Eat, Sleep and Soak at Vail’s Game Creek Chalet
Game Creek Restaurant
This on-mountain lodge, right next to the Game Creek Chalet, offers a nightly three-, four- or five-course prix-fix dinner menu. The cozy space overlooks the Game Creek bowl, and is accessed by ascending Vail Mountain on the Eagle Bahn Gondola, followed by a snowcat ride.
The 10th Restaurant
The 10th is a luxury mid-mountain stop for lunch or dinner, resting at the base of the Look Ma run at Mid-Vail. Lunch guests can access the restaurant on foot or on skis from the top of Gondola One. For dinner, foot passenger traffic is free; for lunch, a scenic ride ticket is required.
Trapper’s is Beaver Creek’s on-mountain hideaway, surrounded by aspen and spruce trees at an elevation of 9,500 feet. The ski-in, ski-out destination sleeps 10, featuring beautiful vistas, a cozy fireplace and hot tub. Guests can customize activities, service and cuisine with their personal Cabin Keeper.
Zach’s Cabin and Beano’s Cabin
Beaver Creek Resort has some of the area’s most coveted dining cabins. Zach’s and Beano’s are both worth a separate visit, so if you only have a chance to go to one this season, check out the other one next year.
Both are accessed by snowcat-drawn sleighs.
Zach’s executive chef Tim McCaw’s cuisine embraces a Pacific flavor paired with local inspiration, while Beano’s executive chef Bill Greenwood creates modern flavors with quintessential Colorado cuisine.
Naturally, the glade that sits on the east side of Game Creek Bowl has snow that’s either crunchy or soft, but we picked a good day to carve some smooth turns. The Ouzo slope was powder-perfect on this crisp afternoon in February — our skis slicing right through the fallen flurries with rhythmic precision.
Perfection, however, is to know that at the end of this slope are some of my favorite things: terrycloth slippers and an oversized robe; hot tub time surrounded by mountains and their alpine glow.
Aprés ski at the Game Creek Chalet is far from slinging shot-skis and is much closer to home, with the warmth of a fire in company with wine, cheese and charcuterie.
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A Trip To The Tyrolean
It was more than three decades after Vail opened when Pete Siebert, one of the ski area’s founders, envisioned bringing more European hospitality to the mountain, and in 1996 the Game Creek Chalet was built. The alpine cabin sits on the side of Game Creek Bowl at 10,300 feet, nestled in the trees and overlooking snowcapped peaks and sun-drenched landscape.
“The Chalet is ideal for anybody who is looking to get all this scenery and to be further away from town,” says Logan Johnson, concierge for the Chalet. “It’s where people can actually feel like they are in the mountains the whole time they are in Vail.”
Although the Chalet stands next to Game Creek’s well-known on-mountain dining establishment, staying in to eat is what can truly create a cozy home away from home. A private chef is available for those looking to keep their dining experience effortless and refined.
“The sky is the limit when it comes to the menu,” Johnson says. “The chef allows you to really get a customized experience.”
On this mid-February evening, chef Tyler Doyle prepares five courses as the afternoon hours fall into a vibrant sunset and quiet twilight, while we sink into the plush throw pillows and acoustic melodies in the Chalet’s high-beamed sitting room.
King-sized beds are calling, but hors’ d’oeuvres of braised short ribs and polenta, chorizo-stuffed dates with prosciutto, fennel goat cheese tartlets and lobster guacamole tacos seem to speak a little louder than even the most tantalizing feather-down duvet.
“Cooking up here really gives me time to go over the top on everything,” Doyle says amidst simultaneous course preparations of a winter salad, ahi sashimi appetizer, crab-crusted Dover Sole and fillet of beef with truffle mashed potatoes.
The pastry course finale offers its proper sweet ending as a chocolate hazelnut tartufi, served with toasted meringue and caramelized bananas. Sugar plums danced in my head well before it hits the pillow, but everything melts into the sweetly serene as our night comes to a close.
Morning On The Mountains
Although daylight usually awakens dreams, like silver white winters that melt into spring — I find myself still streaming through heightened senses in the morning as I wake beneath plush covers, immediately beckoned by thoughts of first tracks just steps away from this break in my slumber.
Upstairs from the bedrooms, light streams into the kitchen, illuminating a plate of fresh fruit, croissants and coffee cake, all accompanied by the sounds and smell of fresh coffee brewing — a welcomed preparation for the pre-ski dip in the steaming balcony tub.
For just a moment when I step on to the deck, there’s fresh snow between my bare toes — it’s a powder daydream.
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