The majority of visitors heading to the great state of Colorado come in winter for ski season. Two of my sisters are heading there soon, which made me think about our family trip to Vail last September. It should be noted that Gary and I have gone on these family ski trips before, we just do not like the bitter cold and the layers upon layers of clothes it takes to make it warm enough to survive.
When I was younger, I used to love skiing. But now I am over cold weather. The Rocky Mountains, however, are stunning, as is the greater Vail area. So when my non-Charleston based sister announced that she would be celebrating her 60th birthday in Vail and wanted the siblings to join her, we decided that late September may be the best time of year for us to go.
But why am I posting about Vail, Colorado, in the middle of the ski season about the fall visit? Because most folks plan trips far in advance. And if you are a hiker, biker, and lover of nature, this is a trip you want to put on your calendar.
Why Vail in September?
- I don’t care how many pictures you have seen of Aspen trees in the fall, nothing compared to seeing them in person. In 2019 peak viewing time was last week of September into the first week of October.
- The temperature was perfect with highs between 55°F to 66°F and lows from 40°F to 31°F. It was in the low 70s during our visit.
- The gondola gets you up the mountain including your mountain bike (purchase of a day pass required)
- Vail Mountain is covered with hiking and biking trails.
- Vail Mountain Adventure Pass includes 10 different activities for kids and adults including Scenic Gondola Ride, Gore Range Adventure Course, Holy Cross Adventure Course, Forest Flyer™ Mountain Coaster, Gore Creek Mini Golf, Paramount Peak Climbing Wall, Bungee Trampoline, Little Eagle Kids Zipline, Pine Cone, Kids Adventure Course, and Marmot Mini Kids Tubing.
- Game Creek Zipline Tour (separate from Adventure Pass)
- Vail Village is filled with excellent shopping and a variety of dining opportunities.
- There is a free shuttle bus system that takes you from one end of the town of Vail to the other. (this is a reason to go any time of year.)
Oxygen in a Can
Vail sits at 8,150 feet above sea level. That is 8,134 feet higher than where I live and breathe. This fact means breathing will be a challenge for this sea-level resident.
Enter Boost Oxygen, the 95% Pure Aviators Breathing Oxygen filled under pressure into convenient and affordable canisters. Yes, I went there and bought a can at the first place I saw it (which was everywhere). It made my experience so much more enjoyable. Sure, I drank a lot more water to stay hydrated (dehydration is a significant factor in altitude sickness), but this “boost” allowed me to stay on top of my game.
We were in Vail for a long weekend (Thurs. to Mon.), and one canister was all I needed. There was still oxygen in the can when I left. I knew it could not come with me on the plane, so drained it and recycled the canister.
More Reasons to Go to Vail in the Fall – Through Pictures
Did I Mention Adventure on the Mountain?
We all bought a day pass to get us to the Adventure Zone. My three sisters and Gary added the Game Creek Zipline Tour to their package. I am so acrophobic that I get sick just thinking about it, so I stay with my feet on the ground along with my brother-in-law. This tour is a three to four-hour tour on a course with seven lines covering over two miles at mind-boggling heights.
From Gary: I have always wanted to try ziplining. This experience was all that I hoped and imagined. I often have dreams that I can fly. This is as close as I have gotten so far. If you have never tried this, it is magical. Just do it!
The Mountain Coaster
This coaster was a bit freaky because the cars are so small and wide open. I still had to give it a try. And then I tried it again and again. What an adrenaline rush. I may have screamed like a 6-year old girl, but I had a blast. Of course, Gary was “chill” all the way.
Our Daily Hike Through My Pictures
The View of Gore Creek that Runs through Vail Village…
…was right out the back door to the house that we rented through VRBO. Because this is the off-season, you can rent a house for fewer than the ski season seven-night minimum, and it was much cheaper.
The deck of the house was off the back door. The views were astonishing. And the visitors we had every day were so welcoming. The mother moose, and her calf came to visit every day. By the third day, they came right up to our porch. We froze and just watched until they wandered away.
Food and Wine
That is all for now.
rick & gary