Just as every local has a go-to powder stash, the Dawg Haus’s discreet locale next to Chair 39 (Pete’s Express Lift) in faraway Blue Sky Basin makes it a lesser-traveled, no-fuss option to fuel up on heaping chili dogs and Gatorade between laps on a powder day—without having to elbow for a seat at the slopeside picnic tables (open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, 970-754-8425, vail.com).
If you find your mouth watering at the smell of hickory smoked brisket and baking cornbread at the top of Chairs 3 and 7 (Wildwood Express Lift and Game Creek Express Lift) as you savor the vista of our sole fourteener, Mount of the Holy Cross, you’re probably two things—hungry, and caught in the salivational pull of Wildwood Smokehouse, which serves up Southern-style portions of brisket smoked on-site, with sides of gooey mac and cheese and bricks of cornbread (open from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, 970-754-8425, vail.com).
To graze on the mountain like a local, load your pack (or pockets!) with Colorado Meat Company bratwursts from Avon’s artisanal butchery (970-470-4326, coloradomeatcompany.com) and make the trek out to Blue Sky Basin’s mountaintop picnic area, Belle’s Camp (located atop Chair 37, Skyline Express Lift), or any of Vail Mountain’s three grill-equipped DIY dining decks (like Henry’s Hut near PHQ, vail.com), where you can add your bounty to links sizzling on the communal grills, all equipped with cookware; just arrive before 2 p.m., shut-off time for the propane.
This is the place for ski-in, ski-out fine dining on Vail Mountain. Trade your ski boots at the door for a pair of cozy slippers, then feast on plates of 7X Wagyu carpaccio, bowls of steaming elk chili, and herb-roasted chicken and pheasant pot pie, or curl up in the cozy lounge area with a Super Snuggler (Godiva hot cocoa spiked with Rumple Minze); if you want to meet the rest of your non-skiing pack for lunch, no problem: the restaurant is a short stroll (for non-skiers in sensible footwear) from Gondola One at Mid Vail