Vail's Back Bowls

Where to Refuel When Hunger Strikes

These on-mountain joints offer tasty bites in Covid-safe conditions.

December 15, 2020 Published in the Winter/Spring 2020–2021 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

Grilling meat at Belle's Camp


Image: Zach Mahone

At press time, Vail Resorts was in the process of upgrading its EpicMix smartphone app to include a guide to on-mountain dining options; find more information at

Want our skier-tested picks? One of Vail’s signature on-mountain restaurants, Two Elk Lodge, sits atop China Bowl, making it an excellent lunch spot that doesn’t require traveling a long distance from the Back Bowls. Like Vail’s other quick-serve options, Two Elk will be open daily for lunch, with reduced seating and capacity reductions (which, to anyone who’s ever fought the crowds at Two Elk, might sound kind of nice). Menu options will also be limited in order to reduce time spent ordering, and cash will be prohibited.

If you head over to Blue Sky Basin, Belle’s Camp (at the top of the Skyline Express lift) offers premade sandwiches, snacks, hot beverages, and, crucially, restrooms. The spectacular setting makes it the best option for a sunny-day pit stop. If you can stave off hunger until you’ve skied all of the bowls and are headed back west, Wildwood Smokehouse (which overlooks Sun Down Bowl at the top of the Game Creek and Wildwood Express lifts) serves much-deserved hearty fare such as pulled pork, ribs, and a delicious smoked chicken and wild rice soup. There’s a huge outdoor-seating area in front of the building with gorgeous views of Sun Up Bowl and the peaks beyond.

Many locals have always preferred to eat on the go, taking a “pocket lunch” and eating on the lift or in sunny spots between runs. Now more than ever, that seems like a terrific, socially distanced option. At the base area, pick up picnic provisions at Joe’s Famous Deli (on Bridge Street; or Les Delices de France (in Lionshead;

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