Adventure Activities in Vail - Try if You Dare

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Adventure Activity Vail

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With its rushing rivers, towering peaks and steep mountainsides, Vail, Colo. naturally attracts those looking for daring and adventurous activities. There are dozens of ways to get your heart pounding in and near this internationally renowned ski-resort area, so check out some of the best.

Here are five off-the-wall pursuits anyone seeking an adventure activity in Vail must try:



1. Ski naked


Vail's ski season lasts well into the spring. Come April, the temperatures begin to rise, the snow on the slopes begins to soften, and the skiers and snowboarders celebrate the impending end of the season by shedding layers. It's fairly common to see women sporting bikinis and men wearing little more than swim trunks on the final days of the ski season. But if you really want to participate in a daring adventure activity in Vail, do what three-time Olympian Sarah Schleper did: ski naked. In 2000, Schleper, who grew up in Vail, made headlines in local papers when she and a friend decided to ski Vail's Back Bowls completely topless. "The Vail Trail" ran a picture of Schleper's deed - albeit with a strategically placed black bar to keep the paper family friendly - much to the ire of her sponsors. Just be sure to plan for the event; you don't want to end up like the unlucky skier who lost his pants while riding a Vail chairlift in 2009.


2. Compete in the World Pond Skimming Championship


Somehow, Vail adventure enthusiasts and ski executives have managed to make the best of the usually slushy and watery snow conditions that mark the final days of the ski season in April. Each year, the city celebrates the pools of water that collect at the bottom of the ski slopes by hosting the World Pond Skimming Championship. Contestants are encouraged to don their wildest threads and risk life and limb by barreling down a ramp toward a 100-foot pond. The stated goal is to skim farther than anyone else across the water, but spectators are more likely to remember you by what you wear (or don't wear) than by how far you go. Pond skimming is sure to take your Vail travel adventures to a whole new level!


3. Order up Rocky Mountain Oysters


Vail and its surrounding valley may be best known as a luxurious ski resort, but its roots are agricultural. Every year, Vail Valley residents pay homage to this past at the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo, usually held in late July. If you really want to delve into a piece of the Old West (and test your daring side), be sure to hit up the fair's annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed. From the uneducated view, a Rocky Mountain oyster looks like little more than a fried chicken finger. To many, it tastes like fried chicken, too. But underneath that salty, crispy crust, there actually lurks a bull testicle. Tickets for the annual dinner, which benefits local 4-H programs, are $15 for adults. Belly up, cowboys and cowgirls.


4. Do some Ski Joring


Too tired to push yourself across the slopes? Perhaps it's time to engage in a little ski joring along the slopes in Vail. While this outdoor adventure activity seems quaint: put on some skis, attach some ropes to a dog or a horse and let them pull you across the snow. In fact, only competent skiers who feel the need for speed should consider letting man's best friend set the pace. You can purchase gear from a variety of outfitters or bring your own horse to the annual Leadville Horse Ski Joring Championships, held in early March.



5. Indulge in Corn Fungus


Huitlacoche, which is corn blackened by an invasive fungus, first popped up in a Vail Valley Mexican restaurant called Agave in the mid-2000s. It's since made appearances on the ever-changing menus of several of Vail's premier restaurants, but it's a mainstay at Agave. Often called the Mexican truffle, huitlacoche (also spelled cuitlacoche) is considered a delicacy, and fans say it tastes sort of like a mushroom. That being said, it takes an adventurous spirit to try, as the swollen, jelly-like, brown kernels are far from the most appetizing food on the menu.

Agave
Phone: 970-748-8666
Address: 1060 W. Beaver Creek Blvd
Avon, CO 81620

Vail's ski season lasts well into the spring. Come April, the temperatures begin to rise, the snow on the slopes begins to soften and the skiers and snowboarders celebrate the impending end of the ski year by shedding layers. It's fairly common to see women sporting bikinis and men wearing little more than swim trunks on the final days of the ski season. But if you really want to make an impact, do what three-time Olympian Sarah Schleper did: ski naked. Schleper, who grew up in Vail, made headlines in local papers when she and a friend in 2000 decided to ski Vail's Back Bowls completely topless. The Vail Trail ran a picture of Schleper's deed -- albeit with a strategically placed black bar to keep the paper family-friendly -- much to the ire of ski company exec. Just be sure to plan for the event; you don't want to end up like the unlucky skier vail-skier-left-hanging-upside-down-and-half-naked/who lost his pants while riding a Vail chairlift in 2009.

Tamara Miller is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon.

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