Looking for a little love-love?
Like the old saying goes, people come here for the winters, but they stay for the summers.
With captivating golf courses, daring bike trails, engulfing kayak whitewater and shimmering mountain scenery, it’s no wonder that Eagle County’s permanent residents feel as though they’re on permanent vacation after the snow dries up and powder days become an afterthought.
The list of things to do here in the summer is long and copious ” an impossibly pleasant roster that reads like a fantasy-camp brochure for outdoor junkies.
And, if this were truly summer camp, you’d definitely want to sign up for tennis. Yes, there’s golf. And, more golf. And, fishing. And, hiking and biking.
After a you play a set of tennis, though, on one of the three clay courts at the Vail Racquet Club, nestled under the shadow of the Gore Range with a rushing waterfall sounding in the background, or finish up a set of doubles just in time to catch the sunset and sip a margarita at the Cordillera Valley Club, you’ll soon forget your about your tee time the next morning.
There’s plenty of tennis to be found in the valley, with opportunities for beginners and experts alike. All you’ve got to do is tighten up your racquet and read on.
Cordillera has two tennis facilities in the Summit Athletic Club on the south side of I-70 and the Cordillera Valley Club located across the valley on the northern side of the highway.
Cordillera offers both children and adult lessons as well as men’s and women’s clinics, margarita mixers and open men’s and women play.
The only downside is that the club does not offer a tennis membership. So, either you have to pay the super-hefty membership fees for all that is Cordillera, or get in good with someone who’s already in.
As director of tennis Scott Leifer puts it, the Homestead Court Club is, “The epicenter of tennis in the valley.”
Located on Homestead Drive up the hill from the Riverwalk in Edwards, the club boasts two indoor hard courts, four outdoor hard courts and two outdoor clay courts. Also, with five pros in the summer, three tournaments, and a bounty of tennis programs for all levels and ages, it’s hard to find a place that prides itself more on its tennis offerings than the neighborhood club.
“It was really (former tennis director) Brian Hauff’s idea to make Homestead the Mecca of tennis in the valley,” Leifer said. “He wanted to bring tennis down here and he did it.”
Hauff passed away this fall, but his legacy still lives on as it is hard to get a court in the summer at Homestead. Leifer estimates there will be at least 100 adults enrolled in tennis programs or leagues this summer, along with as many as 200 kids participating in summer-long programs.
The club offers kids tennis clinics for 4-10 year olds three days a week, along with an advanced players camp on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for five hours at a time.
The summer adult leagues break down into divisions for beginners, intermediates and advanced players and there is also a separate program for adults titled “Cardio Tennis” that runs two days a week.
“We’re going to start on May 22 with a free kids clinic and a barbecue,” said Leifer. “All the summer programs begin on the week of June 7. We’re also doing an adult clinic in June. With these clinics, we’re trying to get more people playing.”
There’s also more. Homestead plays host to three tournaments each summer, two of which are United States Tennis Association-sanctioned events.
You have to be a member of the club to enroll in any of the Homestead programs, or a guest of a member if you want to use any of the Homestead courts, but membership costs and guests prices are very reasonable in comparison to other valley athletic clubs.
Playing tennis is great, but playing tennis amid the swaying of the mountain trees and the rush of a cascading waterfall is even better.
The Vail Racquet Club, located on Racquet Club Drive in Vail, is a place where such a thing is possible, with nine outdoor courts ” three of which are clay ” situated right in the heart of High Country paradise.
The cost for both members and non-members is pretty cheap too, with private half-hour lessons starting at $29 for members and $35 for nonmembers.
The club also offers an assortment of clinics, camps and match play opportunities to both members and guests of all ages.
With three indoor courts, 11 outdoor courts and enough amenities to make you forget your lousy forearm shot, the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa is everything a resort should be in Ski Country USA’s best resort town.
Located on the frontage road between Lionshead and West Vail, the Cascade is tennis and a whole lot more and its rating as one of the top-50 tennis resorts in North America by Tennis Magazine proves it.
The club has tennis membership options for singles in the valley as well as families and offers programs for kids, clinics and socials.
If you tweak your back hitting a shot down the line, you can always get it taken care of with a massage and a drink afterwards.
The Vail tennis center may be the most economical of the valley’s tennis options. Located at Ford Park, the facility boasts the most clay courts in the valley with eight, as well as two hard courts.
A part of the Vail Recreation District, the center has an all-comers-welcome approach and a full service pro shop to service its patrons. The center opens May 23 and will close down September 7.
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