Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri October 30 2015

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | October 30, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    Epic Fun at Vail's Epic Discovery

    Epic Fun at Vail's Epic Discovery

    All photos by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

    Colorado's Vail Mountain conjures up images of skiing, snow and frosty hikes, but I recently discovered that this alluring resort town offers much more than winter weather adventures. Despite its iconic Christmas card beauty, Vail is just as striking in warmer months, with lots to do. I sampled Vail's Epic Discovery attractions, including a climb to the Game Creek Deck and Lookout Tower, an aerial ropes challenge course and tubing.

    Landing among the sweeping vistas of Vail Mountain was a totally different experience for me. The altitude made me slightly dizzy and the sight of green valleys and mountain flowers everywhere I looked was exhilarating. The rustic elegance of The Lodge at Vail was my headquarters, located at the foot of the mountain. I roamed around Vail Village, which is filled with the Alpine charm of a Swiss town, and acclimated myself to the wonderful wilderness.

    My first morning, we headed to the Adventure Ridge activity center by hopping a gondola up to the top of the mountain. The purpose of the Epic Discovery program is to connect families with mountain and forest activities that promote environmental awareness. Gazing out at the mountain from the windows of the gondola, I have to say that my awareness was definitely heightened. We spotted deer and a cheeky marmot sunbathing on a rock. As we glided higher and higher up the mountain, I felt my ears pop and my center of gravity shift. Stepping off the gondola, a sign announced that we had arrived at Eagles Nest, at 10,350 feet. Eagle's Nest is what they call the top of Vail Mountain and I set off to the lookout tower to glimpse the views.

    The sun blazes hotter that high up, and it seemed like it was pouring a golden cascade on the entire mountaintop. I was excited to see one of Vail's most famous peaks; the Mount of the Holy Cross, in a glorious panoramic scene. Named for the cross of snow that runs prominently down the peak, the mount is 14,000 feet high and is part of the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. I learned that the range stretches 100 miles throughout Colorado and is part of the Continental Divide.

    After taking in the soaring vistas, it was time to take on the aerial ropes challenge course. I have to admit, tackling ropes even higher than the 10,350 altitude wasn't on my favorite-things-to-try list, but my nervousness was buried in the detailed preparations for the course. We were suited up in a complex maze of harnesses and pulleys, topped with helmets before we were given the half hour “ground school” instructions.

    With the rope platform looming above us, we were shown how to unlock the ropes and attach ourselves to each line as well as how to adjust our bodies and rope in case we fell. Fun. The point is to use strength and skill to navigate from one obstacle to the next and since strength nor navigation are natural talents for me, I was not so thrilled to try it.

    But I climbed up and managed to literally walk a tightrope from one obstacle and then scale a swinging bridge to the next. After that, I was so dizzy that I went back down but I still felt a sense of accomplishment. My bragging rights were diminished a little when I spotted little kids smoothly walking the course a short while later, but since their tiny heights put them much closer to the ground than I was, I decided to discount their easy feat. All around Adventure Ridge, kids were bouncing on a giant trampoline, scaling a climbing wall and gliding on zip lines so they were definitely getting their fill of adrenaline.

More Colorado


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
Sandals Resorts: The 5-Star Luxury Included Resorts

Hotels & Resorts