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Five reasons to love Vail during off season
Not a bad view for the so-called "mud season." The Gore Range as seen from the Tivoli Lodge in Vail.
By Tom Boyd 

Five reasons to love Vail during off season

By Tom Boyd

April 21, 2009 —  Love it or hate it, Vail and Beaver Creek mountains have closed for the 2008-2009 season and offseason is here.

Some will feel a pang of sorrow seeing the chairlifts hanging stagnant above still-white slopes at the end of the season (or in this case, dusty-red snow left over from April’s dust storm) but others are liberated by the warmth of spring, the end of tourist season, and the heavy bustle of peak season is gone.

Count me in the latter group.

On a beautiful spring day, with temperatures soaring into the 60s, I strolled through Lionshead counting up the many reasons why I love this town during offseason, and here’s what I came up with:

1) Restaurant deals: This is a no-brainer, an obvious first choice for my list, especially as we reel through a deep recession. Locals know that our cuisine is among the best in the nation, but only in these muddy weeks of spring (and gray days of early winter) can we sup and sip while also enjoying all the great restaurant deals out there.

2) Shopping: Much like the restaurant deals, those shops which remain open often have killer deals. Case in point, as I cruised through Arrabelle today I stopped inside Arreisgado, where entire racks were on sale at bargain prices. Designer jeans, great shirts ... suddenly I'm feeling pretty cool in my vintage Broncos T-shirt and True Religion jeans.

3) Parking: Is free. Am I in heaven?

4) Mountains: Still have white-capped peaks, making for wintry skylines even as I kick back in my sideyard with an afternoon iced tea.

5) And the best of all: seeing friends and family. Friends and family, those lovely people we spend time with when we can, yet who seem so out of reach during the busy season.

In those pockets of time when one friend is free, the others are swamped. When I’m in the weeds, they’re free for a stretch. It seems all throughout the season I’ve missed seeing my sister and my nephew, my father and my friends, brother and mother, time and again and again.

On any given evening I can head into town, park for free, grab a lovely gift at a discount price, and re-connect with those I haven’t seen since about last October at a 2-for-1 dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.

Not bad.



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