Taste of Vail Combines Spring Skiing with Gourmet Food and Drink




Spring is my favorite time of year to go skiing. In addition to warmer temps, the days are longer, which means more time for al fresco, apres-ski eating and drinking in the Colorado sunshine.


That’s why I always make a point of attending Taste of Vail, an annual fête that combines the magic of spring skiing in the Rockies with gourmet food and drink. Held every year at Vail Ski Resort, this April 3-6 festival should be on your spring bucket list whether you consider yourself a serious gastronome or more of a culinary novice—or somewhere in the middle.


Taste of Vail is now in its 32nd year. And, over the last three decades, the organizers of this epicurean celebration have dialed in the perfect mix of delicious and educational events, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Gore Range. Tickets to individual events at the festival start at $85, so you can pick and choose the ones that appeal to you most.


Courtesy of Zach Mahone


Learn how bartenders riff on classic cocktails, venture into the fascinating world of caviar (and learn how to do “bumps” off the back of your hand), chat with leading winemakers from across the country and feast on multi-course dinners prepared by esteemed chefs. There’s also a rosé-tasting event (where attendees are highly encouraged to wear pink), a friendly outdoor cookoff between 22 chefs and a variety of wine dinners and seminars.


The festival’s pièce de résistance, however, is the Mountain Top Tasting, which is held on the slopes at 10,350 feet above sea level. Ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola up or ski down to the outdoor tasting, which includes all-you-can-eat gourmet bites, plus beer, wine and spirits.


Courtesy of Zach Mahone


This year, Taste of Vail will feature its largest lineup of all-star chefs in its history: 22 from the Vail Valley and 17 guest chefs from across the United States and Mexico.


“The culinary talent at Taste of Vail this year is beyond anything we’ve ever had before,” says Angela Mueller, executive director of Taste of Vail. “We are beyond excited for our guests to experience a new level of culinary offerings at our event this year. We are continuing the evolution of Taste of Vail and hosting guest chefs from North America truly provides chefs and attendees with an exciting new element to Taste of Vail.”


Courtesy of Zach Mahone


In between all the food and wine, get in a few last turns before ski season winds down. Vail is the largest ski area in Colorado—and one of the largest in the world—with more than 5,300 acres of terrain to explore. The ski area hasn’t announced its official closing day for the season yet, but it’s usually sometime in mid-April, so the festival is a good excuse to plan one last wintry getaway. If you don’t already have an Epic Pass, lift tickets start at $229 per day when you buy in advance.


Courtesy of Zach Mahone


Hotel rooms are available throughout Vail Valley, but I recommend booking at the Sonnenalp, a classic Vail hotel with Bavarian ski lodge vibes. (No, seriously, it’s owned by a German family that also has a property in the Allgäu Alps.) It’s cozy and centrally located along the banks of Gore Creek, so you can park your car when you arrive and forget about it—it’s easy to walk or take the free bus everywhere in Vail.