Here’s a trend we like: Skiers can now enjoy as good a meal on-hill as off. That’s certainly the case at The 10th, Vail’s new on-mountain restaurant, located at Mid-Vail. The restaurant’s name, of course, is a tribute to the famous 10th Mountain Division, which fought in Italy in World War 11. The 10th’s ski troopers—many of whom, including Vail founder Pete Siebert, went on to establish the American ski industry—certainly would rather have pulled up a chair here than dig into their K-rations.
The food at The 10th is spectacular; in fact our lunch was far better than the dinner we had at a Vail village steak house the previous evening. More important—at least for parents—The 10th is kid friendly, which isn’t all that common on-hill.
How do you get your kids to eat their vegetables? Make them the first food to hit a table of hungry young skiers. Brilliant. (And a trick I’m going to try at home.) The 10th serves three-course kids meals, the first of which is veggie sticks with dressing. The main course is gourmet comfort food: chicken pot pie, mac-n-cheese, PBJ with strawberries and bananas, pizza, burger and fries and such. The mac-n-cheese entrée and the burger plate were both hits with the kids. Best yet, the third course is dessert: a mini chocolate milk shake and a homemade doughnut. Enough said.
The adult fare is delicious without being too fussy or earnest for an on-mountain restaurant. And the service is relaxed, but not too leisurely. You do want to return to the hill, after all. The menu offers a nice variety of options, from traditional hearty skier fare to lighter salads and seafood. The spicy Rosen Ranch lamb chili with smoked green chiles and Humbolt Fog chevre will power the second half of your ski day, as will the grilled sharp cheddar on brioche with bacon and heirloom tomatoes. Want to stay light on your boards? Try the Cook Shack Cobb salad, with sage-roasted chicken, smokey blue cheese, egg and avocado.
If deep powder beckons outside, there’s an express menu offered in the bar area, which seats 60. Even better: Have a late lunch after the snow is tracked out. The 10th serves from 11–2:30 pm. Done for the day? The wine list and the S’mores deep chocolate sundae encourage lingering.
The 10th is open for lunch all week. Reservations are recommended, as skiers tend to settle in and swap ski tales, though the staff does a good job of handling walk-ins. The doors open at 9 am for hot drinks and pastries. But we do recommend lunch. The commute will be even easier when the Vista Bahn is upgraded to a gondola next season, allowing The 10th to open for dinner.
There are some nice touches for skiers throughout, such as slippers for tired feet and sunscreen for fried faces. And the kids receive a package of twistable wax Wiki Stix to distract them at the table, a creative change of pace from crayons and a kid’s placemat.
We did discover one drawback to fine on-mountain dining with kids: It sure is tough to get those leftovers back down the hill. —Greg Ditrinco