Vail is opening two high-altitude bars sculpted out of ice and snow |

Vail is opening two high-altitude bars sculpted out of ice and snow

John Meyer
Denver Post
The original Ice Bar atop Vail Mountain made an appearance in 1965 during the resort’s third season. Vail is reviving the concept this winter with two ice bars, one at Eagle’s Nest and the other at Wildwood. Vail is marking its 60th anniversary in December.
Vail Resorts/Courtesy photo

This time, the ski patrol won’t be able to raid the booze stash.

Bringing back an amenity last seen when the Beatles were big, Vail will entice skiers and snowboarders with two “ice bars” high on the mountain this season. Sculpted out of ice and snow, the party spots will have full bars with limited food menus, and seating will be available.

Menu selections are still to be determined. Mountain managers are hoping to have the ice bars in place when Vail celebrates its 60th anniversary in December.

There are conflicting versions of how the first Ice Bar came to be, but both agree that Vail pioneer Bill Whiteford built the original in February of 1965, Vail’s third season. Skiers could drop in for pizza, hot pastrami, milkshakes, crêpes and, of course, booze. Legend has it that ski patrollers would drop in at the end of their shifts for a drink as well.

“They didn’t have anything to lock up the booze with,” said Vail spokesman John Plack. “When patrollers were done with their sweep at the end of the day, they’d sneak behind the pile of snow and take a shot on their way down.”

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