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Backcountry activities in Vail

Daily Staff Report

EAGLE COUNTY ” While Vail and the surrounding area arguably has the best skiing in the country, many locals, as well as tourists, aren’t psyched about lugging boots and boards around.

So what does Vail have to offer the non-skier? A whole heck of a lot. You’ve got snowmobiling, dog sledding, snow shoeing, ice skating, sleigh rides and all the shopping and fine dining a person could stand. Many of the resorts in the area even offer these activities right on the ski mountain.

For all of your triple axel and death spiral needs, the Vail Valley offers a few different ice skating venues as well. For indoor skating, check out the Dobson Ice Arena in Vail. For outdoor skating, there is the Beaver Creek Ice Rink in the center of the Beaver Creek Village, and Nottingham Lake in Avon. Downvalley folks can head to the indoor Eagle Ice Rink.

Shuffling in the backcountry

While the call of the mountain may not be strong enough to lure you out on skis or a board, you can still venture up the hill. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and hike up the mountain to meet your friends or family for lunch, or just enjoy the quiet atmosphere of a trail through the trees. Trail Wise Guides offers a range of snow shoeing trails ranging in length and difficulty. “We specialize in private tours in the backcountry, which is our niche,” said Tom Wiesen, a guide for Trail Wise. You can go one-on-one or join a group of 20. “You get to connect with nature, and there are no crowds,” Wiesen said. The tours also include a wildlife watching aspect where you can see elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and even bald eagles. “We have a high- power telescope so you can see the animals super close up and the sparkle in their eye.” You can’t get that waiting in a lift line.

For more information, or to sign up for a tour, call (970) 827-5363. Adventure Ridge, Beaver Creek Nordic Center, and the Vail Nordic Center also offer snowshoeing tours.

Megan Mowbray can be reached at vtintern@vailtrail.com

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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