Beaver Creek Report: Not Exactly Roughing It, Is Right.
Beaver Creek may be one of my bodies favorite and least favorite places on earth at the same time. On the one hand you are skiing for as long as you can possibly go in a day, AT LEAST five hours; and if that doesn’t kill your muscles then I don’t know what will. You are burning mad amounts of calories and parts of your body you don’t normally use.
On the other hand there is one of the best spas in the United States at your fingertips in the Beaver Creek Park Hyatt, wonderful food and a view and fresh air that is crisp and clean. As far as the Aspen area goes there are a lot of different vibes. Vail has more restaurants, more people and I think tends to be a little more 80′s yuppie, although it is SUPER pet friendly. Beaver Creek is elegant and laid back. It doesn’t lack in amenities, but it is a little less showy and more about having a good time in a more relaxed and less crowded area. But the nice thing is that skiing at Beaver Creek you also get access to Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead Village lifts, as well, and the villages are easy to get to. Beaver Creek is the perfect vibe. They have ice skating, family events, bars and restaurants all in the village.
As for staying there. I, ahem, have a great connection, a very very good friend whose family has a home in Beaver Creek. That in itself isn’t exactly roughing it. BUT if you don’t have that kind of access I highly recommend the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (which you can sometimes find on Jetsetter.com, you’re welcome). There are other places to stay that are also nice, but the Park Hyatt is right there and just amazing. The heated pool overlooking the slopes ain’t so bad, either.
Currently I don’t have skis and boots that I absolutely love, I need to trade them, and you don’t want to have to take skis all the way out and back so I recommend renting, if you have comfy boots you love take those, there are multiple places with different levels of skis to rent. If you can get your gear here in this area, off season at a good sale time, it will probably be cheaper. I tend to get mine in Garrett County when there are sales, I really like High Mountain Sports, they do a ski swap at Autumn Glory too. Out in Beaver Creek we rented from Gorsuch, which is a little pricier, but also tends to have a little better equipment rentals. They also had a super cool penguin hat I acquired.
As for eating, you definitely want to eat and drink early and often. This is not a time to watch calories because you burn so many and you are up in the elevation, so you need to keep hydrated. I am not a breakfast person, but I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks everyday. When you are on the slopes, definitely try to make it to Blinky’s at Arrowhead Village for a Blinky Burger. I was trying to eat as gluten free as I can and they had a phenomenal chili that I really enjoyed. Food in the cafeteria at Arrowhead Village ris really lacking.
If you can swing it a lunch at Beano’s Cabin is truly special. You come in take your boots off and enjoy some great snacks and cider or hot chocolate while waiting for your table. The kitchen has a wood burning oven and rotisseries on the wall. They have a menu with a ton of gluten free options too, clearly marked on the menu! This is not your normal ski food, it is a gourmet experience. I had lobster tacos one day and rotisserie chicken with potatoes and green beans the next with a wonderful reduction sauce. This was a long leisurely lunch but it gives you the energy to go the rest of the day.
Not too far away in Edwards, the Gashouse Restaurant has a great selection of game meats and seafood. It is a glorified bar, in the best of ways with a real local feel, animals on the log cabin walls and ski passes enameled on the bar. The food is top notch. We had the game platter, and even with the leaner meats everything turned out cooked exactly to the right temperature. Although the wait can be long, the menu is varied and the bar is comfortable, it is definitely worth the wait.
We were there over Valentine’s Day and we went to the Swiss Chalet in Vail for fondue. This place was chintzy in the absolute best possible way. Normally this food would be a little over the top rich, but after a long day of skiing you will not believe the food you can put away and then it is great. And they were really nice about being accommodating with my food needs, brought me extra veggies and etc.
Now after all that skiing what you need is a phenomenal spa, and the Park Hyatt has it- The Allegria Spa. Not only are the spa treatments top notch, but they have saunas, steam rooms, mineral pools and a tepidarium. The spa is really decorated nicely with a lot of water and stone, similar to the Nemacolin Spa, but a little more Colorado. The massage was really warm and they had just the right touch to soothe and relax your muscles without hurting those aching shins. It is a great place to spend an afternoon relaxing with friends.
As for ski slopes, Beaver Creek has a lot of lifts, it is well groomed and with the ability to move into other villages. They have some nice long runs with varying expertise levels. On holidays it gets crowded, like every ski resort, but catch it on an off weekend and ski all around the mountain and you can move through a lot of terrain. It also isn’t so big that you can’t separate from your group for a run or two and easily meet back up. It is a good size if you are with a group or family because you won’t get lost or end up too far from each other. Beaver Creek’s slogan really rings true, the whole trip I felt I was wellt aken care of and I just needed to concentrate on my form they took care of the rest. And it didn’t hurt that I had phenomenal hosts.
I don’t have a lot of pictures, but here are a few I do have: