10 Reasons to Visit Vail in the Summer
Biking, hiking, rafting, a pleasant climate and opportunities to learn from professional athletes are just a few of the best reasons to visit Vail when the snow melts.
The old cliché is people come to Vail for the winter months to ski and snowboard and wind up staying for the summer months, when there are almost too many things to do. Here are 10 reasons to visit the Vail Valley in the summertime.
The Teva Mountain Games
The Teva Mountain Games set for June 2 to 5 officially gets summer rolling. After a record season of snowfall, there will still be lots of snow on the high peaks, but down in the valley all that snow will be melting and roaring down local rivers and streams such as Gore Creek and the Eagle River. Besides hosting top professional whitewater kayakers, the Teva Games have morphed into the premier adventure sports showcase in the nation. Watch and participate in everything from rock climbing to downhill mountain biking to endurance racing to mud running to skills competitions for your dog.
Music and Dance Festivals
Music and dance festivals proliferate. Many people focus on the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival from June 26 to August 3, featuring resident orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic (performing at the spectacular outdoor Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater). But lesser-known fests such as the Vail International Dance Festival July 31 to August 13 and the Vail Jazz Festival September 1 to 5 are less crowded and offer some real surprises.
Stars That Take to the Stage
The Vilar Performing Arts Center in nearby Beaver Creek is an acoustically intense but intimate venue built beneath a year-round ice-skating rink. Inclement mountain weather is never a concern. Very up close and personal, see big-name acts like Sheryl Crow, Chris Isaak, Keb’ Mo’ and Peter Frampton this summer.
Something for Everyone
The Vail Farmer’s Market and Art Show running June 19 through September 18 offers something for everyone in the family, from world-class galleries to Colorado crafts to homegrown produce to rides for the kids. For a slightly funkier version, check out the Minturn Market June 18 to September 3.
Learn From World-Class Athletes
One of the best things about visiting or even living in Vail is that a lot of world-class athletes do the same. For instance, Mike Kloser, a member of the mountain biking hall of fame and one of the most acclaimed endurance athletes in the nation, is director of activities for Beaver Creek. That includes the Beaver Creek Hiking Center, where you can go on a guided climb of a local 14er (one of Colorado’s 54 peaks in excess of 14,000 feet) with veteran climber and hiker Nate Goldberg. Also check out the Vail Mountain Bike Camps with former professional mountain biker Mia Stockdale or run whitewater with adventure athlete Billy Mattison at Timberline Tours.
Transport yourself to a Euro-style alpine village in Vail’s Tyrolean-tinged pedestrian core, where perfect mid-70s temperatures, wildflowers, the buzz of hummingbirds and gentle mountain breezes provide the backdrop for a cocktail on one of many inviting decks. Do a stein of beer at Pepi’s, the best margarita in Vail at Sweet Basil, or the Taste of Vail people’s choice award-winning “Intense Blueberry” cocktail at La Tour. Or, relax at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail’s outdoor pool, where the Pool Bar offers a selection of snacks and libations.
Just driving a golf ball at 8,000 feet in elevation can be worth the greens fees at one of the Vail Valley’s many incredible courses (designed by pros such as Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio). If you’re troubled by where the ball lands, just soak in the sublime scenery.
From gentle float trips on the Upper Colorado River (known locally as the “Upper C”) to slightly more challenging Class III whitewater on the Shoshone section of the Colorado in spectacular Glenwood Canyon to the pulse-pounding Numbers and Brown’s Canyon stretches of the nearby Arkansas River, Vail is situated in the epicenter of some of the best rafting in the West.
Hiking Through the Wilderness
Vail is surrounded by two designated wilderness areas, where there is no motorised vehicles access, meaning getting away from it all is as easy as putting on a good pair of hiking boots, grabbing food, water and the right clothing in case the weather turns bad and heading up one of the Vail Valley’s many amazing hiking trails in the White River National Forest.
Vail is a two-time host of the World Mountain Biking Championships, but it also used to host a stage or two of the Coors Classic road cycling stage race in the 1980s, drawing huge crowds when competitive road cycling was at its zenith. Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is bringing road racing back to the Vail Valley with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge August 22 to 28. Stage 3, an individual time trial, will be held in Vail on August 25, and Stage 4 on August 26 gets started in Avon at the base of Beaver Creek and heads all the way to Steamboat Springs. Armstrong has once again retired, so he’s unlikely to compete, but he may be on hand for the races and some of the top riders in the world have already committed.