Every winter I plan for at least one ski/snowshoeing trip. I am thankful that here in the Pacific Northwest, we do not get much snow. I don’t want it. I prefer to go to the snow, enjoy it, and then leave it behind for the next person.
Last year’s trip was to the quirky town of Durango, Colorado. This year I was interested in more of a relaxed, unstressd ski vacation and I got exactly that at the Westin Beaver Creek, which was the perfect affordable luxury resort for my weekend getaway – think wine-themed cocktails, in-room fireplaces, world-famous spas, and the famous Westin beds and showers.
If you haven’t heard of Beaver Creek, you’re probably familiar with Vail, its next door neighbor – Beaver Creek is just another mile or two up the mountain. It’s a bit of a smaller town, and I think, cozier. Choosing between all the towns in this area is a story for another day (short answer: it is hard to go wrong); for now, let’s talk about Beaver Creek’s ski-spa-wine weekend experience, and why it’s a must for you.
Turning on the Fire, Turning Down the Stress
I was really ready for a break by the time I’d made it to Beaver Creek. This winter’s been very stressful with the relaunch of our brand, and I was very ready to relax when I made it to the hotel – if for no other reason than the drive was quite treacherous and it was a relief to be off the road! (Tip: if you don’t want to drive, and you don’t need to, then book a shuttle with Colorado Mountain Express. Best in the business.)
You might find it interesting that Beaver Creek is home to many of Colorado’s celeb residents. I’m not really into the who’s-who sightseeing; to me, the sight of a fresh glass of cava and a roaring fireplace in the Westin lobby was all the comfort I needed to kick start some downtime.
In addition to the classic Westin touches, like nice toiletries and concierge services, the Westin seems to have mastered being a ski hotel without any of the downsides of being a ski hotel. Skiers have their own warm room to drop snowy books and equipment, leaving the lobby clean and dry. Although the hotel does have a resort fee, considering it helps cover these types of amenities, as well as the Wi-Fi, it seems worth it to me. Unfortunately, you’ll still need to buy your own s’mores toast in the lobby fireplace.
A Run on the Slopes
Beaver Creek’s number of ski runs is astonishing, with lots of amenities, including food and drink, up on the mountain. The cost of lift tickets, not just here in Beaver Creek but across Colorado, has gotten pricey – it goes without saying to plan ahead and budget appropriately. At least you get what you pay for – the resort has a number of nice touches, like warming huts where you can take a break and warm up.
For this particular weekend getaway, I oped for a guided snowshoe tour (departs from the Nordic Ski Center), and was pleased to find that the resort has an entire “park” for snowshoers – and we were the first on the trails at 10AM! Despite the altitude, I managed a good pace, enjoying a fascinating conversation with my Swedish guide about detox diets and the state of the American economy. (Uh… you had to be there, I guess.)
Paying a Visit to the Knot Ninjas at Anjali Spa
After my morning snowshoe, I spent the afternoon warming up and unwinding at the Westin’s award-winning Anjali Spa. (Normally “award-winning” marketing-speak annoys me, in this case it is well-deserved.) I cannot more highly recommend their signature treatment, the Ponderosa Pine Therapy, which is a deep tissue massage aided by a warm poultice filled with sage, pine and lavender. It’s similar to a hot stone massage – I dare say, better? – though I will warn you, it’s hot, so if you don’t like a really hot shower you will probably find it too warm. Advanced booking is highly recommended, and the staff are quite helpful in recommending a treatment.
After my treatment by the staff whom I now call the knot ninjas, who left no stress point untouched in my 75-minute session (ow!), I was free to use the spa’s wet and dry saunas before retreating back to my room to collapse with a glass of wine in front of the fire.
I should also mention the fitness center just next to spa, which is nicer than many “real” gyms I have been to. They’ve got a lineup of top notch yoga and pilates classes; I opted to pop in for a “computrain” spin bike session, which if the sensation in my upper thighs was any indication, was a killer workout. The gym is free of charge for hotel guests, but classes do have a fee.
Time to Refuel
All this talk of skiing, spa-ing, working out, and laying by the fireplace no doubt sounds exhausting – so let me leave you with some solid recommendations for food and libations, the only thing needed to make this weekend complete.
- Cima: Cima is the signature restaurant located at the Westin; I was familiar with it because of its resident chef, the well-known Richard Sandoval. The house style is billed as “contemporary Latin cuisine,” but it’s definitely infused with comfortable Colorado sensibilities and a dash of apres ski flair. I love their small plates (also available on a limited menu in the lobby); the flatbreads are excellent, and my Berkshire Pork was to die for.
- Vin 48: A short 5-minute walk into town, Vin 48 features a variety of dishes, but perhaps my favorite feature is the 40 different wines by the glass in the bar! Maybe I was just in the mood for small plates, but again this is my recommendation, including the cheese plate and seared scallops.
- Ticino: I didn’t make it to Ticino, but I had no less than 3 people tell me about their “drool-worthy” wood-fired oven pizzas. On a ski trip, can you think of anything better? Next time.
And now, the bad news. I had to go home. But I hear Beaver Creek is wonderful in the spring.
Editorial Disclosure: This trip was partially sponsored by Sage Hospitality and the Beaver Creek Ski Resort, but the opinions represented are 100% the author’s. All indoor photos courtesy of the Westin Beaver Creek.