Winter evenings beneath the ski slopes of Vail have always had a magical air. Holiday lighting, hot cocoa, and uniting with friends and relatives after a day of exploring the mountain has been a treasured part of life here since the resort first opened in 1963.
This winter, the traditions can continue with a new winter walkthrough lighting experience: Magic of Lights Vail. Multi-colored lights and displays will highlight the natural majesty of Vail and will illuminate the imaginations of visitors as they wind through a nearly half-mile winter wonderland in the Ford Park Lower Bench area and Betty Ford Alpine Gardens east of Manor Vail and west of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.
The display features more than 500,000 low-impact LED lights, and offers a safe, physically-distanced activity during the pandemic, but is likely to bring joy to Vail locals and visitors for years to come.
“This will be an uplifting and inspiring display, and we expect that children will not be the only ones dazzled by this very creative and illuminating experience,” said Dave Chapin, Mayor of Vail. “It’s a perfect activity before or after dinnertime, after a day of skiing or snowboarding, or as a destination activity all its own.”
The event is hosted by Vail Valley Foundation Events in partnership with FunGuys Events, which have hosted similar Magic of Lights displays across the United States and Canada.
The event winds, in part, through the renowned Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, known for its alpine horticulture, education and conservation.
“Most of our visitors come in summertime, and in daytime, but this his is a unique opportunity to see these beautiful botanic gardens at night in the winter season,” said Nicola Ripley, Executive Director of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.
Hot cocoa, non-alcoholic drinks, adult beverages, small snack items and other concessions will be available near the entrance. Visitors may purchase a beverage to take along with them on the tour.
Special activations, such as live ice sculpture carvings, special appearance by avalanche dogs will add to the experience on certain dates throughout the 40+day run.
How to get there: Guests will enter the venue by following the Town of Vail sidewalk east toward Manor Vail, or taking the in-town bus to the Golden Peak stop. Walk across the street, down the main driveway entrance of Manor Vail Lodge and head straight to the opening between the buildings toward the lighted covered bridge and into the Ford Park Lower Bench area.
Timing and tickets: The event will operate in one-hour segments, beginning at 4 p.m. and continuing through the evening (9 p.m. most nights and 10 p.m. on special evenings). Capacity is limited, please purchase tickets in advance at MagicOfLightsVail.com to reserve your spot.
If you go…
What: Magic of Lights Vail
Where: Ford Park Lower Bench
Dates: Dec. 11-Jan. 24
Times: 4–9 p.m. nightly (subject to change)
Cost: Tickets start at $5 for Children 3-12; $15 for Adults; Children 2-and-under are FREE
Tickets: Tickets available starting 11 a.m., Dec. 1, at MagicOfLightsVail.com
Info: Dress warm and wear winter-appropriate footwear
Magic of Lights Vail is graciously supported by the Town of Vail along with the following corporate partners: GMC, Arborjet-Ecologel, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Tincup Whiskey, Pacifico, Encore Electric, FirstBank, Crafters Union wine, BluSky Restoration Contractors, Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, Manor Vail Lodge, Sonnenalp, Polaris, US Bank, HBO Max, & Westword. Vail Valley Foundation Events and FunGuys Events sincerely thank all of our partners for supporting Magic of Lights Vail.