Area Spotlight: Vail
Vail was originally the hunting ground of the Ute Indians. Irishman George Gore better known as Lord Gore and American frontiersman Jim Bridger were among the first white men to explore the area. Later, the region became known as the Gore Valley and fortune seekers came in hopes to find gold and silver. These intruders drove the Indians off their land and the Ute Indians reportedly set fire to thousands of acres know known worldwide as Vail’s back bowls. The mineral resources became scarce and the Valley continued to be home to sheep herders until 1939. An engineer named Charlie Vail helped to build Highway 6 that ran from Denver through the Gore Valley. During World War II, the 10th Mountain Division of the Army held survival training near Vail. Three veterans came back to Vail where Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton began planning a ski resort. And then, by 1966, Vail was incorporated and owned the only gondola in the United States. The ski resort became popular worldwide and developed into a year-round community in the early 1980’s. Today Vail is North America’s premier ski resort.
Today Vail hosts golf, skiing, biking, hiking, snowshoeing, ice climbing and many other activities throughout the year. The outdoor venue named after a once Vail resident, President Gerald Ford is home to Bravo! Orchestra concerts, free summer Tuesday night concerts, dance festivals and more. On Sundays, be sure to stop by Vail and get your fix for summer goods at the weekly Vail Farmer’s market.
Avon, Colorado is often referred to as the “Heart of the Vail Valley” based upon its geographic location. It is located at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain and is just a short 8 miles to the additional world-class resort of Vail. Therefore, Avon is a great place for both residents and visitors. With approximately 6,500 year-round residents, plus another 3,500 part-time residents, Avon offers a small mountain town atmosphere with many amenities. This means that, skiing, hiking, or paddling the Eagle River are all activities that can are easy and convenient to the town of Avon.
A 48-acre park in the middle of Avon comes alive in the summer offering paddle boat rentals, fishing in the lake, walks around the park, playgrounds and areas to relax for a picnic lunch. The park is also host to many events including the largest fireworks display in the Colorado Rockies called Salute to the USA and many live music concerts with Nottingham Lake as a backdrop. If you are considering wanting to be in the middle of all of the action of the Vail Valley, look no further than Avon. Just across the street from the park is a 40,000 square foot recreational center that includes a 140 foot indoor waterslide, a 5-lane lap pool, fitness equipment and other wonderful state-of-art amenities. Not far from Avon’s Recreation Center is the Whitewater Park. Here you watch all levels of kayakers ride through three river features during the summer.
BEAVER CREEK, COLORADO
Looking south of Avon, you can’t help but notice the beautiful resort of Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek Mountain opened to the public for skiing in 1980 officially but was settled almost 100 years earlier. In 1956 Earl Eaton and John Burke found Beaver Creek to be an opportunity for America’s next great family ski resort. Then, eyed for the 1976 Olympic downhill races, Beaver Creek still proved a great area for skiing in its early formidable days.
Fast forward to today where each December Beaver Creek now holds the Birds of Prey Downhill ski event. A locals and internationally televised event, the December event put together by the Vail Valley Foundation is often considered the Vail Valley’s official kick-off to winter.
With high-end boutique shopping, fine dining restaurants all
anchored by the family outdoor ice skating rink to the year-round talent
showcased at The Vilar Center, Beaver Creek has something for every visitor of
Ride your mountain bike through the Village to Village trail system atop Beaver Creek, enjoy a warm cookie hand-delivered by the chefs in hats at the end of each ski day or casually sip brews while the BBQ floats through the air during the early summer Blues, Brews and BBQ event. There are many reasons that Beaver Creek considers itself a year-round resort who continues to champion it’s tagline of not exactly roughing it.