Vail may be best known for its epic skiing and legendary back bowls, but did you know that there are so many other fun activities that don’t involve skis? Many of these fun Vail winter activities are off mountain. But one of our new favorite on-mountain activities is snow tubing at Adventure Ridge Vail, located at the top of Vail Mountain! This is fun for adults and kids, alike.
Disclosure: We were hosted by Vail Resorts. All opinions, however, are our own.
One of the few things on Vail mountain that is completely free to do, is to take the Eagle Bahn Gondola out of Lionshead village up to Adventure Ridge via foot after 3:30 p.m. That is how to get to Adventure Ridge. Even if you don’t want to splurge on Vail snow tubing, take the gondola up just before sunset and take in the mountain at night. It is beyond beautiful. Stop in for a hot cocoa or bite to eat at Bistro Fourteen, after a short walk around.
If you are up for some fast fun, head to the Adventure Ridge building to purchase your Vail snow tubing tickets. So what time does Adventure Ridge open? Snow tubing at Eagle’s Nest is open 2 – 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday during peak ski season. At the time we went, the cost was $54 per person for 3 runs when purchased online, or $84 for unlimited runs. But be sure to check Vail Resorts for current pricing. While I think we would have loved to have had a fourth whiz down the hill, 3 runs is probably sufficient for most people.
Guests receive a quick set of instructions from a Vail Resorts employee. Then they head out to the conveyor belt which hauls you and your tube up a steep hill in a protected tunnel. When you reach the top you hop in the tube and get a push down the hill from Vail Resorts employees. You can go in a group holding each other’s tubes. Or, you can go by yourself. Each way has offers its own version of fun. Going together the first run helps get past that initial fear looking down the steep hill. But I did think it went faster as a single.
Don’t get me wrong. Sledding is still one of our favorite Colorado winter activities. Your path is unpredictable, and you are sure to get a good workout. There are plenty of really fun sledding hills in the Vail valley, all of which are free. That is, other than the procurement of a sled and your own two feet to get you up the hill. But I don’t typically have the energy for sledding after a ski day on the hill, and I would have the energy for Vail tubing. It is a luxury to be pulled up the hill and just soar down.
What should you wear for snow tubing? Warm clothes. We basically wore our ski gear but with winter boots instead of ski boots. And, hats instead of helmets. It can get cold at night on the mountain and you will be whizzing fast down a hill with air blowing in your face.
Adventure Ridge also offers ski biking tours by booking in advance for 5 and 5:30 p.m. time slots. You must be an intermediate skier and ages 10 or above to ski bike. This is a unique way to see the mountain at dark.
What are ski bikes? Ski bikes look like a bike, but with skis at the base instead of wheels. The most popular design has one long ski as the base, and then you clip two short skis onto your feet to control the bike.
What should you wear for ski biking? You should dress just as if you are going skiing — snow clothes, gloves, helmet and ski boots.
Epic Discovery Vail
A couple of years ago Adventure Ridge in the summer rebranded to Epic Discovery. If you think this area is fun in the winter, you should see it in the summer. There is so much more to do. The alpine mountain coaster operates year round. But I’d say it is most fun in the summer when it is warmer and greener out. There are multiple levels of ropes courses. You can zip line here, or head back in to Game Creek Bowl for an all-day zip lining experience. There’s a bungee trampoline. And, Walking Mountains runs a nature center where you can learn all about the wildlife natural to the area.
About the Vail Valley
The Vail Valley is more than just Vail village and Lionshead Village. Just down the road is Beaver Creek. While there is no Beaver Creek tubing, it is the locals’ choice of resort for kids to learn to ski.
Most of the Vail valley hotels are in the Vail and Beaver Creek areas. There are some great places to camp and rent cabins, such as Piney River Ranch.
Be sure to check out our guide to visiting Vail in Colorado!