Vail Mountain, CO, is Opening 2 High-Altitude Ice Bars

Nick DeRiso | | Post Tag for Industry NewsIndustry News
vail mountain ice bar
Vail Mountain’s original Ice Bar during the Winter of 1965 ski season. Photo: Vail Resorts

New for the ‘22/23 Season, Vail Mountain is planning to open two on-mountain bars sculpted out of ice and snow. In celebration of the resort’s 60th season, Vail is bringing back the high-altitude party spots for the first time since the 1960s. Vail pioneer Bill Whiteford built the original ice bar in February of 1965, during the resort’s third season in business. Skiers could swing by the original on-mountain hangout for pizza, pastrami sandwiches, milkshakes, crêpes, and, of course, their favorite adult beverage. 

Rumor has it, back in the day ski patrollers would swing by at the end of their shift to sneak a well-earned drink or two. Vail spokesman John Plack told the Denver Post, “They didn’t have anything to lock up the booze with. When patrollers were done with their sweep at the end of the day, they’d sneak behind the pile of snow and take a shot on their way down.” It’s safe to say they probably won’t have that opportunity nowadays as food and booze are sure to be locked up during off hours in nearby dining facilities.

new ice bars vail
Vail’s high-altitude bars sculpted out of ice and snow will make a comeback this season celebrating the resort’s 60th anniversary. Photo: Vail Resorts

The ice bars will be conveniently built at Eagle’s Nest and Wildwood, two of the resort’s on-mountain restaurants with panoramic views. Along with the open-air ice bars, Vail will also assemble plastic “igloos” backed with metal frames that guests can reserve to enhance their dining experience. However, menu selections are still yet to be determined. Regarding the construction of the high-altitude bars, Plack said, 

“Every time it snows, our groomers are going to get out there and re-sculpt the ice bar… Under the snow will be blocks of ice. They will build the bar out of snow, shave the top so it’s smooth and pack it down. Every time it snows, it will take on a little bit of a different look. It’s this really cool throwback to that first young entrepreneur who was like, ‘Vail doesn’t have a bar, I’m going to build a bar.’”

Vail’s 60th-anniversary celebration will kick off the weekend of December 15th, 60 years to the day when skiing first commenced at the mountain. Vail’s history dates back to March 19, 1957, when Earl Eaton and Pete Seibert made their first hike up Vail Mountain with the intention to create the world’s best ski resort. They opened on December 15, 1962, with a gondola, two chairlifts, and nine trails. Vail Mountain now operates 31 lifts, maintains 195 trails, and is highly regarded by winter enthusiasts around the globe.

New Ice-bars to be sculpted at Vail this season
Located at the top of Chair 3, The Wildwood Express, the Wildwood Smokehouse is an authentic BBQ Restaurant on Vail Moutain which will be home to a new ice-bar Photo: FourSquare

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