Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My last turns of the season at the Taste of Vail

Where did the season go? Seems like I just got my skis tuned and readied for the long winter. And now it's spring!

This time of year, many resorts hold fun and sometimes zany shenanigans to keep the slopes filled until closing. The Taste of Vail is not one of them. Though spring skiing is a big draw, the annual food and wine fest is an event that stands on its own as one of the country's premier gourmet celebrations. An average of 5,000 foodies and wine geeks attend each year, raising around $20,000 for charities in the Vail Valley in Colorado. Read my story on last year's Taste here.

It didn't hurt that Vail Mountain received four feet of snow just prior to this year's 20th annual Taste April 8-10, making afternoon skiing just superb and the popular Mountaintop Picnic a solar spread of epic proportions. New this year were two on-mountain skiing sessions with chefs and vintners that participants could buy for $200 each. Added to the seminars and tastings was a fun session on aphrodisiac foods by Amy Reiley, author of Fork Me, Spoon Me. Guys: eat your watermelon!

The only complaint of the weekend: "the sky isn't as blue today as it was yesterday."

Due to the big late season dump, Vail expanded its terrain for closing week and its Spring Back to Vail celebration. Vail closes April 18. After that date, the only Colorado resorts to remain open are Echo Mountain, closing May 2 and Loveland and Arapahoe Basin (closing in May and June, respectively).