10 Things to do in Vail in the Winter that isn’t Skiing

Most people who visit Vail in the winter come for one thing and that is to shred down the mountain, after all it is one of the top ski resorts in the USA.  I mean that’s why I lived here for 2 seasons!  

If you want more on your winter vacation don’t worry there is plenty of things to do in Vail in winter besides skiing.  Read on to find out about 10 unique Vail winter activities.

Ways to Enjoy Vail in the Winter with I'm Jess Traveling

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Things to do in Vail in Winter Quick List

  • Snowmobiling 
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster
  • Ice skating
  • Snow shoeing
  • Ski biking
  • Tubing
  • Dine at an on mountain restaurants
  • Catch sunset on top of the mountain

How to Get to Vail

Vail is located about 2 hours West on Denver International Airport (DEN) in the mountains.  The easiest and most convenient way to get to Vail is by renting a car and driving yourself.  It’s a straight shot.  

There is also a shuttle that you can book that departs from the Denver Airport and drops you off directly at the Vail transportation center.

Before you Visit Vail

snow moiling in the winter in Vail Colorado


If you want to see the mountains without a board strapped to your feet then snowmobiling is the activity for you!  The excursion will have you climb the magnificent vistas along the Continental Divide.  You’ll get a full view of the surrounding Rocky Mountains including some of Colorado’s tallest 14,000-foot summits.  
There are a several snowmobile companies in Vail area, from guided to self guided tours.  Here are a few companies to check out.
Cords country skiing in the winter in Colorado

Cross Country Skiing

If the calorie burn is your goal then cross country skiing is your game.  Burning over 1,000 calories an hour, you can push, pull, and glide yourself though the backcountry wilderness around Vail.  

The Vail Nordic School offers beginner and intermediate classes and work under special permits to explore the area so all you have to do is show up and get ready to torch some calories.

Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster

If you’re looking for a Vail winter activity that doesn’t require much effort but gives you the views and rush of a mountain sport, then make sure you take a ride on the forest flyer mountain coaster.  You fly through the forest on a raised alpine coaster, winding  down the mountain all while taking in the scenery.  This is located in Adventure Ridge.
ice skating in the winter with kids

Ice Skating

If you want things to do in Vail with kids then opt for an evening on skates.  There are two small outdoor ice rinks, one in Vail Village and the other in Lionshead village. You can rent ice skates at a nearby store.  

This is a fun leisure winter activity that the whole family can enjoy.  If you’re looking for a bigger skating experience, the larger, indoor Dobson Ice Rink is open all year round.  The Dobson Rink offers public skating, private lessons, Yeti hockey games, and sometimes even concerts.

Snow shoeing in Vail Colorado

Snow Shoeing

Snowshoeing is great for a few reasons.  One, it is a great workout, you’re outside, you get to take in the view.  Two, compared to most winter sports its pretty cheap.  You can sign up for a guided tour with an expert naturalist to learn about your surroundings or rent a pair of snowshoes and go your own way. 

ski biking in Vail in the winter

Ski Biking

A unique thing to do in vail in the winter is ski biking.  This takes place at night and you ride down the hill on a ski bike with a headlamp attached to your helmet.  A ski bike is a bike but instead of wheels there is one ski.  This activity is for the more advanced/intermediate skier or snowboarded that is comfortable with blues and blacks.  But if you’re not apresing and want an adventure when the sun goes down opt for the ski biking.
Snow tubing, a unique thing to do in the winter in Vail


Located in Adventure Ridgea stadium sized snowpark up the Eagle Bahn Gondola is the snow tubing hill.  Enjoyable for all ages, riders ride inflated inner tubes down a snow packed lane with music playing.  Then they have a “magic carpet ride” to whisk them back to the top to rinse and repeat.

Dine at an on Mountain Restaurant

If you’re gonna treat yo’self to a nice dinner, I’d recommend getting the whole experience.  You ride a sleigh up from the base of the mountain to a restaurant.  You wine and dine yourself then return down the mountain in a sleigh.  

There are several on mountain restaurants including
Zach’s Cabin, Allies Cabin, Beanos,  and Game Creek (when you make reservations with one of the restaurants they organize the sleigh).  The food is nothing short of extraordinary and an its experience you can only have in a mountain town.

Catch Sunset on Top of a Mountain

If you’re exhausted from the extreme aprèsing day, take a ride up the Eagle Bahn Gondola around sunset to catch some epic views.  There’s no better way to end your week in Vail, Colorado than to watch the sunset over the Rocky Mountains.
A spa day is a great Things to do in Vail in winter

Pamper Yourself at the Spa

This is one of my favorite Vail winter activities that isn’t snowboarding.  An afternoon at one of the many spas always sounds inviting.  There are many to choose from depending on where you are staying.  Get a massage, sit in the steam room, and enjoy the hot tub with a glass of wine, after all you deserve it!

Vail Hotels

Tivoli Lodge

Located in Vail Village is the Tivoli Lodge.  Beautiful rooms with big rustic furniture.  I stayed here for a few nights when I first moved to Vail.  It brings back a lot of memories and I enjoyed the hotel.  Walkable to all bars, restaurants and lifts.

Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa

Great location directly in Vail Village.  The Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa is walkable to the ski lifts and is located above the Terra Bistro which serves excellent cuisine.  

Staying here also gives you access to the Vail Athletic Club which was the gym I belonged to when I lived here.  I absolutely loved this gym and stayed here once and never wanted to leave.

The Arrabelle

Located in Lionshead Village (theres a free in town shuttle that connects them) is the Arrabelle.  This luxury resort is a 5 minute walk from the Eagel Bahn Gondola which is the one you take up for sunset.  This ski in ski out resort is worth the splurge.  Not to mention it has a rooftop hot tub!  Need I say more!??!

The Sebastian

The Sebastian is a 5 star resort is close to everything you need.  Equipped with an outdoor heated pool and 4 hot tubs will be the perfect way to relax after you’re eventful day on the mountain.

Four Seasons Resort Vail

Is it ever a bad stay if you’re at the Four Seasons.  This resort is located at the base of Vail Mountain and has all of the amenities.  Heated outdoor pool, hot tubs, restaurant and bars on sight.  You’ll never want to leave.

All in all if you’re looking for variety in your ski vacation there are several things to do in Vail in the winter that will keep you satisfied and spice things up.  Happy trails, see you on the hill!


XX Jess

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10 Things to do in Vail in the Winter that Isn\'t Skiing10 Things to do in Vail in the Winter that Isn\'t Skiing10 Things to do in Vail in the Winter that Isn\'t Skiing