All Kinds of Winter Family Fun in Vail, Colorado

Vail is a charming mountain town boasting some of the best ski terrain in the country – but that’s not all it’s known for. Visitors can expect to find plenty of high class shopping, family-friendly entertainment, lodgings for every budget, and a unique mix of culinary styles among the mountain’s multitude of dining establishments.

With skiing and snowboarding terrain for all skill levels, there are more than enough opportunities for winter-themed fun at Vail Ski Resort. There are slopes for seasoned skiers and snowboarders, as well as those who are just starting out. The mountain also has numerous attractions for kids, ranging from a football stadium-sized snow park, to adventure-themed ski trails.

The Town of Vail is divided into three areas: Vail Village, Lionshead, and Golden Peak. Vail Village and Lionshead are where you want to go for shopping, dining, and nighttime entertainment, while Golden Peak contains a beginner ski area that is great for little ones who are just starting out. All provide fast access up the mountain, so stick to these areas to experience the best that the mountain has to offer.

image by Capture Light /


Getting to Know the Town

Most of the action in Vail Village and Lionshead is easy to reach thanks to the Vail’s convenient and free — yes, FREE — public transportation system. There are also several lifts located throughout the town. This means families can easily ski or snowboard during the day, and head into town for an evening of fun; or go back and forth as they please!

Vail Village was designed to look like a village in the Swiss Alps, so get ready to bask in its European charm. The village is very pedestrian-friendly and filled with lots of boutiques and restaurants. It’s also where visitors will find the Vista Bahn Ski Lift, a high speed lift that carries passengers up and down the mountain at conveniently quick speeds. Vail Village also has modern conveniences like heated streets that keep the chills away!

Lionshead has been recently updated with an Austrian-influenced vibe that is perfect for winter getaways. It’s home to the Eagle Bahn Gondola, another high speed lift that quickly transports passengers to the ski lifts. The village is free of cars or buses, so you won’t have to worry about traffic while you check out the sites.

The Imagination Station in the Lionshead Welcome Center provides hands-on exhibits that are sure to intrigue youngsters. Kids ages 2 through 12 can have a blast climbing on the play wall or conducting experiments in the Mad Scientist’s Lab. Open daily from 10am to 5pm, the attractions costs a mere $5 a day per person.

Dining on the Mountain

Game Creek Restaurant overlooks Game Creek Bowl and sits right below Eagle’s Nest. While it resembles a traditional European cottage, the restaurant serves scrumptious American cuisine the whole brood can delight in. You will have to take a Snowcat to get there in the winter, so the trip to the restaurant is an adventure all in itself!

Tavern on the Square is located near the Eagle Bahn Gondola, so stop in to try signature dishes like Grilled Lettuce Wraps and Lobster Mac and Cheese. The restaurant has a craft beer and wine list for mom and dad, and a kids’ menu for the tots.

The 10th serves traditional alpine dishes in an elegant dining environment that’s accessible from Gondola One. Go here if you are looking for a true, fine dining experience with a modern touch. 

Adventure Ridge

Want to find endless opportunities for wintertime fun in one convenient location? Check out the Adventure Ridge at Vail, a child-friendly snow park accessible from Lionshead via the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Kids can get their kicks riding mini snowmobiles on the Blizzard Speedway, or gliding down long inner tube runs. There is even a zipline tour that lets them soar through the air while taking in dazzling views of snow-covered scenery.

Some tips while you’re there: The Eagle Bahn Gondola runs late, so families can catch the sunset from Adventure Ridge before heading down the mountain. Getting hungry from all the snow activities? Bistro Fourteen provides a comfortable sit-down dining atmosphere for all ages and is located right at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

Kid’s Adventure Zones

What better way to improve a child’s skiing abilities than by letting them navigate through easy terrain with playful features? There are nine different adventure zone runs to choose from, each with kid-approved names like Magic Forest, Chaos Canyon or Thundercat Cave. Some runs have tunnels, others have statues serving as trail markers, some even have multiple paths.

These zones are marked on trail maps with smiley faces, so you can’t miss them. Despite names like Chaos Canyon, the zones are completely safe for little ones to practice at their own pace.

Nature Discovery Center

The Nature Discovery Center is located near the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola and offers fun snowshoe tours of Vail Mountain. Kids ages 10 and older can accompany their parents on free snowshoe tours offered daily at 2pm. There are also free evening snowshoe tours Tuesday through Saturday at 5:30pm. Learn about local plants and animals of the region while being treated to spectacular mountain views!

What wintertime activities did your little ones most enjoy during your vacation in Vail, CO? 

Cover image by Arina P Habich /

Tags : travel   ski   Vail   Colorado   winter holidays   

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