There’s something quite peaceful about gazing from your hotel window at thick, powdery snow, watching skiers and snowboarders elegantly glide down the slopes, perfectly crisscrossing the mountain. While this has been one heck of a winter season for those of us in the northeastern United States, I found peace and tranquility early this winter at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, Colo. The sprawling resort near Vail is truly a winter wonderland.
Where to begin at Beaver Creek Resort is the real question. George Townsend first settled the area in 1881; in 1972 Vail Resorts purchased the land and began the process of building the modern-day resort, a combination of Western hospitality ideals and the sophistication and charm of European ski villages. The resort officially opened in 1980. Since its inception, it has hosted a number of winter events, including the World Ski Championships and the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup. The resort consists of three different on-mountain villages — Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead Village — near the quaint town of Edwards. It offers well-renowned ski and snowboard instruction, and its accommodation options range from condominiums and rental homes to hotels.
I stayed at The Osprey, a hotel owned and managed by Vail Resorts and the closest hotel to a chairlift in North America, essential to that peaceful view I so enjoyed from my guestroom window. It presented the perfect location for my planned activities, which included time on the slopes with my Ski School instructor, a snowshoe tour from the resort’s Nordic Center and time to wander the Beaver Creek pedestrian village.
Indulging in winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating can be tiring and tough on the muscles. I found a few options to de-stress during my time at Beaver Creek. My favorites? Luxuriating over leisurely, decadent meals at a number of Beaver Creek restaurants — dinners at Allie’s and Beano’s Cabin, accessible only via sleigh ride; delicious Italian at the village’s Toscanini; an on-mountain lunch at Spruce Saddle; and a warm, comforting dinner at Grouse Mountain Grill — and pampering at two nearby spas — The Bachelor Gulch Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch and Allegria Spa at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.
The natural backdrop of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains provides the perfect inspiration for the peaceful setting of the Bachelor Gulch Spa at The Ritz-Carlton. Ready for relaxation, I’d been on skis for the first time in 18 years the day prior, and a pesky foot injury left my calf muscles screaming from the ski boots. The spa’s signature Hot Toddy for the Body seemed the perfect remedy.
The treatment includes a scrub made of sweet almond oil, jojoba beads, shea butter, cinnamon and nutmeg, perfect for hydrating and eliminating dry patches and relaxing muscles. I didn’t realize from the menu’s description that the treatment included a Vichy shower; in between the scrub and a subsequent massage, my therapist — the first time I’d ever had a masseur — rinsed me from head to toe with a therapeutic stream of water from various showerheads. I must admit, it was a bit cold and damp being massaged on the same table where I’d just been rinsed, despite the changing of various towels and blankets. I think I might have preferred to switch rooms or tables for the second half of the treatment. Nonetheless, I felt my muscles loosen and some varying pains dissipate as my therapist massaged my legs and back.
Water also features at Allegria Spa at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. Upon my arrival at the spa, the receptionist gave me a comprehensive tour of the facilities, including the bright and comfortable locker room, and helpfully explained the Aqua Sanitas — “healing waters” — process. The ritual, inspired by ancient Roman baths, can be enjoyed by spagoers pre- or post-treatment. It begins with the thermae pool, temperate as a natural spring. The jetted co-ed pool raises core temperatures, increases circulation, boosts metabolism and relieves sore muscles. The second stop is the caldarium mineral pools. (The rest of the circuit is not co-ed.) Natural, healthy ozonation and salination systems purify the water. Step three, the cooling cascata rain shower, provides an invigorating transition from the heated pools. Next, the wintergreen-scented caldarium steam room’s total immersion recharges the senses. The circuit ends with the tepidarium. The contoured, heated loungers are perfect for taking in a quiet, serene moment. Afterward, I found myself drawn to the darkened relaxation area, where I enjoyed a cup of hot tea, some light snacks and a magazine.
My classic Swedish massage perfectly worked out those last remaining muscle kinks, especially since I’d spent the morning between spa visits snowshoeing. I was impressed when my therapist informed me the product she used — an oil blend of lavender, geranium and ylang ylang — was custom-made for the spa by a local woman. My 50-minute treatment wrapped up with a warm honey foot scrub.
Coming off an especially busy time at the office and heading full-speed into the winter season, I found my respite at Beaver Creek Resort provided the perfect, much-needed escape. The property offers a well-balanced blend of outdoor activities and more active pursuits with indulgent, relaxing options as well.
Looking for another warming (and sweet) touch while visiting Beaver Creek? Ski down to or strategically position yourself at the bottom of the mountain in Beaver Creek Village daily at 3 p.m., when staff sporting chef’s hats offer fresh-from-the-oven trays of chocolate chip cookies, a Beaver Creek tradition. Each year, a competition is held to find the most perfect cookie recipe, and opening day visitors vote for their favorite. The recipe with the most votes is the winning cookie for the ski season. Need I provide any more reasons to return to this winter wonderland year after year?
Beaver Creek Resort
26 Avondale Lane
Avon, CO 81620
tel 970 754 4636
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