November - April
Peak season in the mountains usually means the winter season, focusing on the holidays (Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Presidents’ Day, Spring Break). While these are great times to visit for many people’s schedule, adjust your vacation time by a few days if you want to get some great deals and added perks.
During peak season, make arrangements between one month to six months in advance. If you avoid the major holidays, rates run from approximately $119/night to $899/night, depending on where you’re staying. Keep an eye out for packages, though: Many lodging properties offer a ski free/stay free package where an additional night of lodging and day of lift ticket is free with a minimum stay. In Vail, winter temperatures average in the teens for the lows, with daytime averages in the 20s and 30s. Vail sees more than 300 days of sunshine per year.
While the town is particularly crowded during this time of year, and restaurant reservations are a good idea, the peak time of year can be a great time to visit just for the sheer energy of the town. The outdoor spaces (including decks) are crowded, but it’s a great opportunity to meet new friends. For skiers and snowboarders, Vail in the winter can be a transcendent experience.
June - September
The locals have a saying: “I came for the winters, but I stayed for the summers.” In comparison to winter, the summer season could be considered off season. However, during holidays such as the 4th of July or Labor Day weekend, the town gets almost as crowded as it does during the winter. The benefits of visiting in the summer are considerable: Hotel rates are anywhere from 25-49% lower than in the winter.
The average daytime temperatures hover around 75 degrees, with the lows averaging around 45, and it’s dry, with little to no humidity. The weather can change quickly, though, so be sure to pack an extra layer. Summers in Vail offer an excess of outdoor activities, which can set people arguing about winter versus summer. Hiking, mountain biking, road biking, trail running, fly-fishing, paragliding, rafting, kayaking—there are all there to be explored in the summertime.
May - June; October/early November
The shoulder seasons in Vail offer a great opportunity to see the town and explore the area without dealing with crowds. While some stores and restaurants close in the off-season, many businesses do remain open. This is a great time to scout the free local paper, The Vail Daily
, to find deals for restaurants and spa services. Also, hotel rates are much lower than they are in winter or at the height of summer.
The weather can be tricky in the shoulder season—it’s been known to snow and stay cool (highs in the 50s) well into June. However, in the fall when the aspen leaves are changing, it looks like the mountain is made of gold. Priceless.