When Mom gave me the go-ahead to plan our Thanksgiving Break vacation we knew we wanted to go skiing, after looking at flights, conveniency, and things to do for all of us, I booked our flights to Denver and started planning!
I ended up booking our flights through the Hopper app, but usually Priceline. or directly through Delta. We would fly from Atlanta to Denver. I did rent us a car to pick up at the airport, as Vail is almost two hours west of the city. (Breckinridge is about an hour and half from Denver.) There are shuttles that you can schedule that go from the airport to Breck or Vail. Depending on how long you are staying, this could be a better option. In Vail there are shuttles and Uber that can take you around the village. Vail amenities were fairly close. We rented our car from Sixt, but if you use Priceline or Hopper check your prices because you can often bundle these. I was glad we did rent a car due to travelling to Breckinridge for our “ski” days. (Long-story short, our lessons were moved to Breck from our initial Vail spots. See below.)
As Hilton Honors members, we were able to book our rooms at the Highline Vail. The rooms during Thanksgiving break ran under $200/night. We sat an exit down from Vail village, which was literally less than a mile from the hotel. As a budget-friendly option this was a good choice. The rooms were clean, we had a room that overlooked the heated pool. There was a great bar/restaurant in the lobby, and you could rent skis in the hotel.
THings to know, about 15/20 minutes away there is also a resort/gaited community, Bear Creek. We didn’t spend any time here, other than dinner one night. I found the distance to travel to Bear Creek, a little out of the way considering Vail Village was in our backyard. Unless you have a particular large group and book a VRBO/AirBnb you can rent condos in Vail Village directly from Hotels.com
We flew in Saturday morning, with a departure Wednesday morning. We were able to shop and tour Vail village over the first two days. Vail village had shops, cafes, and restaurants. While we mostly window-shopped, we did go into a cafe for a Spiked Mocha. Sunday morning, we went back out to Vail Village for more shopping and brunch. Mom fell in love with a fur wrap, and it was so picturesque to walk through the Village. There were many Instagrammable moments. There were even two ice skating rinks, kids and adults would enjoy!
Had the snow been a bit heavier in Vail, I was hoping to book snowmobile rentals. Shop around the rentals, there are guided tours and self-guided, prices varied among the rental shops!
Apres Ski! This is a term referring to happy hour after skiing. You can expect skiers to come down the mountain between 3-4PM for Happy Hour! There are several great spots in Vail Village.
Because we booked our trip so early in the season, only a few slopes had snow to ski which led part of our trip to Breckinridge. The vibe was much more rural, but I wish we’d had longer to explore. My mother did not ski, but she was able to explore Breck during our lessons. And I will say, the free Gondola ride was so fun! Who knew?! ( I believe it is also free in Vail as well, but someone check that for me!)
So, I booked all of our reservations the week prior on Open Table. This made things so much easier to have times in place to be ready for dinner and walk in without a wait. I’d really advise doing this, particularly in the busiest seasons. Restaurants around Vail and Beaver Creek will come booked two to three days before. Saturday night we ate at Beaver Creek Chophouse. This was a few miles down the road, actually quite a drive. Beaver Creek is a seperate gaited resort of its own. This wasn’t our favorite choice, and maybe a little formal. (I think by the time we found the restaurant in the dark, we were ready to turn around). By far our two favorite places were Vintage (for Brunch) and Alpenrose . Both become booked 3/4 days in advance.
So no one in my immediate family had been skiing, at least in the last two decades. So, the ski research was done by moi on the internet and my apparent attraction to finance bro’s who spent weeks at a time skiing. #1 tip, shell out the money for lessons. Your friends don’t want to teach you, it’s worth the time, and you get to bypass the lines on the lift. Now having skied a few days, I would still book a few more lessons for that convenience.
Of course, my favorite part to share. So, I rented our ski clothes from KitLender which if you’re renting for a family, men, kids, this is the way to go. In a pack I rented out ski clothes, gloves, and winter boots. Now, you can certainly find deals for ski clothes, and RentTheRunway has new, cool styles to choose from, but I loved that I could rent the entire set (clothes, gloves, boots) and have them delivered to the hotel rather than packing these things for the flight. Additionally, these aren’t things I’m wearing throughout the year in Alabama so it felt a little wasteful to purchase for just one trip. But if you want to splurge and dress the part on your own I have pulled some picks that I found. (I also pulled some Revolve pieces for an Instagram Moment.) For the outdoor days, you’ll want cozy base layers (mine are from Sweaty Betty), wool socks, and then your winter-ski apparel.