Beautiful Vail Valley welcomed springtime and off season by turning seriously green over the weekend. The area's numerous aspen trees are sprouting new leaves, essentially giving our mountainsides a fresh coat of paint as winter passes away.
That said, snow and rain remain in the weather forecast throughout the week. It's unlikely much of it will stick, however, as temperatures will hover in the 40s.
With Vail Mountain closed, locals and visitors alike should turn their attentions to hiking, biking and dining. It is all still available this time of year (even though some businesses, especially in the village, will close until around Memorial Day weekend). Many locals head out of town this week for much-needed beach relaxation. And with fewer vacationers expected over the next four weeks, those who stay or decide to visit can enjoy a quieter time full of shopping, hotel and restaurant deals.
With that in mind, here are my top picks for Vail Valley This Week.
Photo: By Caitlin Row, views of Avon and Beaver Creek
Get After Some Deep Discounts
Walking around Vail Village this past Sunday, Vail Mountain's closing day, I popped into a few stores and saw sales on winter gear starting at 40 percent off (some at 50 percent). I suggest checking out any and all ski shops that are open, Patagonia ... pretty much anywhere. (Bridge Street Ski Haus is closed until Memorial Day weekend, but it has winter clothing and gear deals, too.)
Dining deals also are starting to pop up. I recently gorged on half-priced sushi rolls at Nozawa in Avon (um, yum!), which is additionally offering half-priced entrees (green curry? yes, please!). All entrees at Terra Bistro in Vail Village are half off as well.
Vail Mountain Lodge is offering 35 percent off all spa treatments (facials, massages and more).
Photo: Terra Bistro Facebook
The trails around Vail Valley this time of year are uncrowded and pleasant.
I explored the West Avon Preserve over the weekend and singletrack was open to bikers, hikers and dogs (just remember to pack out the poop). What I liked best about it was the view of Avon and Beaver Creek Resort.
Berry Creek and June Creek are good spring spots for hiking and mountain-biking, as is the Boneyard in Eagle. EagleVail Trail (in, you guessed it, EagleVail) is a fun jaunt as well.
Hernage Gulch Trail is a hike-only spot in Eagle I hear is worth checking out. Leave the bike at home if you plan to explore it.
If you are heading out by mountain bike, however, it's really important to only ride singletrack if the trails are dry. Biking on wet trails will cause erosion and damage. It's just not worth it and it ruins it for everyone.
Click here for more Vail Valley off-season things to do.
Photo: By Caitlin Row, taken at West Avon Preserve
Plan for the Summer
GoPro Mountain Games kicks off June 8-11 with live music and all sorts of mountain-town athletics. There are even dog-centric events that you know I'll be checking out.
Vail Jazz @ Riverwalk kicks off June 9 and will offer free shows on alternating Fridays through Aug. 18.
Vail Craft Beer Classic is June 15-18.
Cover Rock Festival is June 23-24.