Vail Daily column: Vail’s celebrates another great July 4 |

Vail Daily column: Vail’s celebrates another great July 4

Michael Staughton
Vail Chamber

As always, the July 4 parade was fabulous with the various floats, bands, dancers, cycles, the Precision Lawn Chair group and, of course, the ever-present political satirist Packy Walker, depicting both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I did chuckle at the big hands and email zing! After the parade there was the tremendous inspiring musical event at the Ford Amphitheater and then at dusk the great fireworks from Golden Peak. Once again a great day in Vail.

That day caused me to stop and think — I have my two sisters (who live in South Carolina and Juneau, Alaska) and their two kids coming to Vail at the end of July. What can we do? What does Vail offer?


I immediately thought of the Vail Epic Discovery. If you are not aware, that is the multiple summer activities on Vail Mountain based out of Lionshead Village. I was invited to attend the morning opening presentation to see and try the new recreational events. The activities were numerous. I took the educational walk that has story kiosks that describe Rocky Mountain elk, quaking aspens, mule deer, wildflowers and moose.

After the mountaintop education experience, I looked at some of the thrill rides. The predominant one is the Forest Flyer, a 3,400-foot coaster ride. The Forest Flyer is a two-minute descent going 25 mph in a zooming ride through trees. There are also ziplines, bungee trampolines, rope adventure courses, tubing and a climbing tower for guests to enjoy.

The most exotic and mind boggling was the Game Creek Aerial Adventure Canopy Tour. That is a four-hour tour with six or seven ziplines sending the riders down the mountain at close to 55-60 mph. The longest zip line is at least a half mile, suspending you 250-300 feet above the ground.

As I looked into all these activities (thinking of my family), I learned that there is a single day ticket for all the events (excepting the Game Creek Canopy Tour). Also, you can get individual activities, like four wheel drive tour of the mountain. Or I learned that one could hike or pedal up and enjoy the trails and the educational kiosks at no cost.


My thoughts drifted away from the mountain activities to the many ways to find entertainment on the river. We could go rafting, tubing, fishing or kayaking. We could also go to Nottingham Lake in Avon or Dillon Reservoir and go paddleboating, canoeing, sailing or stand-up paddleboarding. Then I thought — how about driving up to Piney Lake? We could canoe, horseback ride, fish or paddleboat.

Then I thought more and more about getting out of the hustle and bustle of town and away from our cell phones. I thought about which remote, high-altitude lake we should visit. Lake Constantine (past Halfmoon Campground on Tigiwon Road), Lost Lake, Pitkin Lake, Upper Pitkin Lake, Beaver Lake, Whitney Lake, Grouse Lake, Gore Lake, Missouri Lakes Loop and Sylvan Lake are all excellent options. It’s hard to say which one I should pick. I think I will choose Piney Lake (no hiking) or Gore Lake (in East Vail).


What a great place to live and have these terrific choices of things to do when friends or family come to visit. We are ambassadors to this special place that we live, and showing not only the guests we run into every day in our place of business but also our own family and friends a great time while they are visiting helps spread the word and create Vail ambassadors all over the country.

I wish my family had been here for the Fourth of July and all the wonderful events and fireworks! That is OK; we will have a great time when they come. Whatever we decide to do, I will be working to create more Vail ambassadors to spread the word in South Carolina and Alaska!

Stay involved and stay informed. If you are not already receiving the Vail Chamber & Business Association weekly newsletter, then visit and click “Contact Us” at the top to send us a message requesting it. If you are interested in finding out about the Vail Chamber and what we have to offer to businesses in and do business in town then call 970-476-0075 or email Based in Vail Village our office is located on the top level of the Vail Transportation Center, so stop by and say “hello.”

Michael Staughton is the owner of Slope Enterprises, which operates the restaurants Los Amigos and Russell’s, both located in Vail Village. He is a board member for the Vail Chamber & Business Association.

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