Vail in the Off Season

During the winter months, Vail is the place for the glitterati, where Kate Moss and Tom Cruise rub shoulders, as Donald Trump and Martha Stewart make deals in the chalets. However, there are many things to do in this mountain side city, beyond pounding down the slopes dodging snowboarders.

The Los Angeles Times has 5 things to do in Vail in the off season:

1 Shop. The village teems with galleries, jewelry shops and specialty stores such as the Swedish Clog Cabin and Scotch of the Rockies, which features dog-themed gifts and jewelry. On the final weekend in October, the Vail Ski and Snowboard Club holds its annual Ski Swap sale of new and used equipment from individuals and vendors looking to pare down last year’s inventory.

2 Park it. No cars are allowed in the center of quaint Bavarian-style Vail, but there’s free parking in a massive garage. Detractors call the village more a theme park than a civic center, but hey, parking at Disneyland costs $10.

3 Take a hike. Hiking is one of the few activities, besides parking, that’s free in ritzy Vail. Trails start in or near town and meander through forests of golden aspens, whose leaves quiver at the slightest breeze.

4 Hit the links. Vail boasts dozens of fine courses. Options are as varied as Sonnenalp golf course, rated among the top 50 in the nation by Golf Digest, and the more budget-friendly public Vail Golf Course.

5 Save. Rates for most hotel rooms plunge precipitously between the summer festivals and the start of ski season. A standard room at the swank Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, which costs $529 in February, can be had for as little as $149 in mid-October. The Cascade’s top-end suite is $349 next month, almost a $500 discount from ski season.

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