Why You Should Travel During Shoulder Season

What’s the shoulder season, you ask? It’s the time between high and low seasons in the travel market. In spring in Colorado, it’s often referred to as “mud season” in the mountainsthe time after the slopes close but before the summer crowds arrive. In the fall, however, it’s the short time between the leaves dropping and the ski resorts opening.

I know a lot about traveling during this time because both my birthday and my husband’s birthday are during the fall shoulder season. Why is this a good time to travel? There are fewer people traveling which means less traffic on the road, and it’s a great time to get deals on lodging and dining.

Here are a couple of fall shoulder season itineraries I’d recommend.

Photo courtesy of East West Destination Hospitality


Book a two, three or four bedroom condo at Vail Spa in Lionshead, the west part of Vail, Colorado. In 2016, this property underwent a 10 Million Dollar renovation which included a full exterior remodel and upgrades inside as well including a facelift to the inside and outside pool areas. Today, it’s a contemporary, first-rate property and we enjoyed our stay there last spring.

Lionshead is a quiet area of Vail, but hop on the free bus and within minutes you’ll be enjoying the hustle and bustle of Vail Village. We think Lionshead offers the best of both worlds.

Vail has become a foodie town, and if you don’t want to break the bank but want to eat all the things, many of the town’s fine restaurants run spectacular specials during the shoulder season. Participating restaurants including places like La Tour Restaurant, Elway’s Vail, Flame at the Four Seasons, and my personal favorite, Terra Bistro. Book ahead because locals love these shoulder season specials and they tend to fill the seats during these few weeks.

Keep an eye on VailDaily.com for a comprehensive list of all shoulder season specials in the Vail Valley.

Note: Plan your shoulder season trip to Vail ahead of time because some of the restaurants shut down for a week or two during off season.


Check into Hotel Aspen and settle into your modern, yet cozy room. Enjoy a dip in their fabulous hot tub and heated pool and don’t miss out on their complementary Apres Ski happy hour served daily in the Great Room.    

Hotel Aspen and their sister hotel, the Molly Gibson, include many amenities in your stay, such as Apres Ski and a complimentary breakfast, making them an affordable option in this luxurious Colorado town.

While in town during shoulder season, indulge in one of Aspen’s fine dining establishments at deeply discounted prices. Restaurants offering specials in the past include the famed Justice Snow’s, Belly Up Aspen and Asie. Keep an eye on EatAspen.com for a list of 2017 fall specials, coming soon.


Book a room at the brand new Residence Inn by Marriott. Take in the breathtaking views from their pool deck and chow down every morning on their massive breakfast buffet that’s included with your stay. It’s one of the best free breakfasts buffets that we’ve encountered on our travels.

Grab a Breckenridge Dining Passport for just $10 (available fall and spring) and enjoy specials at many restaurants and bars around town. Passports are available for purchase at participating restaurants and the Breckenridge Welcome Center. Each passport is valid for two people. Learn more at BreckRestaurant.org.


Categories: The Heidi Guide