Long-time visitors to Vail ski resorts all have stories to tell about a celebrity sighting or two. There’s an elegant allure to certain ski towns (ie. Vail, Aspen and Whistler) that seems to attract the rich and famous, and it’s not unlikely to recognize a face in the crowd. They come for the world-class skiing and the beautiful location – and return again and again for the welcoming atmosphere of wonderful people in this little piece of Alpine paradise. This means prime setting for you to take your People Watching game to the next level.
Veterans of the Vail slopes know that many of the public buildings and parks are named after such early patrons as President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford – who considered Beaver Creek to be a second home. But they weren’t the only commander-in-chief family to frequent the resort. In February of 2011, residents and visitors were surprised to see an influx of government-plated SUVs and suited men wearing translucent ear buds. Some few witnessed First Lady Michelle Obama and her children on the ski lifts surrounded by Secret Service agents.
While Aspen is one of the top celebrity hot-spots in the Rockies, its reputation might just be second to Vail, according to professional celebrity trackers. In just the past year, eyewitness sightings have positively identified a large range of celebrities, including George Clinton, Jay-Z, Donald Trump, Katy Perry, and Al Gore – as well as Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz popping into Los Amigos for some Mexican food and waiting in line like everyone else. Ultimately, Aspen is for those who wish to be seen while Vail offers a better chance at mingling with the celebrities.
Not just flash and glamour, celebs are real people who enjoy the Rocky Mountain glory of Vail as much as the rest of us! And some of their popular hangouts include Toscanini in Beaver Creek and Restaurant Kelly Liken – famous for its incredible American cuisine among civilians and celebs alike – and one of the finest restaurants in Vail. The après-ski scene gets going at Garfinkels or The Red Lion and later in the evening spills into Sanctuary and the Euro-chic Samana Lounge. Odds at spotting a familiar face are fairly good.
Whether you are looking for an endorsement or just want to bring home a celebrity sighting story of your own, Vail is a veritable magnet for famous visitors. Don’t hesitate to ask the friendly locals who’s in town, check out the celebrity hangouts, and be sure to visit Vail and Beaver Creek at the right time of year. Chances are, you’ll spot a rare catch to add to your tally in the wonderful game of People Watching.