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Image: Steve Sunday

It’s summer in the Vail Valley and, as the old adage goes, “Winter is why we came here, but summer is why we stayed.” And thus far, things bode well for this summer.

For one thing, this is the first summer in several years that Vail doesn’t look like a garden of sprouting construction cranes. Alas, the so-called Vail “renaissance” is over, the plan having been successfully completed. Many of the less conspicuous projects designed to enhance and update Vail’s allure were finished during the last several years (e.g., renovated hotels, underground delivery systems, slopeside plazas, heated walkways and streets, more flower displays and, of course, numerous mountain upgrades). But the most obvious projects—those with all the cranes—are now coming to fruition.

Solaris, possibly the most ambitious building project ever attempted in Vail Village, had the wrappings lifted from its exterior last spring to reveal an intricately detailed mountain motif that cleverly belies the structure’s size. Better yet, the luxury condominium development offers locals and visitors a bevy of public amenities, including a tri-plex cinema, a 10-lane bowling alley (a first for Vail), a two-tiered shopping center, three restaurants, a multi-use public plaza ... all of which should add an injection of vibrancy and family activity to the heart of Vail Village.

Then there is the Four Seasons Resort at the entrance to Vail (on the site of an old Holiday Inn), which also shed its sheaths to reveal what should become one of the village’s most prestigious addresses when it opens next winter. And in Lionshead, the slopeside Ritz-Carlton, set to open by winter, adds yet another distinctive landmark to Vail’s landscape.

But the outdoors is the heart of the Vail Valley experience, and in this issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine readers will discover an abundance of exciting yet accessible backcountry adventures. We begin with an exclusive, and enticingly rugged, four-day pack trip from Vail to Aspen. This one has it all: the grandeur of the Rocky Mountain backcountry, the horses, nights at huts and ranches, gourmet meals and camaraderie, all of which is vividly recorded in Stephen Lloyd Wood’s “Peak Experience.” 

But we’re just getting started. The valley also offers dozens of exceptional and distinctive hikes for every ability level, as we learn in Joy Overbeck’s “Over the Top.” From picnic and wildflower hikes to historical and demanding backcountry adventures, they’re all here to enjoy.

Another appealing aspect of summer in the Vail Valley is alfresco lunching on one of our many gorgeous restaurant decks. Writer Tom Boyd took on the arduous task of experiencing and selecting the best of the best of these sun-drenched sanctuaries. Get the inside scoop in Boyd’s “Alfresco at Altitude.”

In Panache, our ongoing arts and entertainment section, we discover the valley’s explosion of children’s summer arts programs—they’re educational, of course, but also immensely entertaining. We also marvel at the unique beauty of jewelry artist Pamela Froman’s internationally acclaimed collection, a selection of which she has graciously donated for the Connoisseur’s Trail charity auction Labor Day Weekend.

These are but a few of the features and departments we hope will provide a colorful insider’s view of life in the Vail Valley in this edition of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine. We welcome you to the Vail Valley and look forward to seeing you for many years to come.

Have a wonderful summer season!

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