Mother’s Day, Kentucky Derby, spring skiing, Charlie Brown and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 5/6/22
Brunch and spa deals for mom, a mint julip for your Derby party, a little coffee talk for car lovers and fun in the sun on the slopes
With Vail Mountain closing last Sunday and snow still falling this week, you may have forgotten that it’s already Mother’s Day this Sunday. It’s never too late to let mom know how much you appreciate her.
If your mom lives elsewhere, hurry up and send a card, flowers, a heartfelt gift or you can always make that phone call. If your mom is with you in the Vail Valley, here are a few places you can go and a few things you can do to treat her on this special day that celebrates moms and motherhood.
Mother’s Day brunch is a popular activity on this national holiday. While many restaurants are closed for the off-season or for remodeling, there are a few that are doing Mother’s Day brunch. Call ahead to make a reservation as space and staffing may be limited.
Many of the local spas are offering spring specials and deals on gift cards. Contact your mom’s favorite spa for more details.
Think outside of the box, or just think “outside.” There are many nontraditional gifts to get the mountain mom. From camping gear to biking gear, golf wear, hiking shoes and socks, a wide-brimmed hat to protect your mom from the sun’s rays, the possibilities are endless.
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As with most gift-giving holidays, the biggest thing to remember is that it’s the thought that counts. Put some thought into it and act fast because once again, Mother’s Day is this Sunday.
The Kentucky Derby, referred to as the fastest two minutes in sports, is surrounded by long standing traditions that date back to the first race held in 1875. KentuckyDerby.com, the official website of the Run for the Roses, calls it a “celebration of Southern culture” and a “true icon of Americana.”
In the past, several Vail Valley restaurants and bars have hosted Kentucky Derby events, but with restaurant closures and remodeling projects, there’s not as many places to go to watch the event locally this year. Maya Restaurant at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon has hosted Kentucky Derby parties for years, but this year it is closed because it is being turned into a contemporary American grill that will open this summer.
In the meantime, the Lookout Lobby Bar is still open and will be showing the race on multiple TVs. Come on in and try their specialty cocktail, the Kentucky Preacher, made with elderflower, bourbon and lemon citrus.
Make your way over to Grand Hyatt Vail and enjoy $12 mint julep’s in the fireside lounge with the Derby on all the TV screens.
If you can’t find a party to go to, no problem, you can don the big hat, fascinators and seer-sucker suits and create your own Kentucky Derby Party at home.
According to KentuckyDerby.com, over 120,000 mint julips will be served at Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby at the race venue, Churchill Downs. To make the perfect mint julip, the Vail Daily asked whiskey aficionado Gary Schwedt, owner of West Vail Liquor Mart, for his recipe tips.
Perfect Mint Julip:
Start out with fresh mint but then make sure to use crushed ice, not cubed ice.
“Crushed ice opens the drink up a little better, it’s a little more fun, like you are drinking a bourbon slurpy. It also gives you a more consistent temperature to the drink,” Schwedt said.
As for the bourbon, Schwedt calls Woodford Reserve his go-to for the traditional Kentucky Derby drink.
“You can also use any bourbon from Kentucky like Bardstown or Maker’s Mark or Michter’s will work, too,” Schwedt said.
The drink is sweetened by adding sugar, either in the form of sugar cubes, straight sugar or simple syrup.
“I recommend using a simple syrup because the drink will mix better, it’s a more consistent drink and you won’t have the grit from the sugar granules,” Schwedt said.
Put four or five mint leaves in the bottom of a glass and “muddle” the leaves with a muddle stick, which is a bartender’s tool that smashes up leaves, fruit, herbs or spices to release their flavors and oils. Add a half an ounce of simple syrup to the leaves and muddle some more. Add two-and-a-half ounces of bourbon.
Add crushed ice until the glass gets frosty then garnish with a leaf or two of mint and serve cold.
“If you have a pewter, silver, copper or aluminum cup, serve the mint julip in that,” Schwedt said.
If you want to sip while watching the fastest two minutes in sports, Schwedt recommends Basil Hayden, Blue Run, Orphan Barrel Fable and Folly and Jefferson Reserve. Pour some bourbon into a rocks glass with a big ice cube and sit back and relax and see if your horse wins. Grab an ice cube tray to make your cubes at home before the race. Grab a tray that makes four big square cubes at a time or try the round cubes to elevate your bourbon drinking experience at home.
Serve your mint julip or sipping bourbon with dishes like the famous Hot Brown open-faced sandwich, bourbon meatballs or pretty much anything with Vidalia onions.
Skiing and snowboarding
With the recent snowfall earlier this week and cooler temperatures, why not hit the slopes this weekend? Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains are now closed, but Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Winter Park are still open for the season.
Breckenridge welcomes skiers and riders to its high alpine environment with a base elevation at 9,600 feet above sea level and terrain available on Peaks 6, 7 and 8. At press time, Breckenridge.com listed 44% of its terrain open with 84 out of 187 trails to choose from serviced by six lifts. There will be less crowds during the week than on the weekends. The mountain opens at 9 a.m. and closes for the day at 4 p.m. Grab a salmon burger at Sevens restaurant at the base of Peak 7 when you need to fuel up during the day or grab something while on top near Independence SuperChair at Pioneer Crossing. Breck plans to stay open until Memorial Day.
Arapahoe Basin typically boasts the longest ski and snowboard season in Colorado, often times operating though the Fourth of July holiday or beyond. According to ArapahoeBasin.com they plan on staying open until June 5. A-Basin is celebrating 75 years and they still have nine out of nine lifts open serving 115 out of 145 trails.
Besides gliding on snow, there are a few extra happenings going on this weekend.
Shakin’ at the Basin is the ski area’s weekend concert series. This Saturday, check out A-Mac & The Height, an alternative reggae, folk and fusion band from Denver. The band will play two sets on the Mountain Goat Plaza between 1 and 4 p.m.
There’s also Snow & Throw – yes, you can play disc golf and ski or ride on the slopes! A-Basin has never heard of this, but they are going with it and making a tournament out of it. Head up to the Black Mountain Lodge for the pre-party and instructions on how the event will flow. One disc will be provided, and players are asked to bring another disc of their choice. Participants can go down the hill on alpine skis, telemark skis, snowboards, snow skates, ski bikes or snowshoes. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.
Bring something to toss on the grill and plan to hang at “the beach,” which is the area at the base by the parking lot to complete the vibe of A-Basin.
Just a few miles from Arapahoe Basin, you’ll find Loveland Ski Area, which is open until Sunday. There are seven out of 10 lifts open currently servicing 85 out of 94 trails. The lifts are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Toyota Days will be going on all weekend, giving those who stop by the Toyota tent a chance to win a Toyota (wow!), a Never Summer snowboard or other fun prizes. There will be live music Friday through Sunday at Ptarmigan Cabin and at the base.
On Sunday, celebrate the conclusion of another great season at Loveland with an outdoor barbecue, drink specials and live music from Uptown Toodeloo on the Basin Patio. For more information on bands and lift tickets, go to SkiLoveland.com.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”
The theater department from the Vail Mountain School middle school has been busy putting the final touches on their spring performance of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The Peanuts gang is all in attendance. You see Lucy, being the boss lady as always, trying to get the attention of piano virtuoso, Schroeder. There’s Sally, Charlie Brown’s sister, always making fun of Linus and his security blanket, Snoopy, who is off doing his own thing and then of course, Charlie Brown.
Come to the Peter Ambuisi Theater at Vail Mountain School and enjoy some laughs, a life lesson or two and antics that may even make you say “good grief” at this weekend’s shows, which start at 6:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $7.50 for students and $10 for adults and can be purchased at VMS.BookTix.com.
Cars and Coffee
For all you classic car, sports car and unique and rare-to-find car enthusiasts out there, head over to the Northside Coffee and Kitchen for Cars and Coffee on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Cars and Coffee has been around for over a dozen years travels to different locations throughout Eagle County and even travels over to Summit County to share the love of cars with anyone who is interested.
“We welcome everyone. Car enthusiasts range from people like me who enjoy a single (not expensive) enthusiast car to those who sale up and have to make a decision about which great car to bring,” said Mark Bergman, president of the Vail Automotive Classic and Vail Concours. “Spectators are always welcome and the people who bring their cars love to answer questions.”
The group aims to meet at two events per month and the locations vary. View the calendar at HighCountryCarsAndCoffee.wordpress.com and sign up for the Cars and Coffee mailing list to keep up to date on happenings like the Vail Concours, set for Sept. 16-18. More details can be found at VailConcours.com.
This event is constantly growing, and attendance varies as do the cars.
“There’s no charge to participate, although the organizer always appreciates a cup of coffee if someone is buying!” Bergman said. “Some event goers meet early before heading out on a drive while others may opt to stay a couple hours. Car enthusiasts from out of town are always welcome, too.”