New year, new moves. If being more active is on your New Year’s Resolutions list, get outside and snowshoe. Snowshoeing is a low-impact activity that is good for multi-generations. Snowshoes or even devices you attach to your snow boots or hiking boots are a great way to get around. Many of your favorite hiking trails in the summer make great snowshoeing trails in the winter.
Walking Mountains offers free, guided tours out of its Avon Campus six days a week. Mondays through Saturdays from 2 to 3 p.m. join one of the Walking Mountains naturalists and take a quick tour through aspens. Even though you are just a mile off Interstate 70, you feel like you are away from it all. Dress to be outside for an hour and snowshoes will be used if the snow levels allow, otherwise hiking boots or snow boots will do.
You can also take guided tours on top of Vail Mountain. The Nature Discovery Center is offering guided snowshoe tours Wednesdays through Saturdays. Follow along as your guide takes you in and out of the evergreen trees and aspens and shows you far-off vistas like Mount of the Holy Cross and teaches you about animal adaptations. Maybe you’ll see a little critter like an ermine or fox or at least its tracks.
These 90-minute tours depart from the Nature Discovery Center at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola (No. 19) and are scheduled from 10:30 a.m. until noon and 1:30 to 3 p.m. Come dressed for the outdoors with warm base layers, snow pants and jacket, hat and gloves. Snowshoes will be provided at the Nature Discovery Center. Please note that while the tour is complimentary, you must have a valid ski pass to get up to the top of the gondola or purchase a Vail Scenic Ride lift ticket to get to where the tour starts. After the tour, you will ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola (No. 19) back down to the base of Lionshead.
Not all snowshoeing has to happen during the day. Snowshoeing at night is an awesome way to experience the outdoors and see things from a different perspective. Walking Mountains is offering its Lunar Snowshoe Experience this season, giving you a chance to get out either under a full moon or a new moon. The first full moon excursion is this Friday.
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The program starts at the Walking Mountains Science Center’s campus in Avon, where hot drinks will be available (bring your own mug or water bottle) to stay warm as the group arrives. Once on the trail, you will follow your guide one mile up the Buck Creek trail to an open meadow where a backcountry campfire will be burning and waiting for you. After catching your breath from the climb and warming up around the fire, your guide will lead a half-hour campfire program before descending back down the trail to Walking Mountains Science Center.
For more information, to register and view event dates go to WalkingMountains.org to reserve your spot on a tour.
Ice skating is another way to get moving while enjoying the outdoors. There are a few ice skating rinks right at the resorts like the Solaris Ice Rink in Vail Village and the Alderhof Ice Rink at Arrabelle at Vail Square in Lionshead that are open daily with skate rentals available. Beaver Creek has a rink right in the village, too, so if the kids aren’t tired from skiing or snowboarding, wear them out on the rink. At Beaver Creek there is a $5 admission fee with your own skates, $10 admission and rentals for ages 12 and younger and a $15 admission and rentals for ages 13 and older.
Dobson Ice Arena near Lionshead also hosts public skate sessions. The cost is $5 for ages 4 and younger, $7 for ages 5 through 12 and $8 for ages 13 and older. Skate rentals are $5 per pair. Check out the VailRec.com website to view the latest public skate schedule.
The colder temperatures have allowed Avon to provide ice skating on Nottingham Lake. Skate rentals are available at the Metcalf Cabin at Harry A. Nottingham Park. If you have your own skates, you can hop on the ice for free, but you need to go into the cabin and sign a waiver. Concessions will be available, too. Enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate and warm up by the fire pits before or after you skate.
The ice rink will be open daily from now until February, weather and conditions permitting. The hours are 3-8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 12-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, go to Avon.org.
Free outdoor skating is also available in Edwards. Stop by Mountain Recreation’s fieldhouse in Edwards and skate around. Some gear has been donated, even some hockey gear from the Colorado Avalanche Alumni Association. For more details, go to MountainRec.org.
If you make your way to Eagle, check out the free ice skating at Eagle Town Park which is open from 9 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. daily. Skates are available to “borrow” courtesy of donations. Fire pits and hockey sticks are available, too. For more information, visit EagleOutside.com.
Both the skating rinks in Edwards and in Eagle exist because of some caring, dedicated and die-hard skating fans, many of them parents and lovers of the sport, so if you are around and want to help maintain these rinks, you can always lend a hand to keep the ice in good condition.
Beaver Creek happenings
The fun doesn’t end once the slopes close at Beaver Creek. There are lots of entertainment options on the plaza in the afternoons. This Friday, listen to the songs, yodels and jokes from Helmut Fricker, who has been a fixture in the Vail Valley for over 50 years. He plays from 1 to 3 p.m. and again on Sunday at the same time. Just listen for the accordion or alpenhorn and you’ll find Helmut and his lovely wife, Charlotte, accompanying him.
This Saturday, look for Ken Carpenter doing complimentary caricatures from 4 to 6 p.m. Carpenter has been doing caricatures in Beaver Creek Village for decades and is now drawing the kids and grandkids of some of the people he drew years ago. It’s fun to see how you look through the eyes of an experienced caricaturist like Carpenter. Many families like to keep their caricatures year after year and see how they’ve changed.
Additionally, on Saturday, you won’t want to miss out on Fossil Posse. Kids (and parents), if you like dinosaurs or are just curious as to what types of creatures roamed Eagle County — yes, Eagle County, millions of years ago, head to the Fountain Stage near the ice rink between 4 and 5:30 p.m. and listen to Billy Doran explain what roamed where and when. Doran’s engaging stories and historical and scientific references are sure to captivate your entire group.
Saturday also means its carnival time in Beaver Creek Village. During Fun Fest, try your hand at classic carnival games and earn some fun prizes. It’s a great way to wind down the day and it can also be used as an incentive to get your kids to ski or ride all day with the promise of going to Fun Fest afterwards.
This weekend, live music returns to the slopes as the Mountain Music Series presents music at Talons Restaurant at the base of the Larkspur Express, (No. 11), Grouse Mountain Express (No. 10) and Birds of Prey Express (No. 9). Little Foot brings a high energy DJ set from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. so plan to ski the Birds of Prey area, take a few mogul runs and earn a beer while listening to tunes. For more information go to BeaverCreek.com.
Vail Yeti Hockey
The Vail Yeti Hockey are ready to start 2023 out with a hockey game against the Boulder Bison. The Vail Yeti, the valley’s senior-A hockey team, features players who excelled at the sport in college and on semi-pro teams and are continuing the passion in Vail. The Dobson Ice Arena plays host to the home games and locals and guests “fill the barn” each time the team plays.
Games are typically scheduled on Friday and Saturday nights and the Yeti have a stacked schedule in January and they play through March.
- Jan. 6-7: Boulder Bison
- Jan. 13-14: Calumet Wolverines
- Jan. 20-21: New York Fire Department
- Jan. 28: Breckenridge Vipers (Vail Yeti play in Breckenridge on Jan. 27)
Get your tickets in advance online and save a few bucks. Adult tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Children 12 and younger are free. You can also purchase a season pass for $150 if you plan on becoming a super fan. The Dobson Ice Arena gets rockin’ at the home games with a good, consistent group of locals following the team and team spirit can be shown by buying some Vail Yeti gear. For more information and to get tickets, go to VailYetiHockey.com.
Dine with the Dogs
Sundays have gone to the dogs, at least up on Vail Mountain. On Sunday mornings enjoy a special time with the canines that work for Vail Mountain. The public is invited to Henry’s Hut and Dogtown Deck, which is at the top of Mountain Top Express (No. 4), High Noon Express (No. 5) and Northwoods Express (No. 11) and Patrol Headquarters. Between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. the Vail Ski Patrol and the avalanche dogs will train and perform rescue drills and stick around to answer any questions you may have. It’s a great way to learn a bit more about what the dogs’ roles are and it’s a fun photo opportunity.
Bring a bite to eat on the deck or inside the yurt or grab something from Buffalo’s restaurant or Rocky’s Roadhouse Grill. Henry’s Hut is named after Vail Ski Patrol’s first avalanche dog. Rocky’s Roadhouse Grill is named after another veteran avalanche dog. The four-legged members of patrol are the unofficial ambassadors of Vail Ski Patrol and helped launch the avalanche dog programs at other resorts. Get to know the newer members of the Vail Ski Patrol weekly at Dine with the Dogs. For more information, go to Vail.com.