We visited Vail for the first time, and we had an amazing time! This is now our 3rd ski trip, and I feel like we learn something new each time and have a more efficient way of traveling as a large family to a ski resort. So far, we have visited Keystone, Beaver Creek, and now Vail. All have been under the umbrella of Vail resorts. I would say that our favorite is Beaver Creek. I loved that it felt smaller and easier to navigate with kids. Vail, for me, felt a lot bigger, so I want to dive into my thoughts to help you plan.
Vail felt a bit more spread out. We stayed at The Lodge, which was beautiful and great for families. Something crucial to know. The kid’s ski school was only at Lionshead (out about a 10-minute drive) when we traveled. When there is more snow, they will offer ski school at Vail Village, but not when we visited. Well, our home was right next to Vail Village, so every day, we had to commute over to Lionshead. If it weren’t with kids, we probably would take the bus each time, but we were running late most days, so we would have to call the hotel shuttle. If you plan on staying in Vail village, get an idea of which mountain you will be doing most of your skiing on. You definitely will want to plan your time accordingly.
We stayed in the Chalet’s, which are part of The Lodge. I want to be completely up front; this would not be in our price range if they weren’t hosting us. However, there are plenty of excellent rooms actually in The Lodge. Our Chalet was a five-bedroom home. This would make sense for someone that is staying with multiple families. It does have a garage where we could have rented a car. Honestly, I am considering it for the next time because it is challenging to get grocery deliveries.
We have always flown into Denver, but this time we flew into Eagle County airport, which was the best thing we could have done. It was such a breeze and quiet. The prices are a bit more, but it was worth it for us, especially when you factor in the cost of transportation since Denver is a 2-hour drive. Eagle county took us just under 30 minutes to get to, and glad we went that routes
Because we don’t ski a ton, we also take ski lessons every time we go. We do adult and kid lessons. On the first day, we typically start with a family lesson. Then break out and do kid/adult lessons separately on the latter days. I like doing the family lesson because it gives us time to ski as a family. We don’t see them really ski in ski school, so I get the chance to practice and ski with the kids. It was a bit more difficult this time doing the family lesson since Cyrus is such a tiny tot, so we didn’t get to ski as much. Still a great experience as a family.
I love the kids doing ski school in their age groups. It gives them the time to learn how to ski, plus it’s fun because they are skiing with other kids. It is from 9 am until 3 pm. The lesson does include a meal. It was Cyrus’s first time, and he wasn’t happy going in, but all smiles at pick up. I recommend if you can do at least two days of ski lessons.
First, I would recommend reserving your ski gear online before you come, so they already have your reservation when you arrive. Try to get fitted and pick up your ski gear before your first ski day. The process took us about an hour, so you don’t want that to eat into your ski time. We rented helmets, poles, boots, and skis, and we used Vail sports. I think there are places in the village where you can get your ski clothes for rent.
I would recommend that you do a grocery run to get your essentials, so you don’t have to run out for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our home had a full kitchen, so we would make some meals to cut restaurant costs. Also, we ordered room service to avoid going out in the cold HAHA.
We ate at Mountain Standard, the Remedy restaurant within Four seasons. The restaurant within the Four Seasons wasn’t the best and not great for large parties. We couldn’t all sit together unless we were at a high-top table. Margie Haas. And an Italian restaurant but I cannot remember the name of it. I can’t say we found on this trip a great family spot, honestly.
It takes us a whole hour to get everyone in the ski gear. We bought almost all of our items from Amazon. I recommend getting a base layer for everyone, ski socks, jacket, ski pants, hat, google, mittens, and neck/mouth cover, and boots to wear when you aren’t in ski/snowboard boots.
Overall, we had a great time. It is nice going to all of these different places and getting an idea of what works and what features you like most about each.
If I were to give you any piece of advice. I would say give yourself a day to rest, don’t ski the first day you arrive to adjust to the altitude. Also, build extra time in your day as you will run a bit slow.
You can download and print it off to check off the list while packing by clicking the link below!