The Best Winter Activities in Vail, Colorado

Vail is home to some of the best winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and more.

Posted January 5, 2023

Y&I Skiing a Powder Day at Vail, CO

Vail Mountain is known throughout the world as one of North America’s top ski areas. And while it’s famous for skiing and snowboarding, the mountain and surrounding community have many winter activities to offer visitors during their winter vacation when they are not on the slopes. Trying a new winter activity can provide a fun challenge. Luckily,  Vail’s action-packed atmosphere is the perfect location for so many other cold-weather activities, such as ice skating and snowshoeing. 

Planning a trip to Vail’s snowy mountains this winter? Give one of these winter activities in Colorado a chance! 

Best Winter Activities in Vail 

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, these options offer a great way to explore the snowy mountains while engaging in new experiences.  

Ice Skating 

Ice skating is one of the most classic winter activities in Vail. Many visitors love skating on outdoor ice rinks, because it provides the perfect "winter" feeling and a break from hitting the slopes. Vail offers several excellent options for visitors in the mood for ice skating! Check out Vail Village's Solaris Ice Rink, for a great view of the Vail Mountain in the distance. 

For the most picturesque ice skating atmosphere, visit The Arrabelle ice rink in Lionshead Village. Surrounded by a Swiss-styled hotel, twinkling lights and a roaring fire, you’ll feel like you’re the star in a winter movie.  

The Dobson Ice Arena features a sizeable indoor rink that is perfect for the whole family to enjoy classic ice skating. Visitors will find other activities at the Ice Arena, such as a local hockey game.  

Scenic Gondola Rides 

Visitors who need a break from all the winter sports can take a scenic gondola ride with stunning views of Vail’s surrounding mountain ranges! Vail Mountain offers a relaxing rocky mountain scenic gondola ride on either the Eagle Bahn Gondola or the Gondola One. 

Guests can view Vail’s vistas from a whole new perspective than from the villages. In addition, there are several locations for visitors to grab lunch before heading back to Vail’s cobblestone streets.  


Snowshoeing is the perfect winter activity in Vail to explore the mountains and take in the natural landscape. Right here in Vail, guests will find educational snowshoeing tours that take them through the mountains' snowy trails. Snowshoeing in Vail is among the best winter activities in Colorado for visitors who don't ski, since it’s easy to learn in just a few minutes!  

Visitors who travel to Vail from mid-November through March are in luck! They'll find options for snowshoeing tours at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Vail Nordic Center. The Nature Discovery Center offers free guided snowshoe tours for guests ages 10 and up. 

Winter Shopping 

Need a break from the outdoors? Visitors love the holiday shopping atmosphere in Vail Village and Lionshead Village. These pedestrian friendly villages have various shops carrying unique merchandise and gifts. Among the row of shops are apparel stores, home decor shops, and so much more. Visitors will also find many local restaurants to stop at for lunch or dinner while shopping. Unlike other destinations, Vail’s villages are full of unique boutiques with curated collections. 

Visitors also should check out 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company, located on Bridge Street. The distillery and tasting room offers dozens of whiskey and spirits to sample, all locally crafted. Visitors traveling from far can also ship gifts home, eliminating the need to carry back gifts on their return flights. 

Vail's Winter Activities 

From a relaxing scenic gondola ride to a stroll along the shops in Vail Village, there are tons of fun winter activities in Vail to explore. Of course, visitors to Vail should take advantage of the legendary ski and snowboard opportunities offered on Vail Mountain. Even better, skiing and snowboarding lessons are offered for both adults and children who want to improve their skills. Vail is home to some of the best winter activities in Colorado!