By Eileen Ogintz

VAIL, CO — It’s never easy to find the right vacation digs for your family.

Will the kids share a bed (boys generally won’t).

How many bathrooms do you realistically need?

Pet friendly?

Is there a washer and drier in the unit? Nearby?

A pool? Hot tub?

Access to the beach? The slopes?

The problem when you are relying on the internet is that pictures don’t always tell the full truth and it can be difficult to understand the room configuration.

View from living room at The Antlers Vail
View from living room at The Antlers Vail

That’s why I was pleased to discover The Antlers at Vail –incidentally one of the more affordable options right in the resort—encourages guests to talk directly to their staff.

The condos here range from one to four bedrooms but they all are unique—the  one bedroom we have, for example, has a separate alcove with two bunk beds—perfect for a young family.  A two bedroom might have a queen bed plus a lofted bed in the second bedroom. Some units have fold out couches, but others don’t.

They all are well equipped with at least one balcony, a gas grill, gas fireplace and nice kitchen.  That’s not always the case in Ski Country—at one place we once stayed, not only did the oven not work but the shower door fell off. Really.

Bedroom at The Antlers Vail
Bedroom at The Antlers Vail

The Antlers at Vail also has just undergone a $5 million renovation with a spacious new lobby hang-out area. The guest suites have Vail Valley’s highest platinum ranking. The space is great for après ski wine and cheese and for kids to spread out.

There is a new Saturday breakfast and home-made soup to go from the chef who can provide dinners for those who prefer not to cook.

I especially like the ski valet: In the morning, your skis are waiting at the Lionshead base next to the Gondola, at the end of the ski day, you drop your skis or snowboards there and walk down the path back to your home-away-from-home. Nice!

A ski school class working hard near Vail Village
A ski school class working hard near Vail Village

It has been dumping snow since we got here. “Wasn’t it a great day!” a woman asked us.

Truth be told, I prefer blue skies and better visibility, but most of the skiers and riders today were enjoying all the fresh powder—and all of the places to ski–5,317 acres of skiable terrain including Vail’s famous back bowls with over 3,000 acres. Three are also free frontside mountain tours, free Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin tours; free Women’s Winter Adventures tours every Monday and Friday at 10:30 a.m.; free tours for seniors on Monday mornings, and Legacy Tours every Thursday focusing on the history of the resort and how runs got their name.

Lunchtime at the 2Elk Restaurant on the top of Vail Mountain and the Legendary Back Bowls
Lunchtime at the 2Elk Restaurant on the top of Vail Mountain and the Legendary Back Bowls

Take “Lost Boy.” Apparently a boy named Marty Koether,14, accidentally skied into the not yet developed Game Creek Bowl in 1964 (Vail was founded in 1962 and the Game Creek Bowl area opened many years later). He spent a chilly night at the bottom of the bowl where the lift is now located, climbing out the next morning when he was found by Ski Patrol. The incident became part of the mountain’s folk lore and the run was named Lost Boy in his honor.

That’s the thing about Vail—sure it attracts tourists from around the world. We hear many languages on the mountain, in fact. But there are also plenty of locals and old timers here for the legendary slopes.

Now if only we get a little more visibility on the mountain.