Monday, January 3, 2011

Vail. Like Nothing on Earth

Rollie received, as an award being named “Broker of the Year”, an all-expense paid trip to Vail for two! We decided to leave the day after my birthday. Getting there was tricky because we had to fly Frontier and our plane had mechanical problems. We finally landed in Denver and drove to Vail - a short 2-hour trip into the mountains. We stayed at Arrabelle Resort, which is in the newer area of Vail called Lionshead, and is simply incredible. The hotel was serving hot buttered rum in the lobby (we got in at Apres ski time), so we just walked around Lionshead and explored the area, plus did a little shopping at the cute ski shops. The snow was really falling by then so we knew we’d have a great couple of days of skiing ahead. We had dinner at Montauk and then met up with my friend Emily and her husband Matt, plus her sister Amanda and husband Nick for a drink before calling it a night. 

The Ice Skating Rink outside of the Arrabelle
Dinner at Montauk
We skied all day Thursday and Friday – both crystal clear days with tons of new snow from the storm the day before. Both days we started at Lionshead at the lift right outside of our hotel. The hotel stored our skis and gear for us, so it was quick getting up on the mountain. The first day I ended a little before Rollie and ended in Vail Village – the older part of Vail, with cute shops, restaurants, and bars. And the second day we finished up in Lionshead. At 3:30 when the lifts close for the day, all the servers walk out of the bar at our hotel and pop champagne corks into the snow and pour the first Apres Ski toast. 

Lunch at Two Elks Lodge
Panoramic view of the Back Bowls from Two Elks Lodge
We enjoyed our Apres ski drink; then we hit the hot tubs at our hotel. They were public hot tubs so we thought they’d be packed, but both days we had the entire area to ourselves – and it was a great view of the Eagle Bahn gondolas and Born Free run. After hot tubbing and relaxing, we got ready for the night and went to Sweet Basil. Some friends had told us this was the best restaurant in Vail, and I can attest that it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had anywhere! Rollie had arranged for a birthday dessert surprise as well (and port wine dessert flight). The next night after Apres Ski Happy Hour and hot tubbing, we joined up with friends who have a place in Cascade Village. After seeing their amazing condo (San Francisco style upright with an elevator!), we went to Vendetta’s pizza in Vail Village for a low key dinner. We headed home the next morning – making great time back to Denver and getting back to Kansas City in time for the Jingle Ball (barely)!
You can see how close the snow/lift is from where the champagne was popping!
Apres Ski!
Rollie iced down champagne before even changing out of his ski gear!
At Rimini bakery across from our hotel.

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