Category Archives: Local’s Tips
Beaver Creek is an absolutely stunning resort in the winter and summer! I was reminded of this over the weekend when friends and I hiked up Beaver Lake Trail, leading us to none-other-than Beaver Lake. The trail is a mere 3.3 miles each direction with an elevation climb from 10,500 to 11,300 feet, making it a great hike for most hikers. I will say that towards the end my legs started to feel the burn, making it a hike that I can be proud of, without becoming utterly exhausted.
Beaver Lake Trail can be conquered by horse, foot or mountain bike; although I prefer foot. Finding the trail-head is easy, as it’s just past the Beaver Creek Chapel where at the road comes to an end. I recommend grabbing a trail map from the Information Booth prior to your climb, since you’ll have to park in Ford or Villa Montane parking structures.
I enjoyed this hike due to the beauty that surrounded us throughout the hike. The first part of the hike you are walking along the river cascading through the Aspen Trees. The further you climb, the better the views and I like nothing more than to see the runs I ski in the winter transformed for the summer!
Call one of our Friendly. Knowledgeable. Locals.® in Vail, Colorado to hear more Local’s Tips for the area!
Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, celebrating its 25th season this year, offers an intimate setting amidst a mountain back-drop to sit back and enjoy sounds the some of today’s most famed Orchestras. Over the course of Bravo! which lasts June 25 – August 4 this year, you can enjoy the sounds of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Big Music For Little Bands and Pops.
Classical music in a beautiful outdoor setting does indeed make for a very romantic date night. Here’s some advice to really make it a memorable evening.
- Perhaps try sitting on the lawn. Not only are the tickets priced better, but the lawn also allows you the opportunity so spread out or better yet, cuddle up with you date.
- Bring a blanket. You are sitting on the lawn, so come prepared with a light blanket or sheet to sit on.
- Pack a picnic. General Ford Amphitheater allows you to take food into the venue, so take advantage of it. I suggest packing up some cheese and crackers, fruits and vegetables. Once inside the venue you can also purchase a bottle or wine to compliment the snacks you’ve prepared.
- Don’t forget your Umbrella! Colorado summer afternoons often bring a little rain before the sun peaks out again. Come prepared and be glad you did.
- After the music concludes, take a romantic stroll through the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens located right outside the amphitheater. Betty Ford is the world’s highest Botanic garden located at 8,2000 ft!
- After dinner pop into the Fitz Lounge at the Manor Vail or Terra Bistro for a cocktail and bite to eat. These restaurants make claim to some of the most delicious food in Vail and we agree.
Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival is truly a magically time to be in Vail. Take our advice on this one. A night at Bravo! will surly leave you wanting more. Lucky for you, this festival lasts 6 weeks! To arrange a babysitter or book your lodging in Vail, contact one of our local Destination Specialists at Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals today!
If you vacation to Keystone, Breckenridge or Copper Mountain, you’ve got to visit the Frisco Adventure Park. Located just a couple miles off exit 201 (or exit 203), the Frisco Adventure Park has both winter and summer set-ups that are convenient, fun and for the most part FREE! *Fortunately, this park is often overlooked by locals who head to, well, Keystone, Breckenridge or Copper Mountain to do some of the same activities!
The park is about 15 minutes away from Keystone, about 10 minutes from Breckenridge, and also about 10 minutes from Copper. If you are driving up to Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen or Snowmass, the Adventure Park is a great stop along the drive that is just off the highway and can give you the chance to stretch your legs with, say, 18 holes of disc golf!
The Park is located alongside Lake Dillon, which creates a unique atmosphere not found in most mountain towns. You can spend the morning boating on the water, and then head over to the Adventure Park for a bike ride! The lake also creates some great contrast with the mountains, which seem to shoot out of the water.
In the summer, the park offers the following activities:
- Bike Park
- Skateboard Park
- Disc Golf Course
- Baseball Field
- Multi-purpose Field
The park in the summer also provides access to plenty of hiking/biking trails that are open to the public.
In the winter, the park is used for:
- Ski and Snowboard Terrain Park
While the park has fewer activities in the winter, tubing tends to draw big crowds for those looking to do something different.
My perfect day: Spend the morning downhill mountain biking in Breckenridge, then heading over to the Frisco Adventure Park for 18 challenging Disc Golf. Well that’s my local’s tip for Tuesday, hope you enjoyed it and hope you can find your way to the Frisco Adventure Park soon!
To plan your next Rocky Mountain Vacation, call one of our Friendly. Knowledgeable. Locals.® today to find the best destination, lodging and activities for your group or family! (855)210-2469
The Maroon Bells are the most photographed peaks in all of North America. Located in the Elk Mountains just outside of Aspen, these two peaks are perched at 14,014 and 14,156 feet. Last weekend I decided that I had seen enough photographs of these peaks and it was time to experience the real thing.
Upon arriving in Aspen at 10am, we continued to drive up Maroon Creek Road where we were stopped just outside of Aspen Highlands by a sign that read “no traffic to Maroon Bells, board shuttle here”. We followed directions and proceeded up to the ticket office into Four Mountain Sports at the Base of Aspen Highlands. We were a little shocked to learn that we would have to pay $6 a person to ride the shuttle to the Maroon Bells. Riding a shuttle to a beautiful spot in the wilderness is just not appealing to me. I don’t do well with crowds; especially when I’m trying to soak up a beautiful place. I inquired about not taking the shuttle and it was explained to me that from June 16-September 30 (weekends only), between the hours of 9am-5pm it is required that you ride the shuttle to see the Maroon Bells. However, if we wanted to arrive before or after these hours, we could drive to the Maroon Bells. Coming back at a different time seemed like a good option for us.
Sunday morning we woke up at 6:00 and made the 25 minute drive from Snowmass Village to the Maroon Bells. Not surprisingly, the peaks looked just as majestic as they appeared in pictures and even more beautiful, was the peaks’ reflection in the water. It may have been an early morning, but we were so happy to not be surrounded by other tourists while enjoying the views. Regardless of the time of year you travel to Aspen, I’d recommend a trip up to the Maroon Bells. When you planning a trip to Aspen or Snowmass, be sure to give Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals a call for the best selection of Aspen homes, Aspen condos and Aspen vacation rentals!
If you are familiar with mountain towns, you are aware that most suffer with some seasonality issues. The winters are awesome and often fly by way to fast, and as the quote goes “We come for the winter and stay for the summer“. Thus, summer is equally as awesome as winter and we just have to find something to do for those dreaded months of May and October. Luckily, May is typically very nice weather and the leaves start to change in October and it is quite beautiful. But back to the point…
Summer is equally as awesome as winter. May is half way over, and summer will officially begin in the mountains on Memorial Day Weekend. Be sure to come out early for the best rafting conditions, or wait until August to escape the heat around the country. Whenever you decide to come this summer, be sure to take notice of these Local’s Tips about mountain living:
1) Wear sunscreen – It doesn’t matter what time of year, always wear sunscreen. In high altitude you get an additional 8 to 10 percent increase in sun exposure for every thousand feet at elevation you climb. This is because there is less atmospheres to absorb the sun’s damaging rays the higher in elevation you go.
2) Planning on rafting this summer? 98% of Colorado is currently in a drought. That means rafting season is going to be short and sweet! Unlike winters with heavy snowfall, last year was a doozie, which means less snow run off and a short window to get some good turns out in the river. We recommend The Adventure Company’s full moon rafting trip they offer!
3) Hiking? I hope so! Typically in the summer you can expect afternoon thunderstorms, so start your hike early so that you are finished by 3:00pm before the storms roll in.
4) Rent a bicycle. With so much to see amidst beautiful weather, renting a bicycle is the best way to make the most of your stay in the mountains. Local outfitters offer bicycle tours, rentals mountain biking adventures and all sorts of other ideas to explore via bicycle. Talk to a local Destination Specialist today so we can recommend a reputable company to rent from or take a tour with.
5) Take a ride on the Gondola! Take a ride up the Gondola during the summer to see your favorite destinations from a bird’s eye view. Depending on the resort you can play Frisbee golf, hike, mountain bike, go on a picnic and whatever else your heart desires. It’s always fun to see how your favorite ski runs transform during the summer months.
5.5) Many mountain towns have a frisbee golf, or disc golf course at the top of the mountain. While taking a scenic trip on the Gondola has the same views, taking part in a game of disc golf seals the deal.
Summer is our favorite time to be in the Colorado Rockies. Call a local Destination Specialist at Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals today to find out the scope on lodging and activities during your stay!
One of my favorite things to do during the summer months is get in my Jeep and explore Colorado. Everywhere offers something new to discover and the beauty of the mountains literally takes your breath away.
This time, my good friend Sean agreed to make the 4.5 hour drive with me to Telluride – the most magical place in Colorado! If you haven’t ever been, you don’t know what you’re missing. With 100’s of hikes to be discovered amidst spectacular scenery you just can’t go wrong. We arrived late, camped and woke up with no plans other than to take a little hike and maybe check out the Telluride Film Festival going on in town. That “little” hike turned into a 6 hour, highly rewarding journey that I recommend to all!
One of the unique features of Telluride is the Gondola that connects Historic Telluride and Mountain Village. Right in the middle of the two, the Gondola allows passengers the option to get out at mid mountain (10,554ft) which is where Sean and disembarked. Mid mountain is also home to Allred’s Restaurant, one of the most popular places to grab a drink while watching the sunset. Having skied Telluride in the winter, I was stoked to take a walk up one of my favorite alpine trails, See Forever. See Forever took us on a fairly steep incline passing us through numerous trail intersections and landmarks. When we stumbled upon the Tempter House at 12,200 feet we were blown away. This architectural wonder is nestled atop a ridge beside the famous Gold Hill and is one of the highest elevation homes in North America! You just can’t find the privacy and views offered here at any other rental property. That’s right you can rent this property out, just give Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals a call!
Sean and I finally reached what we felt was the top of our journey, but then we noticed that the trail seemed to keep going so we followed it up to the Revelation Bowl (12,570ft). At the top of Revelation Bowl we paused a moment for a photo and took a second look at our trail map. We have two options- Turn around or continue onward across the Wasatch Connection down to East Bear Creek Trail into the Town of Telluride. The answer was an obvious choice and we continued onward! Bear Creek Trail takes you down into the lush valley along the river to Bear Creek Falls putting you in Town Park in historic Telluride. Lucky for us we brought sunscreen and water because we didn’t reach Town Park until 4 hours after we first reached Revelation Bowl.
The moral of the story is this – Get outside and explore! When you need a place to rest your head, call on Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals to find you just the comfort you’re looking for in a Telluride vacation rental.
When you arrive to your vacation destination, do you find it confusing? Do you have no idea where anything is or what is going on (or is that just me)? One thing that I have found helps ease this confusion is checking out the local paper. Up here in Vail, it is the Vail Daily. Thus, I present the local tip for today:
Not only does the local paper help you get situated with the area and learn about what’s happening in town, but you learn about all the best deals in town – the best happy hours, apre specials and dinner specials. You may find 50% off sushi one day, $2.99 steaks the next, and a sale at the local sports shop the day after that – or all of these on 1 day!
Recently, Minturn Country Club has been running their $2.99 NY Strip special – it is at night on Wednesday, April 18th this week. While this deserves a “Local’s Tip Tuesday” in itself (you get to pick your steak and grill it yourself!), I thought I would throw it into this tip. So whatever mountain town you may vacation in, check out the local paper and you will be surprised with the information you find.
Colorado is known for having an amazing music scene. The artists that come through Aspen’s famed Belly Up are no exception to the rule. This music venue has been selling out shows since 1979, so If you plan on traveling to Aspen or Snowmass make sure seeing a show at Belly Up is at the top of your list. Locals rave about it, while others drive many miles to see their favorite artists perform here.
Belly Up is setup in a tiered manner, making for an outstanding concert experience. In the far back of the venue you’ll find the bar which provides standing room and limited seating around the perimeter, a few feet lower is the VIP area, and further down is where the main dancing area is in front of the stage. The venue is intimate (450 people at maximum capacity) allowing for an incredible light show and the opportunity to get up close and personal with your favorite artists. The sound at Belly Up Aspen is not surprising amazing so you can count on an overall stellar experience. Get your tickets early, because this venue sells out shows fast!
Here’s a look at some of the upcoming shows happening at Belly Up Aspen.
- April 25 – Oakhurst – Album Release Party
- May 16 – Mishka * AnuhaMay 28 – Mt. Eden
- June 8 – Indigo Girls
- June 7 – Jimmie Vaughan and The Tilt-A-Whirl Band Feat. Lou
- June 13th – The Dandy Warhols
- June 17 – Mickey Avalon
After a night of dancing you’ll want to comfy bed to come home to. Call Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals today and our Aspen local will help set you up with lodging in Aspen conveniently located close to Belly Up.
When you hear someone talking about a Ski Town, common associations come to mind – Skiing; winter; snow; mountains. It’s true that most people, in fact, move to a ski town just in time for the snow to start falling and the ski resort to kick start their lift operations. However, interestingly enough, once spring comes along the locals, who moved here specifically for the ski season, find themselves eagerly awaiting the summer. This phenomenon is due to the fact that summertime in these mountain towns (mainly in the Colorado Rockies) is AMAZING!
Colorado is the sunshine state – not Florida – as Colorado receives 300+ days of sunshine a year! Pair that up with perfect weather, very low humidity and incredible natural terrain and you’ve got yourself a glorious climate! On the weekends I have to make a choice on how I want to spend my perfect day… Should I go hiking? On a bike ride? Rafting? Camping? Play golf? Pitch a BBQ? – It’s a tough decision because every one of these activities is at my disposal in no more than a 20 minute drive! Forget the malls and your television, we get outside in Colorado!
Not outdoorsy? No big deal. Ski towns host a multitude of special events during the summer aimed at driving tourism to these destinations. Some of my favorite summer events are the Teva Mountain Games, Aspen Food and Wine Classic, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Vail International Dance Festival and the list goes on and on!
Trying to stay low budget? Great news! Lodging rates dip down significantly in the summer months. There are deals to be had everywhere and the rooms are cheap enough to make you want to extend your stay a week longer.
If you come to places like Vail, Breckenridge, Telluride or Aspen to ski and love it, I invite you to discover just how amazing these places are during the summer. Although most locals prefer that this be kept a secret, I had to offer it up as a local’s tip, because it’s something everyone should experience. Call Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals to start planning your trip today. (855) 210-2469
Since I have moved up to the mountains, one of the things I have come to respect the most is the night sky. Having lived in a city most of my life, I was never truly able to see the night sky. The sky really does light up, and it seems that there are endless amounts of stars. You can see all the major constellations, but then there are tons of stars filling in the gaps – I could lay on the ground staring up for ages.
However, on some nights you can’t see the stars. No, I am not referring to when it is cloudy at night, but rather to when there is a full moon. While I miss the stars on these nights, I love looking up at the full moon, a complete circle, as it lights up the night.
While initially I was satisfied with just staring at it, eventually a few seasoned mountain locals let me know about a few activities you can do at night in Colorado – and these activities are especially recommended on full moon nights (for safety and sight-seeing reasons). Here are a few activities that can be done best at night under a full moon:
- River Rafting/Boating
- Hiking (winter and summer)
A few of these activities can be done right around your home (hiking, biking, maybe even fishing), but the others require a bit of effort. While I have hiked and fished a bit at night, 2 things I had never done before moving here were Full Moon Rafting and Full Moon Skiing.
If you are interested in heading up to the Colorado Mountains for stargazing, moongazing, or any other reason, check out my blogs on Full Moon Rafting and Full Moon Skiing. And don’t hesitate to contact one of our Friendly. Knowledgeable. Locals.® to help answer any questions you have about the Colorado Mountain sky in all of our destinations. Call today! (855) 210-2469
Last night (Thursday, March 8th) we were graced with a full moon. And while the full moon detracts from the stars, it lights up the sky and is quite a magnificent sight. Luckily, the full moon comes around once a month and allows us Coloradans to do a few things we might not normally do…
Like skiing at night! (or in the summer rafting at night!)
To celebrate this full moon during the winter, there is a gathering once a month at Loveland Pass. Ski and snowboard enthusiasts looking for a change of pace head up Loveland Pass to take shuttle runs up and down the mountain – guided by moonlight. While most use a headlamp or flashlight, one is able to ski down the pass using only the natural light of the moon and stars.
For those who don’t know, a shuttle run consists of driving up the pass, dropping off skiers, and then picking them up at the bottom of the run. When there is a large crowd, you don’t always need a driver as hitch-hiking up the pass is always an option.
Last night me and a group of friends traveled over to Loveland Pass to take part in this event, which takes full form a few nights a year when the conditions are right. Last night was one of these nights, as skiers and snowboarders from all over were looking to get some full moon shredding in. It was my first time participating in the event, and it was truly amazing. There is a certain element of risk and excitement added to the riding due to low lighting, but this makes each run that much more of a thrill!
But don’t worry! If you are not comfortable riding in the dark or if you forgot your flashlight, it is worth heading up there just for the views and good vibes. There were plenty of people last night up there just to take photos or act as chauffeurs for skiers and snowboarders. At the lower lot (where people get/give rides) there is often bonfires and people just enjoying the beauty of the night.
Colorado is one of the only places that such an event takes place, and it’s events and outings like these that really make Colorado a special place to visit (or live). Hopefully there will still be some snow around for April’s full moon so I can go and do this again.
If you would like to take part in events like this or find out what else Colorado has to offer, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Friendly. Knowledgeable. Locals.® to help you plan your customized summer or winter vacation in any of our fun-filled destinations. Call today! (855) 210-2469
Colorado has recently had some of the lowest gas prices in the nation, and down in Denver it has been lingering around $3.00 per gallon for a month or so now. While we are lucky to have such low prices in Denver, gas can get quite pricey when traveling through the mountains.
Traveling up and over mountain passes often increases the price of food, drink and gas. If you are planning on driving up and through the Colorado Rockies, it may be a good idea to do some grocery shopping before you leave Denver and to fill up on gas before you reach Vail Pass.
The same goes when leaving the mountains-if you have a quarter tank and you are in Vail, wait until Frisco or Silverthorne to fill up for the journey home.
Local’s Tip: “If you’re driving from Denver, fuel up in Silverthorne or Frisco to save money on gas!”
Here are prices of gas today along Interstate-70 from Denver to Avon:
- Idaho Springs—–$3.17
*Data recorded for “Regular” gas on March 6, 2012
So remember this local’s tip when driving through the mountains, and save the extra cash for a meal on the hill or for Apre Ski!
Last Wednesday Vail Resorts reported that 11″ had fallen in Vail overnight followed by another 12″ on Thursday. This snowfall caused a frenzy in Vail, which prompted me to write this blog.
With the right timing, you can avoid lift lines, get better snow, and ski all day hassle free!
So here is a guide of When to Ski (and when to stay home)…
1) Just in Time for the Storm – The weather channel informs you that a massive snow storm is headed for the Rockies. My advice is to book a room with Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals and dip out of town while you still can! Don’t wait for the weekend to make it happen – that’s what everyone else does.
2) On Closing Day – Costumes, drinking, and half-clothed people skiing on the mountain is a good time. Closing day at any resort is a party that you don’t want to miss! Even though it is crowded, closing days is often the most fun day of the year. Below is a list of when our favorite Colorado Resorts are closing for the 2011-2012 season. Don’t forget that A-basin stays open until the snow melts each year!
- Vail: April 15, 2012
- Beaver Creek: April 8, 2012
- Snowmass: April 15, 2012
- Aspen Mountain: April 15, Aspen Highlands: April 22, Buttermilk: April 8
- Breckenridge: April 15, 2012
- Keystone: April 8th, 2012
- Telluride: April 8th, 2012
3) Between opening day and December 17th (roughly and excluding Thanksgiving weekend) – This is the time for discount lodging leading up to the holidays. As soon as December 22nd hits, you’re paying holiday rates that are often much, much higher than normal rates.
4) During the Spring! – After March 31st you’ll typically find cheaper lodging through the end of the ski season and beautiful days on the hill. The weather is often terrific, and sometimes there are even powder days!
When you should probably stay home…
1) The Day after Christmas – Enough said.
2) New Years Day (+/- 1 day) – Surprisingly enough people still love to ski on New Years Day. The truth is, nothing cures a hangover as quickly as some fresh mountain air blowing in your face while cruising down the mountain.
3) President’s Day weekend – Next to Christmas, this is the busiest time of year to be in the mountains. If you have to ski over President’s Day Weekend be sure to book your lodging early in the season and expect to pay premium prices. If your trip can wait, then I’d recommend holding off until the holiday passes to go skiing.
Hopefully you found these local tips on when to ski and when not to ski helpful. Rocky Mountain Vacation’s Rentals’ staff is local to each of the destinations we represent, so wherever your ski vacation may be, be sure to give Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals a call! (855) 210-2469