I just returned from a lovely weekend in Vail with friends. Although most of our days were filled with skiing, après ski drinks and amazing dinners, we were able to squeeze in a bit of shopping time. Having grown up spending Christmases in Vail, I have become well-acquainted with the local shopping scene over the years. Gorsuch, The Golden Bear and Axel's are not only personal favorites, but are very much a part of Vail's identity. If you plan on visiting soon, be sure to keep these three on your radar!
1. Gorsuch - Truly a Vail landmark, Gorsuch was founded by Renie and David Gorsuch, former skiers on the 1960 U.S. Olympic Ski Team. They opened their Alpine-inspired lifestyle flagship in Vail Village in 1966 and now have eight locations, including stores in Aspen, Beaver Creek and Park City.
Brimming with luxurious European ready-to-wear suitable for the Alps or the Rockies, look for outstanding selections of Brunello Cucinelli and Etro for both men and women. They are also known for stocking traditional Austrian jackets and beautiful ruffled blouses that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere. Complete your look with a handbag from Bottega Veneta or Nancy Gonzalez and be sure to check out the unrivaled array of fur boots.
Their ski gear selection will have you hitting the slopes in style with the likes of Moncler, Bogner, Frauenschuh, Emilio Pucci and Canada Goose. From sleek neutrals with fur trim to shiny metallics and vibrant colors and prints, there is something to suit every skier's style.
We must not forget their fabulous home selection - take a walk downstairs and you'll be dreaming for a mountain home adorned in sumptuous furs, cashmere throws and rustic antlers.
The Golden Bear - The symbol of Vail Valley and a long-standing tradition, The Golden Bear opened in 1975 in Vail Village. The pièces de résistance are the Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear necklaces (pictured above). In addition to the beloved golden bears, they are known for beautiful pave diamond, hand-hammered gold and sterling silver jewelry.
The store has since expanded to include an abundant selection of home accessories and giftware including signature bear-embossed wine glasses, pewter trays and leather frames.
Axel's - Another family-owned gem, Axel's has been the standard of classic European elegance in the Vail Valley since 1990. Axel Wilhelmsen, who grew up in Norway, and his wife and children still travel to Italy to hand-select the finest merchandise for their shop.
Axel's is known for its exquisite selection of cashmere, sheepskin coats, hand-made European riding boots and cowboy boots and hand-engraved silver jewelry and belt buckles. Look for Italian designers such as Kiton and Boglioli and English John Lobb shoes, but note that the majority of clothing and accessories are actually designed in-house to better represent the unique Axel aesthetic. The fine craftsmanship, attention to detail and art of layering portrayed in this shop is truly unmatched.