Ski Resorts aren’t just for skiing or snowboarding anymore

Game Creek high-end restaurant on Vail Mountain

DAY 3 — Superman or couch potato style?  

 

There is a lot more to do at a ski resort these days than ski. I sent my crew — my daughter Mel and six of her college friends to check out Adventure Ridge — a veritable winter play ground at 10,350 feet atop the Eagle Bahn Gondola at Vail. There’s tubing ($28 per person) — upgraded this year with additional lanes and a new enclosed elevated conveyer lift. You can slide down the hill sitting on your big tube (couch potato style) or lay across it (Superman style).   Couch Potato is scarier they declare.  

  

Even after a day spent conquering Vail’s toughest expert terrain, no one was too tired for tubing.  “It is not physically demanding.  And I’d say the smallest of little kids could carry their own tube!” said David Scott.  “It was definitely a rush!”  

   

Besides tubing, there’s snowmobiling for kids ($25), a trampoline ($10)  a nature discovery center — the highest altitude nature center (on Tuesday and Thursday nights, there is a campfire with naturalists for complimentary nature talks under the stars; You can also sign on for a free 3 p.m. guided snowshoe  tour.) 

   

While we were waiting to take the Gondola up for dinner at Game Creek Restaurant (in the heart of Game Creek Bowl) we watched the ski bikers come down ($65 a person).  Unique to Vail, those 10 and up who are at least intermediate skiers and riders can “bike” down the mountain except instead of wheels, the bikes have skis (you also have small skis attached to your boots and lights on your helmets). 

    

 “You get to the top and it is surprisingly active — snowmobiles, tubing, restaurants,” said David Scott who, though he has a season pass, had never been up to Adventure Ridge.  

   

“There were eight tubing lanes, including two that took your picture as you came down, like at a theme park roller coaster.  We raced and I flipped over but it didn’t matter,” said my daughter Mel, celebrating her 20th birthday. 

   

My husband and I opt for a different kind of evening experience at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola — a tasting menu at Game Creek Restaurant.  After getting out of the gondola, we board a snow cat to the mountain restaurant. Should we opt for three, four or five courses? (We opt for four). 

   

Yes, kids are welcome — we even see a toddler — and there is a children’s menu (for $40 they can start with tomato soup and grilled cheese, shrimp and cocktail sauce or mixed salad, move on to chicken fingers, grilled filet mignon or salmon and finish with an ice cream sandwich). 

Our dinner, of course, is more pricey ($92 for four courses, $82 for three and $102 for five) and well worth it. I start with Haachi Crudo—sashimi served with avocado, radish while my husband opts for delectable shrimp dumplings.  There is crab salad with beets and heart of palm, duck frisee with chvre potato chive. I have sea bass while he goes for filet and short rib with wild mushrooms Yum! Let’s not forget desert— pear sticky toffee pudding with cream. 

   

Who says skiing is just about the slopes and the amount of snow!  

   

Next:  Experiencing the mountain spas of Colorado  

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