Don't be surprised if you find yourself short of breath in Vail while climbing a small set of stairs or carrying your skis to the car. It's the air, not you. Because Vail is so high up in the mountains, the air is pretty thin and can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, and frivolous money expenditures.
Vail is not a cheap place to hang. Although slightly less so than its bigger brother Aspen, Vail still keeps up. It's hard to find cheap eats anywhere in Vail while trying to avoid the fast food genre. Prices are notoriously high on the slopes. For things like hamburgers and tuna sandwiches, you will pay upwards of 8 bucks!
But overspending can be curbed, even in a notorious glitzy skiing town like Vail. Many hotels offer a free continental breakfast. Go for the glory! Stock up on muffins and coffee for free. Why not?
If you are staying in a condo instead of a hotel, why not buy the stuff to make your lunch. If you are planning a day skiing, boarding, or sledding, pack a bag full of sandwiches (minus the mayo), apples, granola bars, and bottles of water or juice. You can bring a backpack with you and just have your lunch on the mountain without spending a near fortune for soggy french fries.
Dinner is always a good time to splurge, especially in a place like Vail, which offers so many fine choices. Blu's and Bully Ranch are both family friendly and won't bite you in the wallet too hard. If you are looking for romance and something a little finer than home-style cooking, try Sweet Basil. It truly is the best restaurant in Vail. Beware: This restaurant is NOT cheap.
Ask your hotel concierge about Dine About Vail. This is a program that runs in the winter. Many of the restaurants participate and offer three-course meals for $15 or five-course meals for $30 dollars. It's a great way to try some of the best Vail has to offer without spending all your cash.