Haute adventure in Eagle County
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – If you have ever hired a ski butler (or dreamed of being able to afford one), you probably appreciate the finer things in life. Staying true to Beaver Creek’s motto “not exactly roughing it,” the valley offers plenty of outdoor adventures that bring to mind “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Here are a few examples, with cheap alternatives.
Hike to a massage
• At the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, a guide will lead you through a 1 1/2-hour hike along trails on Beaver Creek Mountain. Guests pause at a cabin near the Ritz for a private outdoor yoga session (Optional umbrellas are on hand to shield the sun). Guests can luxuriate in an hour outdoor massage on the cabin’s wooden deck. The hike typically attracts couples. For more information, call the spa reservations desk at 970-343-1138.
Cost: $250 per person.
DIY: Try this gentle, three-mile hike on Beaver Creek Mountain. At the signpost underneath the Centennial ski lift, get on Five Senses trail. The trail feeds into Beaver Lake trail. During a downhill section, take a gentle right at the sign to Village to Village trail, which leads to Bachelor Gulch. At the Ritz, ask to have the free dial-a-ride shuttle take you back to Beaver Creek Village. Kathy Walker at the Beaver Creek Hiking Center recommends this hike. Top it off with an outdoor yoga session. Local yoga enthusiast Robin Nash recommends setting up your mat at Nottingham Park in Avon, Eagle Town Park in Eagle or any pool deck.
• Saunter over to the Beaver Creek Stables for a private ride. A quarterhorse takes you on a 1 1/2-hour jaunt across Beaver Creek Mountain. The destination is an alpine lake. Tucked away in the Holy Cross Wilderness, Beaver Lake has a sandbar perfect for catching trout. Guests have been known to pack their own fly fishing gear. Guides provide a picnic lunch complete with cold fried chicken. For more information, contact Beaver Creek Stables at 970-845-7770.
Cost: $200 per person.
DIY: Beaver Creek Lake is a six-mile roundtrip hike from Beaver Creek village, Walker said. Buy a lift ticket and ride the Centennial lift up Beaver Creek Mountain (lift tickets cost $22; children 12 and under are free). Follow signs to the Royal Elk trail and stay on it for three miles. At the Beaver Lake sign, head left and uphill. Follow the trail to the lake. To get back to the village, follow signs for Beaver Lake Trail. The trail runs into Five Senses and ends underneath the Centennial lift. You can pack lunch and a fly fishing rod if you want. The hike usually takes 3 1/2 to 4 hours, Walker said.
• Hiking is so much better with a private chef in tow. Local chef Richard Brown teams up with Paragon Guides to offer catered hut trips. Customers can hike, mountain bike or even ride Jeeps to one of the huts in the backcountry surrounding the Vail area. Paragon Guides may enlist llamas to carry the food. At the hut, Brown said he provides a full spread tailored to the group’s dietary needs. In the past he’s made dishes like paella and peach cobbler.
“You’ve hiked all day and once you get to the hut, it’s like having the Holiday Inn in the backcountry,” Brown said.
For more information, contact Paragon Guides at 877-926-5299 or Brown at http://www.backcountrycaterer.com or 970-470-3105.
Cost: $300 to $350 per person, per day
DIY: See the pullout box for an easy recipe you can prepare ahead and finish at the hut.