Vail has never claimed to be cheap.  As the largest single ski resort on the continent with endless world-class amenities to boot, it doesn't have to be.  However, there are still a few freebies to be had and they aren't lame freebies either.  Here are some of our picks:

  • Vail Symposium's Unlimited Speaker Adventure Series - Inspiring to say the least!  This weekly series will take you around the world with intrepid explorers, daring activists and fearless voyagers who ignore the boundaries of geography and endurance.  Speakers this season include solo ocean rower Roz Savage, Legend of Ahhhs! ski film director Gregg Stump, Patagonia Ambassador and "Chicks with Picks" guide Kitty Calhoun, Travel Channel's Treasure Hunter host Kirsten Gum, adventure film director and producer Les Guthman and world-renowned adventurer and mountain guide Jeff Evans (photo from his bio below).  Thursdays at Donovan Pavillion through March.
  • Colorado Ski Museum's Vail's History on Skis - Vail Ski School instructor Kitty Gwathmey leads this intermediate guided tour while teaching the phases of Vail's development, information about its founders, trail name history, mountain range orientation and lots more fun facts.  Thursdays from 9:30am-1pm with a $5-10 donation recommended. 
  • Colorado Ski Museum's Life at Camp Hale - 10th Mountain veteran Sandy Treat provides a first-hand account of how the 10th Mountain ski troopers trained and survived at Camp Hale while preparing for World War II.  Fridays from 2:30-4:30pm with a $5-10 donation recommended.
  • Free Mountain Tours - Should you do the Mountain Welcome Tour or the Blue Sky Basin Tour?  How about both?  They are available every day on Vail Mountain.  Or if you belong to the more "mature" crowd, join the 50+ Tour on Mondays.   
  • Budweiser Street Beat Concerts - Select Wednesday nights throughout the winter at locations in Vail Village and Lionshead.  2009-10 season includes performances by The Wailers, Stockholm Syndrome, The Mother Hips, Cowboy Mouth, The Pimps of Joytime, Zivani Masango & Pachedu, Danielia Cotton & Thriller with DJ Logic.  Not only are the shows free, you can win awesome prizes, too!