Take Your Holiday to the Rockies: Vail Valley
By Chris Duthie
It’s becoming abundantly obvious that many parts of Colorado — still reeling from a major drought that began last winter — are likely to cancel planned fireworks displays on July 4th. With wildfires continuing to rage in La Plata and Montezuma counties near Durango and Dolores, the risk is regarded as simply too high.
But don’t let that spoil or dissuade your Independence Day festivities. There’s still so much to experience throughout the state, and one of the best places to get into the flag-waving spirit is in the Vail Valley.
Laden with an astonishing assortment of natural pastimes and symbiotic pleasures, high-country Vail is known worldwide for its skiing and snowboarding yet is equally renown for its summer distractions and services. Golf, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, zip lining, alpine sliding, ATVing, rafting and fly fishing are among the area’s preeminent leisure pursuits, as are the sun-kissed festivals, restaurants and resort-style hotels.
What’s up in the Vail Valley? Here is a tasty foursome of essential insider information that will help launch your July 4th experience:
1) The first thing to know about this expansive region is that it’s rife with outstanding golf, including public-invited Vail Golf Club (J. Press Maxwell), Gypsum Creek (Pete Dye) and EagleVail Golf Club (Bruce Devlin/Robert Von Hagge); semi-private/resort courses at Beaver Creek Golf Club (crafted by Robert Trent Jones Jr.), Sonnenalp Golf Club (Jay Morrish/Bob Cupp) and 36-hole Red Sky Golf Club (Greg Norman and Tom Fazio); and members-only clubs like 54-hole The Club at Cordillera (Fazio, Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin), Frost Creek Club (Tom Weiskopf) and Country Club of the Rockies (Nicklaus).
2) The 4th of July is special, and Avon’s free 32nd annual Alpine Bank’s Salute to the USA celebration makes it especially so with one of the state’s largest pyrotechnic fireworks displays. There’s also a ton of hallmark fun stuff like live philharmonic music, face painters, fire jugglers, magicians, food and more.
3) Other magical Vail Valley events include the Whistle Pig Vail Music Festival (June, August, September); Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (June 21-Aug. 2); Xterra Beaver Creek Triathlon (July 21); Eagle County Fair & Rodeo (July 25-28); Vail Dance Festival (July 28-Aug. 11); and the 12th Annual Beaver Creek Wine & Spirits Festival (Aug. 9-12).
4) Vail is a four-season, full-service destination that offers overnight visitors everything from VRBO vacation rentals to five-star luxury resort hotels. Favorites include the decadent pleasures of Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, The Sebastian Vail, Sonnenalp Hotel, Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Four Seasons Resort Vail, and Hotel Talisa.
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer. Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.