Get your mountain fix with a quick jaunt to the Colorado Rockies
Although Texans have been flocking to the slopes of Colorado since realizing it’s the “land where the beer flows like wine” (ahem, Dumb and Dumber), it can still be tricky navigating this changing scene.
A quick trip out of Dallas-Fort Worth and into the mountains can add up quickly. But thankfully the Eagle County Airport is making it easier than ever to jet off from DFW for a weekend of luxury resort hopping and cozy fire-side dining in Colorado’s two hottest snow-packed cities of Vail and Beaver Creek. Located only minutes from some of the Rocky Mountain’s top ski resorts and recreation areas, Eagle County offers a fly-in/ski-free promotion.
Here is where you should stay, eat and play while in Vail and Beaver Creek this season.
Without question, if you have a chance to stay at the Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail, do it. This alpine-style lodge at Vail Mountain is the perfect skiers retreat with its complementary ski concierge that provides that famous Four Seasons service from outfitting guests in preheated Gorsuch boots and gear to providing weather reports and unlimited muffins and HoCho.
The hotel boasts an award-winning spa with creative apres-ski treatments, and it is only a short walk or Mercedes shuttle ride from Vail’s new 50th anniversary addition “One,” the heated-seat wielding, Wi-Fi-offering luxury gondola installed only months ago that takes guests to the top of the mountain at 1,200 feet per minute.
From there you can ski the mountain and track your vertical stats and stock up on professionally taken photos with Vail Resorts new app Epic Mix before stopping for an authentic alpine lunch at the recently opened fine dining restaurant, The 10th. Don’t miss the hickory-smoked French dip steak sandwich with melted fontina, horseradish aioli and caramelized onions or the maple bacon ice cream sundae.
After a long day of skiing, The Taproom in Vail Village is the hot spot to sip a beer with locals, but there’s no better way to unwind after a chilly day than with a Haut Chocolat at the Fireside Lounge at the Four Seasons. Homemade marshmallows and a delicate sheet of chocolate lace are melted deep into your oversized mug as your waiter pours out a piping cup of super creamy hot chocolate.
Even with all the restaurant options in town, after a light happy hour of elk corndogs and local cheeses, it’d be a shame to miss out on what executive chef Jason Harrison is cooking up at the resort’s amazing restaurant Flame. Harrison, who has a peculiar penchant for all things pig, is somewhat of a creative madman when it comes to his cuisine. He is doing everything in-house, from dry-aging his own charcuterie and meats in a converted flower cooler to barrel-aging craft cocktails.
Try the 32-ounce dry-aged Wagyu rib-eye carved tableside for a true Flintstone-ian experience, with family-style sides like lobster mashed potatoes and hand-cut duck fat French fries. If there’s any room for dessert, try senior pastry chef Rachelle Hyder’s maple bacon donuts with bourbon cherry jam.
Touted as North America’s only European-style village-to-village ski area, Beaver Creek’s legendary World Cup slopes offer an unparalleled experience, both on skis and off. The mountain boasts more than 1,832 acres with 25 lifts and 150 trails, meticulously groomed throughout the day.
The highlight of the slopes is by far the early morning First Tracks program that puts a limited number of precious Golden Ticket holders on the slopes before the lifts open to the public. It is an exclusive chance to leave your mark on the mountain’s freshly groomed runs.
When it comes to accommodations, the ski-in/ski-out Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa goes above and beyond to craft a truly luxurious mountainside vacation, from a nightly s’mores happy hour (served at the slope-side fire pit, where adults can order up discounted cocktails and champagne) to a dreamy slumber massage treatment offered at its on-site Allegria Spa.
This chateau-style resort is also home to the award-winning 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill, where diners can sit fireside or reserve the coveted chefs’ table where the chef will transport you to another place with creations such as dry-aged pork chop with balsamic pear puree, brown-butter spaghetti squash, candied pepitas and toasted almonds.
For the true Beaver Creek alpine experience, you can’t miss a trek out for dinner at Beano’s Cabin. This on-mountain restaurant is only accessible during the winter months (last day for service is April 7) via open-air sleigh or snowcat, but it is worth the trip to experience this intimate spot’s rustic yet gourmet offerings served amid the serene landscape of the White River National Forest. The wine list is extensive, the wildlife sightings are legendary, and the whiskey-glazed Berkshire porterhouse is borderline sinful.