Naturally, if you find yourself filling your lungs with crisp fresh mountain air as you are swish-swishing down a snowy slope, you have a lot to be thankful for … a whole lot more than most people in the world.
Not that we’re taking our health and fitness for granted – those are at the very top of our Thanksgiving lists this November 2012 – but if you are in fact, already living the sweet life on the slopes at Vail Resorts this holiday weekend, there are some other less obvious gems that will surely meet with your immediate and lasting gratitude.
1. Heated seats on Vail’s new gondola
As the advent of heated car seats has proven for years now, everybody loves a hot bum. Even if your fingers and toes are chilled and the sun is shining, nothing sends a shiver of warmth through your entire body like slightly cooking your frame’s largest muscle (the Gluteus Maximus). Vail’s One is the first gondola in North America to come with free Wifi AND heated seats. Brand new this season. Muchas gracias!
2. Happy snow-inspired early 40th at Kirkwood
Vail Resorts’ newest addition – Kirkwood Mountain in California – and Northstar at Tahoe started celebrating their 40th anniversaries earlier than expected when they opened last week following two consecutive storms dumping four feet of snow. Kirkwood opened with five trails and 40 acres for its first season with Vail Resorts and Northstar has an impressive seven trails (five green and two blues) open.
3. Parade and turkey bowling at Keystone
If there were some other use for a giant frozen bird other than stuffing it full of deliciousness and baking it in the oven it would be – of course – chucking it down a snow-covered alley to knock over a bunch of pins. Head to River Run Village at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 to test your bowling prowess or simply for a laugh. Later on Saturday, not do be outdone by Macy’s, Keystone’s own Ripperoo leads the first Saturday parade of the season down to the Dercum Square Ice Rink at 4 p.m. Plus at Keystone there is the simple pleasure of 100-plus acres of skiing to be enjoyed.
4. Thanksgiving feast at Northstar’s Tavern 6330’
Let’s face it. We all appreciate filling our bellies on Thanksgiving. And if somehow you’re not the one stuck with the cooking … even better! Northstar at Tahoe’s brand new restaurant – Tavern 6330’ – is hosting a feast of all feasts between 1 and 7 p.m. on Turkey day. The festive entrees include sweet potatoes with pecan butter, rime rib with Au Jus and of course, roasted turkey with pumpkin pie (or S’mores pie or apple crisp …) for dessert. The cost is $42 for big people and $16 for little people. Call 530-562-3202 for reservations.
5. Free freshly baked cookies at Beaver Creek
A treasure to be thankful for every time you ski the Beav, resort bakers wander the base area daily at 3 p.m. with their steaming mountain of treats and a line of hungry skiers following the waft. They hand out hot chocolate chip cookies until the pile is gone and then they return with a fresh batch. The cookie recipe is carefully selected from a stack of finalists via the annual Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition at the beginning of the season. Trust us … they are the cream of the crop.
Apres abounds everywhere throughout Vail Resorts – especially on holiday weekends –but few places thank the heavens for the post-ski ritual more than Heavenly. Heavenly is famous for its Unbuckle Apres Party every day at Tamarack Lodge on the mountain. Nothing says something to cheers for more than happy hour, especially with half-priced drinks and table dancing. Unbuckle opens up its latches every day from 3:30 to 5:30.
7. Sun and Santa!
While snow is, naturally, our most cherished type of weather event, sun brings a smile to everyone’s face and it is especially powerful above 10,000 feet at Breckenridge, where according to the forecast, it will be shining all weekend. For those of you visiting Breck on Dec. 1, plan to lose some of your turkey weight in the town’s Race of the Santas. Really. If you have a red and white suit and beard floating around … here’s your chance to use it. Otherwise, Mr. and Mrs. Claus suits are provided for race registrants at an additional cost. Call 970-453-5074 for more information.