Rocky Mountain High

Dammit, we ARE a ski family!

Ok, fine, I don’t ski. But right before we got engaged I made a solemn promise to Baz that we would be a ski family. And we are!

Sort of.

I always say I know how to ski; I just choose not to. If I HAD to ski down a mountain or die, I could ski down the mountain. If I HAD to rescue a kid, I could rescue a kid (these are the mind f*ck games that I play with myself, by myself, all the time. My favorite being “Let’s Play Worst Case Scenario.”)

I don’t enjoy skiing. I white knuckle every run, look forward to aprés more than during, and think about Natasha Richardson way more than one person should in a 7 day period. That said, I absolutely LOVE, like ADORE, our annual out west ski trips together as a family. The air is clear and crisp, the sky blue bird brilliant, the people laidback and lovely and the food stick to your ribs, de-lish! If you’re a vegan this is probably not gonna be your jam (Vegans – there is no need to argue here about how you found the best vegan elk steak ever while you were out west on your last trip. I’m happy for you, truly, I am, but I also want the real deal all week long; no Tempeh Bison Burger bullshit for me. Bring on the real beast along with an IV drip of white wine.)

Did I mention that the best sushi on earth can be found in of all places, Beaver Creek, CO?? I know! Strange, but true!!! Head to Hooked in Beaver Creek now. No, I mean NOW! Go! And wear stretchy pants. It’s that good. It’s also that hard to get a reservation (even after a recent renovation and expansion) and unless you live in Beaver Creek, you’re probably not going back anytime soon. So go ahead, Eat.It. All. Tell them that The Bee sent you. Actually don’t; they have no idea who I am and I have zero pull. But I do lick their windows every time I pass by, so maybe they do know who I am. Yeah like I said, skip that mention.

Anyhoo…Hooked is nestled right in the center of Beaver Creek Village, a short 10 minute shuttle from Bachelor Gulch, where we stay, and the perfect place to meet up for lunch, dinner, aprés and/or shopping. Your kids can even ice skate in the center of the village while you twirl through all of the shops including the stylish Gorsuch to shop the most fashionable items for ski and home. Think Chalet Chic all under one gorgeous, wood beamed, sprawling roof. Aerin Lauder picture frames, Bogner and Canada Goose, Coyote throw pillows; it almost makes me want to buy a ski house. Almost. Not really. Actually, that’s a hard nope.

After your evening in Beaver Creek winds down, use your Village Connect App to catch one of the many shuttles back to Bachelor Gulch. Think Uber with enough room for your skis, poles and all of your new friends who are also making their way back to The Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch.

Tucked into the mountainside of Bachelor Gulch, The Ritz Carlton looms large as you wind your way up the backside of Beaver Creek Mountain and into the sprawling cobblestone courtyard where valets clad head to toe in black, each one sporting cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, greet you warmly.

The Ritz, while a true five star experience, is a far cry from stuffy. Gather in “The Great Room” and fold yourself into a corner of one of the massive sapphire blue velvet couches found in clusters throughout the room. Warm up in front of the stone fireplace that could house four grown men standing up, or devour a bowl of the hotel’s signature bison chili in front of the floor to ceiling wall of windows that face The Bachelor Gulch Lift Express.

The “backyard” of the hotel is a true ski in ski out experience that culminates every day at 4 pm in the aprés of all aprés experiences. Belly up to the expansive concrete outdoor bar and enjoy a split of champagne, a beer, or whiskey (maybe all three if you’re here from Texas!) then sink into a rocking chair and loosen your boots while Rob, the wildly talented singing cowboy, grabs his guitar, liberally applies SPF 30 and sings for hours in the Colorado sunshine. Song books are passed around and “Name That Tune” gets more intense with each cocktail (he can play anything on that guitar), kids roast s’mores, and thoughts of dinner plans start to take shape.

You may, however, want to indulge in a steam or spa experience before your next meal. My favorite and go-to always being the signature hot river stone massage followed by a soak in a private room in one of the spa’s deep, clawfoot copper tubs shined to perfection like a new penny. A therapist will mix a custom blend of aromatherapy oils and gently closing the door behind her, allow you to sink into the tub and soak your cares away. Ok, who am I kidding? Your cares kind of drifted out the front door upon check in at the beginning of your stay here, but you get what I mean.

Hungry? Of course you are! You’ve either skied your ass off in Colorado powder all day or just read a book and drank wine (Echem! Paging Ms. Bee). In any case, let’s eat!

Jeans? Check! Boots? Check! Plaid shirt? Check! Wait!!! WTF? Plaid?? Plaid generally is NOT something found in my wardrobe. As a matter of fact plaid is sort of against my religion (fleece gives me fashion hives with plaid and flannel tied as a close second) but that was before I discovered Rails Clothing on one of our most recent trips to Beaver Creek.

While Rails is actually California based, the casual chic rustic vibe of west coast living fits like a mitten (see that? That’s winter out west humor!) in the laid back, sunshine drenched mountains of Beaver Creek. Ok, it’s technically plaid, but that’s where the lumberjack similarities end. Watercolor pastel palettes mingle with the softest legit cashmere like brushed cotton button downs. Mother of pearl buttons, pale rose pinks, the creamiest of whites, dusty blues. Feminine, sexy, casual, and sure to spark vacation sex (yeppers you know what I’m talking about). Your significant other is going to love lingering a little bit longer when you button yourself into this security blanket of a shirt. White lace bralette peeking through, unbutton one extra button; guaranteed lay. So grab one or two or three because they’re about to become your weekend staple. Now, let’s go! If you don’t get your softly swathed ass downstairs to the snowcat you’re gonna miss your ride to Zach’s Cabin!

Traditionally Zach’s Cabin is our final dinner in Beaver Creek. It is truly a dining experience and it starts at the base of Bachelor Gulch Mountain with an excursion: a snow cat ride snuggled under blankets for warmth up to the cabin is the only way to get there. Unless you ski. And as you already know, I don’t. Ok, fine, won’t.

Potato/Patato.

Panoramic views of the Gore Mountain Range are the backdrop to elegant, cozy comfort food with a regional focus. Colorado beef, spiced venison chops, a baby gem lettuce caesar that will make you want to pick up your plate and lick it clean (you won’t care who’s looking), and a tuna crudo drizzled with a pineapple yuzu dressing that is like crack.

The wine selections are perfect, the ambiance is like a fairy tale, and don’t get me started on their bread pudding. Ya know the vacation sex that I mentioned earlier? You both might just slip into a food and wine coma after this one.

Our week in Heaven, Colorado, as I like to call it, has come to an end.

I never say goodbye to Rob, the singing cowboy, because I’m always afraid I’m going to start to cry and truly embarrass myself. I always say thank you to the staff because they get warmer and lovelier each year and it almost feels like you’ve been away at camp with them.

As we make our way down the mountain, past the waving flags that line the winding road that leads to Bachelor Gulch, we are all a little bit quiet. The best part is it’s not because the kids have their heads in their iPhones. It’s because the week was about connecting; talking and laughing over incredible meals, while on the flip side, not being able to talk at all while the boys fly through magnificent heavy powder, smiling at each other through their goggles, sharing quality time that requires very few words.

We fall into bed each night happily exhausted, drunk on thinner air, and of course a bit of red wine.

Till next year Beaver Creek, we miss you already.

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