I spent a long weekend in Vail, Colorado, a charming ski town a couple of hours outside Denver. My boyfriend and I rented a house with a bunch of his friends from high school and it was quite the party I must admit! Imagine lots of fireside games, cocktails, and hot tub dips after day trips to the mountain. As a very beginner skier I didn't have the easiest time navigating Vail mountain, but I will say my performance starting out was way better then later! I think after lunch, and a generous glass of champs, I really psyched myself out and became super fearful. To the point at which my very patient and gracious boyfriend suggested he carry my skis while assisting me slide on my bottom down a steep hill. I didn't cry but let's just say I had a "Monica moment". That's one step before a "Monica meltdown", to be clear. But aside from that I truly did enjoy my time skiing, lounging, aprè-ing (aka my new favorite sport). This post won't truly serve as a thorough guide to Vail, but it will have some useful info, like where to sip the most fabulous hot chocolate after a long day in the snow, or start one. Enjoy. 

I am not an avid skier by any means but the group I was with all were. I only went one day to Vail mountain and thoroughly enjoyed myself until my aforementioned mini mountain meltdown. I must say the views were beautiful and the customer service excellent. I loved the mid-vail cafe with tons of options including a full bar and ramen! Aside from Vail, the group headed to Beaver Creek and Copper. Beaver Creek seemed to have the most beautiful views on the runs along pretty ski homes and warm chocolate chip cookies served at the bottom of the mountain! SO sad I missed that!

We rented a house off airbnb which I would highly recommend as an option if you're a large group or family, the one we rented was perfect with a fireplace, hot tub, views of some very pretty snow covered trees, a lofted ceiling and a very wintery home feel. It wasn't ski-in, ski-out but it was a super close drive to Vail Village and Lionshead. There are lots of fabulous hotels in Vail like The Four Seasons Hotel and Residences and The Sebastian, but I must say my favorite was Sonnenlap Hotel. It's extremely charming and evokes the same feeling as all the chic European ski towns along the Swiss Alps. I spent a good amount of time there on the second ski day, after deciding to take it easy and rest my very sore muscles and explore Vail Village. I started with a delicious breakfast at the very cozy Ludwig restaurant before heading to the spa. Apart from a classic steakhouse, this is the type of place you'd imagine heading to for a rustic mountain feel, perfect for a romantic candlelight dinner and a big cozy sweater. After breakfast I headed to the beautiful spa which I would highly recommend paying a visit to if you are into spas or fell one too many times on the mountain the day before!! Like at most hotel spas, I purchased a day pass to enjoy the facilitates and I'd recommend it since resort treatments tend to be so expensive. Since I've gotten older I've started to appreciate relaxation so much more and this was a great spot to do just that. The facilities are beautiful with two outdoor hot tubs and views of the mountains/snow covered trees, an indoor pool and hot tub, sauna, steam room, full bar/lunch service and my favorite, a beautiful fireplace to sit around and lounge in. I brought a book, magazine and my iPad for some light reading around the fire and ordered a champagne cocktail in my soft robe; so basically heaven.

Since we rented a house, everyone pretty much ate on the slopes during the day and cooked together at night, but I was able to scout out some good spots on my day exploring Vail Village, and with the extensive restaurant research I always do before every new city I visit. We all grabbed yummy breakfast sandwiches at Les Delices De France in Lionshead and the whole menu looked great to me, they even had stacks of caviar jars just waiting and mounds of cheese and charcuterie for the afternoon rush. I also had a delicious breakfast at Ludwig's at Sonnenalp Hotel, which was great but is more popular for dinner. For sushi/Japanese I loved Sushi Oka in Vail Village and they have hibachi grills for large groups which would be really fun. Other restaurants I did not get a chance to try but heard a lot of good things about are Sweet Basil, La Bottega, Game Creek Club, Matsuhisha, and Campo de Fiori

My hands down favorite drink was also one too rich for me to make a dent in, but worth it for the warmth and obvious instagram opportunity. The "world famous" hot chocolate at The Four Season's Remedy Bar was at the top of my list and I can honestly say it didn't disappoint. The only problem is I haven't really drank hot chocolate, or straight sugar, in some time so despite my added shot of Bailey's I was pretty overwhelmed with all the sweetness. It was however, quite an experience and so I recommend getting one and sharing. The Remedy Bar had a really great setup with outdoor fire pit tables and a wide selection of drinks and snacks to munch on by the fire, with an incredible view of the mountain. Another good spot for a decadent hot chocolate is at The Sebastian. Other aprés ski spots are The Red Lion, Root and Flower, and Bart & Yeti's.

I am certainly no expert in appropriate ski-wear, I take my inspiration from Slim Aaron's photographs in Gstaad, but I do know what's cozy and cute in cold weather. I love any uniform that involves wearing cashmere sweaters with leggings all day and unfortunately I couldn't find anymore après ski logo sweaters available, but keep your eye out for any leftovers at H&M, where I found my cute red one! I'd also recommend a furry scarf and a knit hat for extra warmth, something I have tended to forget about living in Los Angeles! Other cute essentials below. 

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