Summer Resorts 2000¿Southern Rockies Vail, Colo.


A world-class resort that can be all things to all people, Vail continues to thrive as one of the best summer getaways in the mountains. With its wide range of outdoor activities, cultural events¿such as free concerts every Tuesday night at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (970-949-1999)¿sizzling nightlife and easy accessibility, it's no wonder tourists and locals love the Vail Valley all year long. Whether you're a novice fly-fisherman, a hardcore mountain biker, a leisurely hiker or a top-notch golfer, options abound. Hike up to 10,000 feet on any of the designated trails, or get there the easy way: via the Vista Bahn Express chair or Eagle Bahn gondola. Here you'll have access to more than 50 miles of mountain biking trails and Adventure Ridge's Activity Center (970-476-9090). For the younger visitor, the Adventure Camp (970-476-9090) offers a curriculum of rock climbing, rafting, fly-fishing and art workshops for kids ages 5-12. With the kids busy, parents can take a photography workshop (970-949-4997), visit the Betty Ford Gardens or enjoy a leisurely day hike to Piney Lake. Vail jumpstarts summer with the annual Jeep Whitewater Festival on Memorial Day weekend (May 27-29), featuring kayak and raft races on Gore Creek and the Eagle River plus expo booths, food and live music (970-479-1385), and sends it off with a raucous Oktoberfest celebration (Sept. 15-17). ¿M.A.

DON'T MISS A night-vision raft trip down the upper Colorado River with the Lakota River Guides (970-479-0779); $95 per person.

BEST DEAL The Full Foam Package, which is available during Oktoberfest, includes three nights' lodging at The Sitzmark in Vail Village and whitewater rafting for two on the Colorado River. Rates start at $199 per person. Call (800) 404-3535, or visit