Beaver Creek Nordic Center offers hiking | VailDaily.com
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Beaver Creek Nordic Center offers hiking

Ted AlvarezVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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In the realm of outdoor pursuits, it could be argued that hiking requires the least instruction: It essentially requires putting one foot in front of the other over uneven ground for extended periods of time. So why would one want a guide to hike through the Alps?”It allows you to cut to the chase,” says Nate Goldberg, who has led hikes through the Alps for more than 14 years. “Here you’ve got someone that’s familiar – they’ll take the worry out of your day. You could spend your time finding great hikes or know someone that knows the area. I can take you along to learn about local history and fauna, and it adds a deeper cultural element rather than going out on your own, especially for Europe.”Goldberg has spent the greater part of his life leading others into the wilderness, both on foot and on snowshoes and nordic skis in the winter. He specializes in taking his clients to hidden alpine villages, often accessible only by trail or cog railway. In addition to striking mountain vistas, Goldberg also makes sure to include four-star accomodations, stellar food and deep immersion in local culture.”Especially in Lech-Zurs, the VIP treatment is second-to-none,” says Goldberg. “Since Beaver Creek is their sister city, it really takes guest service to the highest level possible. The locals do the hikes with us, and we always have dinner with the mayor. Anyone who’s gone is just blown away – they just roll out the red carpet.”

For each destination, Goldberg offers two levels of hiking difficulty – but relaxing in luxury rather than stomping the trail always remains an option.”The regular hiker can expect to hike 3-5 miles and gain 1,500 vertical feet, while the advanced hiker can expect to climb 5-8 miles over 3,000 vertical feet,” Goldberg says. “But I always tell them this is your vacation. If you want to sit in the spa, more power to you.”Despite being surrounded by fantastic food, fine wine and sterling accomodations, Goldberg still gleans the most enjoyment from the actual hikes.”I love the hikes – there’s no question about it,” he says. “It’s just so amazing and beautiful; all the kids are back in school, so it’s a relaxing time to be in Europe. I’ve learned to appreciate each area for what it has to offer.”Even seasoned Rockies hikers will learn that climbing the Alps is an altogether different task.

“You start from lower altitudes, so there’s such a change in the landscape as you go,” Goldberg says. “We start in lush valleys and ascend above treeline to view these fantastic glaciers. And when you’re talking about places like Chamonix and Mont Blanc and Zermatt and the Matterhorn, these are stunning places where mountaineering began.”Though the price of admission doesn’t include extra drinks, Goldberg makes sure his guests get their fair share of included wine tasting in areas known for fabulous vintages. It’s all part of the Alpen experience.”I feel like I know the trails of Switzerland better than Colorado,” Goldberg says. “The two things that come out are the sheer beauty of the areas and how neat it is to experience a different culture. We travel to experience something very different from our daily lives.”Arts & Entertainment writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or talvarez@vaildaily.com.



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