After the snow melts, Vail heats up with sports, arts

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Vail Valley flowersVail may be the town that skiing and winter sports built, but the famed Colorado resort woos warmer-weather vacationers with attractions and distractions in spring, summer and fall, as well, from outdoor sports and activities to culture and cuisine.

The resort area, founded in 1962, is currently undergoing a $1 billion refurbishment. Hotels, spas, restaurants and shops, along with community facilities, are being modernized. Investments have also been made in three new accommodations venues: Vail Plaza Hotel & Club, One Willow Bride Road and RockResorts' Arrabelle at Vail Square.

Sports at the summit

Spiffed up and shined, Vail is gearing up to welcome international sportsmen and -women this summer. Scheduled world-class competitions include:

The seventh annual Teva Mountain Games will take place June 4 to 8 and will include the first Bouldering World Cup climbing event to be held in the U.S. in 20 years. Games athletes will compete in eight sports and 10 disciplines, including kayaking, paragliding, fly fishing, bouldering, mountain biking and road racing.

In addition to sports, the games will include a photography competition, live music, exhibitions and "mountain lifestyle" parties.

Professional cyclers will tackle the Rocky Mountains in the 2008 Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic, to run Aug. 22 to 24 in the Vail Valley. The three stages of the event are a 135-mile road race to Beaver Creek Village, an eight-mile circuit of Vail Village and a 10-mile time trial up Vail Pass.

Other scheduled sporting events include La Sportiva Vail Mountain Trail Running Series, Vail and Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series, Vail Lacrosse Shootout and the KickIt 3v3 Soccer Rocky Mountain Regional, which draws some 4,000 spectators annually.

Off-season specials

Resort operator Vail Resorts has crafted a couple of packages to encourage and broaden bookings in spring and summer, when the valley typically tends to draw a more upscale demographic.

SPA'D at Vail: Available in May, this wellness weekend getaway includes two nights' lodging, a spa treatment, dinner and a yoga or Pilates class.

Vail at $81.50: For the third year running, Vail Resorts is offering meals, accommodations and activities at a rate of $81.50, which celebrates Vail's elevation of 8,150 feet above sea level. Perfect for couples or families, the low price is available at many Vail venues from Aug. 15 to Sept. 1.

Vail Resorts is also promoting other summer deals, including its Summer Escape Special, at participating resorts May 1 to Sept. 30; 20% off rates at Eagle Point, May through July; a 25% discount at Antlers at Vail, April through June; and the Stay and Play, a luxury golf package at Red Sky Ranch, May 9 to Oct. 19.

RockResorts International partnered with Vail Resorts to peddle their two-night, ecofriendly Give & Getaway working holiday package, available July 15 and Sept. 20 at the Arrabelle at Vail Square and the Lodge at Vail.

Guests participate in six-hour trail restoration projects in Colorado's White River National Forest, where Vail is located. They enjoy two nights' discounted nightly lodging and gifts such as a hydration backpack, work gloves, hand lotion and a free lunch.

Nightly rates start at $145 per person, per night, based on double occupancy.

For more information or to book the Give & Getaway package, visit www.rockresorts.com or call 888-FOR-ROCK (367-7625).

Rocky Mountain Playbill

Vail is gearing up for a host of cultural events this summer, including:

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival: Running June 25 to Aug. 2, the festival will feature the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, along with 50 other soloists and chamber musicians.

Other highlights include a cabaret evening with Andrea Marcovicci at the Vilar Performing Arts Center; a concert performance of the opera "La Boheme" by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Chorus; and Broadway Pops with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jazz aficionados should note that the 14th annual Vail Jazz Festival will run concurrently with the Bravo event from June 25 to Sept. 1. Special guest performers include the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

The Jazz at Vail Square free concert series debuts July 31 and continues on consecutive Thursday nights throughout August. See www.vailjazz.org.

The Vail International Dance Festival descends on the valley from July 27 to Aug. 10. Scheduled performances and events include the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Dance for $20.08, Ballroom in the Streets and Ballroom's Best.

Alpine accommodations

According to Vail Resorts, more than 100 new lodge units opened over the 2006-2007 winter season, with another 130 under construction and slated to open within two years.

New properties include Arrabelle at Vail Square, which debuted Jan. 5 as, according to officials, the first new luxury resort to open in Vail in more than a quarter-century.

The Vail Plaza Hotel & Club, on the site of the former Vail Village Inn, includes a five-star hotel, two restaurants and fractional residences.

For more on Vail, go to www.vail.com.

Kenneth Kiesnoski is Travel Weekly's Destinations Editor. E-mail him at [email protected].

 

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