Tricia’s Top Winter Picks
See what not-to-miss events are filling the winter calendar in 2022
The skiing and riding at Vail and Beaver Creek are usually enough to keep you busy, but here are some not-to-miss events that you can incorporate into your time on and off the slopes.
Winter Culinary Weekend
Wine and dine among the pines at this foodie event that takes you away from the table and to the slopes with skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing all a part of the program. Burn some calories and work up an appetite with 10 events that span across four days, Jan. 20-23.
Beaver Creek’s own chefs will welcome a talented group of award-winning chefs, hailing from California to Colorado. Many of these chefs have been on The Food Network, the Cooking Channel, Bravo, documentaries and podcasts.
Start your day out with a guided snowshoe excursion that takes you to Grouse Mountain Grill for a gourmet luncheon. Or how about skiing or riding with Beaver Creek’s renowned instructors followed by lunch at Zach’s Cabin, an on-mountain restaurant on the slopes of Bachelor Gulch.
There will be 12 wineries from California on hand for the wine tastings and dinners, but there will also be a mixology class Friday, featuring LALO Tequila and Laws Whiskey House. If you’ve ever wondered if the shape of your glass actually makes a difference in how your wine tastes, make sure to attend the glassware seminar Sunday, where you will learn that tasting is believing.
Tickets do sell out for several of the events. To view the full schedule, visit BeaverCreek.com/culinary.
Winter Mountain Games
If you love the GoPro Mountain Games in the summer, you are going to really enjoy the Winter Mountain Games preview happening Feb. 25-27.
For those of you who were here or can remember, the Winter Mountain Games aren’t new; the Games have just taken a hiatus for the past eight years. The Vail Valley Foundation, the owner and operator of the winter and summer version of the Mountain Games, is excited to put on this preview event and will bring the Winter Mountain Games back in full in 2023.
Just like the summer version, the Winter Mountain Games blends together athletes, art, mountains and music. In addition to the competitions, there will be concerts, films and plenty of opportunities to gather “S.W.A.G.” (Stuff We All Get) at vendor booths.
The events range from serious competitions that will test your lungs and legs to zany activities. Some combine both. For example, imagine “running” up Golden Peak in either your ski or snowboard boots. That’s what will be happening during the Nature Valley Bootlegger Hill Climb. Don’t laugh, the payout is pretty good with $1,600 in prize money up for grabs.
In the serious side of competitions, there will be several Skimo events, which will be part of the USA Skimo National Championship races. This is this an up-and-coming, soon-to-be Olympic winter sport.
Mountain biking is a winter thing thanks to the oversized tires with the chunky tread that allows bikers to navigate the snow. The TIAA Bank Fat Tire Bike Challenge is open to all ability levels with a $900 prize purse for the top riders.
Dogs are welcome at the Winter Mountain Games, too. Head out to the 5-kilometer course at the Vail Nordic Center for a snowshoe with your four-legged friend in the 5K Dog Derby Snowshoe Race.
Play in the snow all day but save some energy for a little dancing to the live music happening after the races.
For a look at the full schedule, to register and to learn more about the Winter Mountain Games Preview, go to Winter.MountainGames.com.
Vertical Express for MS with Jonny Moseley
Skiing for a cause, powder for a purpose, whatever your reason, you can shred the slopes for charity with Olympian Jonny Moseley on Feb. 26. The Vertical Express for MS returns to Vail Mountain to raise critical funds for those living with multiple sclerosis.
The locally-based nonprofit Can Do MS invites teams and individuals from all over the region to Vail to participate in amateur races, a costume contest and an après-ski party to help fund its programs.
The Can Do MS organization was formerly known as The Jimmy Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis. Jimmy Heuga was an Olympic bronze medalist in Alpine skiing. He and teammate Billy Kidd made America proud when Kidd finished second and Heuga finished third on the podium in Innsbruck, Austria, at the 1964 Olympic Games.
Heuga was diagnosed with MS early in his career, and he revolutionized treatment with a whole-body approach. He wanted to focus on the things that those with MS can do versus the things they can’t do.
Can Do MS is hosting two ski events with Olympic skier Jonny Moseley, one in Vail and the other in Lake Tahoe at Palisades Tahoe on March 12. You bring the vertical; Jonny Moseley will bring the fun. Be sure to wear a costume or have your team dress up in the theme of your choice.
There is no cause or cure for MS, but Can Do MS provides hope and a pathway to take charge of the disease. To find out, more please visit CanDo-MS.org.
Vail Legacy Weekend
Vail Mountain will celebrate the legacy with the 10th Mountain Division Feb. 18-21, over President’s Day Weekend. The 10th Mountain Division is the Army’s winter warfare unit that trained at Camp Hale, just south of Vail to prepare for battle during World War II in Europe.
Many of the members of the 10th came back to the United States after the war ended and shaped the outdoor and ski industry into what we know it as today. Tenth Mountain Division member Pete Seibert started Vail, and other soldiers came back and created outdoor schools, like NOLS and Outward Bound, SKI Magazine and Nike.
This year marks the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Riva Ridge. On Feb. 18, 1945, 700 men congregated on Riva Ridge, while the rest of the 10th Mountain Division waited to take Mount Belvedere the next night. Those battles were a pivotal point in the war where the Allies were able to break down an area known as the German Gothic Line. Riva Ridge, the longest trail on Vail Mountain, is named after this battle.
For the full schedule and more information, go to the Signature Events section of Vail.com.
Women at the Summit: Skadi Vail
Ladies, we have an event just for you on Vail Mountain. Women at the Summit: Skadi Vail returns and welcomes women to the slopes for some skill building, camaraderie and fun. According to Norse mythology, Skadi is the goddess of winter.
Gear demos are a big part of the weekend. Test out the latest gear specifically designed for women. It’s not just a “pink it and shrink it” type of model, where gear was just reduced in size and painted a pretty color. Ski companies are manufacturing equipment to help women ski better and enjoy the sport more.
In addition to the gear demo and expo, panel discussions will also be held with an all-star lineup of speakers during this free event.
Women at the Summit: Skadi Vail will be held Jan. 28-30 with a home base at Gondola One and the Express Lift café. For more information, go to Signature Events section of Vail.com.