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How to score in ’04

Staff Reports

Vail and Beaver Creek, considered two of the finest ski resorts in the nation, certainly know skiing. But partying into a new year is also something both resorts do pretty well. Some of the best parties are selling out quick, so here’s our guide to the best of what’s still available for ringing in 2004:Restaurants like Beaver Creek’s Grouse Mountain Grill and the ballrooms of the Park Hyatt, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are all offering multi-course dinners and entertainment options ranging from live bands to jazz quartets to a magician, with price tags ranging between $75 and $400 per person.Remington’s, the newly opened, Ritz-Carlton restaurant, is featuring a five-course dinner including everything form bison tartar to vanilla-poached lobster. Over in the Ritz ballroom, a black-tie gala featuring a modern rock cover band, a shooter station with oysters and clams, a sushi and caviar station and a rumored popping of 100 bottles of Dom Perignon at midnight, shows that in the Vail Valley there is no shortage of $200-plus affairs to ring in the new year.Reveler’s looking to go even bigger on New Year’s Eve can check out Beano’s Cabin on Beaver Creek mountain. An open-air sleigh departs at 8:45 p.m. The evening is $400 per person and includes a sleigh ride, live band, dancing, hand-passed hors d’oeuvres, a five-course gourmet meal paired with award-winning wine by a sommelier, a glass of champagne upon arrival and a midnight champagne toast.Family friendly options are filling up quickly this New Year’s Eve, as seating for Grouse Mountain Grill’s $80-per-person event, a “Magical New Year’s Eve,” has already sold out. The event, now on a waiting list, features a special menu and a table-side magician.There’s still space available at Grouse’s more adult-friendly, $155-per-person, five-course Candlelight New Year’s Eve, which features Tony Gulizia and his jazz trio and another specialized Rick Kangas menu.Grouse owners Dave and Nancy Dowell’s newest restaurant endeavor, the RiverHouse (formerly Zino) down the hill in Edwards, is simply offering like many Vail Valley restaurants their nightly menu with a few festive options to ring in the new year.”We’re looking to appeal to those looking for a nice culinary experience before they go out to party,” says Laura Lodge of Grouse and RiverHouse.For a more affordable party, check out McCoy’s, located in the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, as the “Tanner Kemmerly Band” plays a sensational celebration from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The price is only $35 per person at the door and includes snack foods. Guests dining at Bivans, the Hyatt’s restaurant, receive a $15 discount for the party.Other restaurants, including Beaver Creek’s Golden Eagle Inn and Vail’s Larkspur and Terra Bistro (featuring the New Summit Ridge Jazz Band) restaurants, are splitting the evening up into two seatings that allow families time to eat and then hit the free fireworks displays in both villages.After the fireworks displays, which launch at nightfall (approximately 6:30 to 7 p.m.), and Vail and Beaver Creek Mountain’s famous torch-light ski-downs, the second seatings and more adult-focused partying options begin around 8 p.m.Those searching for a bar to call home for the big night may want to consider Vail Village options such as all-inclusive parties at 8150 or the Tap Room/Sanctuary, where $100 (at Vail’s largest nightclub, 8150) or $125 (at the well-appointed, three-floor Tap Room/Sanctuary on Bridge Streets) gets you in the door. Once inside, both clubs offer live music, DJs, hors d’ oeuvres and top-shelf, open bars until midnight.If you’re looking to spend under a hundred bucks on New Year’s Eve, then Avon’s Agave and Vail Village’s newer watering holes, Hypnotyks (formerly the Bridge), the FuBar and Bogart’s Bar and Bistro have you covered.Agave’s owner says locals are tired of paying steep covers just to go out and dance on New Year’s Eve. His club, just down the hill from Beaver Creek, is bringing in DJ B, who will play everything from hip hop and Top-40 to dance and other requested hits.Over at Bogart’s (formerly Hub Cap Brewery), DJ Foxx from Denver is spinning from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. before his late-night set, with DJ Sonic, over at 8150. A $25 cover at door includes champagne, drink and shot specials and great music.For those under legal drinking age, Vail Village has you taken care of with an evening of dance and entertainment at Dobson Ice Arena. A drug and alcohol free New Year’s Eve celebration for youth (high school to age 20), including music, video DJ, dancing, casino games, raffle prizes and other activities, takes place from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and costs $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Call Dobson Ice Arena at 479-2292 for tickets.By Erik Vienneau


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