Village. Go to vailholidays.com for more information.
Vail Après Ski – 4 p.m. daily – Vail and Lionshead villages
Après is a French term that means “after” so après ski simply translated means “after skiing” and is the equivalent to happy hour. The town of Vail started a new tradition to kick off après ski last season with the ringing of the bells to herald the beginning of Vail Aprés, featuring strolling outdoor live music on select days and signature specials at shops and restaurants.
Vilar Performing Arts Center events
While most events and activities will be held outdoors, the Vilar Performing Arts Center hopes to host some in-person events along with virtual events. Here’s a look at the lineup as of press time. Check vilarpac.org for more information and updates to schedules.
Vilar Film Series
- Teton Gravity Research “Roadless” – Dec. 17 – Tickets: $10 – 4:30 and 8 p.m.
- Teton Gravity Research “Make Believe” – Dec. 22 and 23 – Tickets: $10– 4:30 and 8 p.m.
- “S&M2: Metallica & San Francisco Symphony” – Dec. 28 and 29 – Tickets: $20 – 8 p.m.
The Residency Concerts – Check vilarpac.org for ticket details
With multi-day residencies in Beaver Creek, the Vilar Performing Arts Center is taking a unique approach to concerts during a pandemic. At press time, the following concerts are set to be small-attendance, socially-distanced shows in the theater.
- Micaela Taylor’s All Star Band – Jan. 7-9, 7 p.m.
- Robert Randolph featuring G. Love, Michael Kang & Special Guests – Jan. 14-16, 7 p.m.
- Leftover Salmon – Jan. 21-23, 7 p.m.
- Keller Williams – Jan. 28-30, 7 p.m. Some shows will feature the Keller Williams duo and special guest Greg Garrison of Leftover Salmon, and the Keller Williams Trio featuring special guests Garrett Sayers of Motet and Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic
- Oteil Burbridge Trio and special guests – Feb. 4-6, 7 p.m.
A comedy show in set for Dec. 27. Straight from Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Standups of All Time,” Jim Breuer will present “The New Normal” at 6 and 9 p.m. I think we could all use some comedy as we close out 2020. See the Vilar’s protocols for how they are following Eagle County’s guidelines for holding events safely at this time.
The Vilar Performing Arts Center is also streaming many events. Look for wonderful performances from holiday shows to ballet to classical shows and more. The Vilar is also hosting Meet the Expert, which are streamed classes that are a part of a career-preparedness series. Here, viewers can learn about the entertainment industry and the different opportunities available to those who are inspired by the arts. Log on to vilarpac.org or follow social media platforms for more information.
Beaver Creek Wonder – all season
Beaver Creek has some surprises for you the next time you visit the village. Beaver Creek Wonder is not a pandemic project, but rather something that has been in the making for over three years and it’s coming to fruition this season, which is fitting since many attractions need to be outdoors due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Beaver Creek is calling this an artistic playground of photo-friendly, oversized sculptures that are placed throughout the plaza. Here’s a list of the new creations and for more information, go to Beavercreek.com or download the new and improved app.
- CHIPS: Dreamy childhood memories come alive at CHIPS: the remodeled ice cream truck that’s been turned into a cookie truck.
- Frost Flowers: Ever in bloom, Frost Flowers and their petals illuminate the village each night
- Snowed In: Experience the magic of a Colorado winter day inside this life-size snow globe.
- Reflections: Discover a new perspective with a peek into the ski mirrors.
- Ice Bikes: Enjoy classic summer fun on the rink as you pedal an ice bike, no skates necessary.
- Super G: View Beaver Creek through vibrant, larger-than-life goggles.
Colorado Snowsports Museum
The Colorado Snowsports Museum is open for guests to learn more about the fascinating history of snowsports in Colorado. Located in the top Vail Village parking structure, the Colorado Snowsports Museum is a must see to and from the slopes and activities and shops of Vail Village. Speaking of shops, the Colorado Snowsports Museum has a wonderful gift shop right in the museum.
The Colorado Snowsports Museum underwent a multi-million dollar remodel and now showcases artifacts, equipment and information throughout six main exhibits These range from a section on the 10th Mountain Division, the famed winter warfare unit that trained just south of Vail at Camp Hale, to an interactive table display, an idea that came from the Smithsonian Institute, that shows the history of ski resorts throughout Colorado.
The Colorado Snowsports Museum’s offers programming as well. The popular Through the Lens presentation series is back for another winter. During the pandemic, the presentations will be virtual. Through the Lens presentations feature notable scientists, athletes and historians as they share stories and experiences that have helped shape Colorado’s rich snow sports heritage. All programs will be virtual this year and will go live from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Events are free with a suggested donation.
The Colorado Snowsports Museum also offers free Walking Tours on “everything you wanted to know about Vail in 60 minutes.” From how Vail was conceived and the crazy years of building the resort to the world-class resort it is today, learn more about this beloved mountain community. Tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, start at 11 a.m. and are $5 per person. Learn more about the Colorado Snowsports Museum at snowsportsmuseum.org.
There are several ice rinks throughout Eagle County and at press time they were operating and hope to continue operating this winter. Let the kids burn off some energy while you grab a drink and enjoy the stars or snow while outdoors. Don’t forget, both Vail villages and Beaver Creek now allow those 21 and older to have adult beverages is designated areas. Ice rinks can be found at Solaris in Vail Village, the Arrabelle and Vail Square in Lionshead, the Dobson Ice Arena in Lionshead, the Black Family Ice Rink in Beaver Creek and the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink.
Skate rentals are available at many of these locations if you don’t have your own. Skating lessons are available at some locations, too. New this year at Beaver Creek: ice bikes. I have not seen these yet, but be on the lookout for them this season. Also, if the weather cooperates, there may be an ice rink set up on a part of Nottingham Lake this winter, so follow the town of Avon’s website or social media channels for more information.
Ice bumper cars
Speaking of ice time, you can enjoy scooting around on the new ice bumper cars at the Dobson Ice Arena this year. The Vail Recreation District debuted these fun vehicles last spring and they offer adults and children over 48-inches tall the opportunity to zoom around, spin, skid and slide to a good time.
Rides are $10 per person for a 15-minute ride. There will be one trip per half-hour to allow for social distancing between groups. Up to 12 people at a time can go out on the bumper cars per session. Get your reservations and learn more by going to vailrec.com.