Step Off the Beaten Path to Enjoy Vail Valley Like a Local

By Caitlin Row | Monday, January 16, 2017

It's been cloudy or snowing in Colorado's Vail Valley for a few months now – storm, clouds, storm, storm, storm, clouds – with few breaks for sunshine. This is good for Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek's terrain coverage, bad for locals' vitamin D levels. Enter in early sunsets, and it's a sure recipe for feeling more vampire and less human even when we're living in paradise.

This week, particularly Wednesday and Thursday, is offering a brief reprieve with sun in the forecast before another snowy stretch of weather predicted to last Friday through Wednesday of next week.

With that in mind I'm going to go a new direction with Vail This Week's blog. Let's focus on how to beat off the winter gray-blues like a local  'cause we know what to do.

Get a Mani/Pedi

Enjoying a nurturing manicure and pedicure at one of Vail Valley's numerous spas is sure to brighten your day. Not only is it a pampering and relaxing activity, but colorful nails also bring a little cheer to an otherwise drab color palette. Ask your nail technician if a paraffin dip is available for your hands. This deep-heat therapy really moisturizes dry, winter skin, and it feels good too.

I recently opted to go hot pink on my toenails at Jazzy Nails in Avon. I wasn't the only person looking for color (to ignite eternal summer within, duh). A woman across from me at the drying table said she got sparkly silver to spice things up, and a man later walked up with neon-green toes. I love it!

Enjoy the Natural Landscape

If you're taking a day off from resort-style skiing but still want to enjoy an alpine environment, head over to Meadow Mountain for some uphill fun. This gorgeous trail area near Minturn, Colorado, was previously a 1960s ski resort before becoming a more casual winter playground. The region allows a variety of activities like dog walking, sledding, skinning/backcountry skiing and snowmobiling.

Elevation gain at Meadow Mountain is limited (I'd call it more hilly than mountainous) so avalanche threat seems to be pretty minimal (even so, always head into the backcountry prepared and with a friend). The area is popular among locals and visitors no matter the time of day, so it definitely doesn't feel like backcountry adventure. Rather, this playful trail system is close to town, easily accessible and good for every skill level. It offers expansive scenery and views of Minturn.

Photo: Top and left, taken by Caitlin Row, at Meadow Mountain

Experience a Live Performance

Electrify a dull day with one of Vail's many scheduled live music performances.

Johnny Johnston and Colorado Blue will perform Thursday, Jan. 19, from 3-11 p.m. at Vail Village's Vail Brewing Company location. This performance will continue Friday from 4-8 p.m. The Hashtones will perform Friday, Jan. 20, from 7-10 p.m. at Bonfire Brewing in Eagle. Brett Dennen will perform Friday, Jan. 20, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. Edgar Meyer will also perform at Vilar on Wednesday, Jan. 25, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Photo: Brett Dennen

Support your Local Bookstore

The Bookworm of Edwards, Vail Valley's much beloved bookstore and cafe, will host Eagle County resident Doug Patton on Thursday, Jan. 19. He will present on his memoir, The White Guy in the Room, that talks about decades of political work for Democrats across the local, state and national levels. Tickets to the presentation cost $10 and include tasty appetizers.

If a book talk isn't your thing, a trip to the Bookworm is still worthwhile. This store doubles as a casual restaurant and is the perfect meeting spot for a casual brunch (order a crepe). I personally love the mix of books and gifts sprinkled throughout the shop. I always find something I just can't live without and never feel guilty because I'm supporting our local bookstore.

Sip on Latte Art

When life gets a little gray and tired, a beautifully crafted latte seems to get me going. I especially love the flowery pattern created in the milk by skilled baristas and usually take a pic for Instagram. Sticky Fingers Cafe & Bakery, Yeti's Grind, Loaded Joe's and The Bookworm of Edwards all come to mind as fun places to get a cup.

Photo: Caitlin Row, enjoying a latte at The Bookworm of Edwards

About the Author Caitlin Row
Caitlin is a Vail local. She loves to ski, play in the snow (preferably with her dog) and taste all the Vail Valley has to offer.