Pair Ski Adventures And Warm Cookies At Colorado's Beaver Creek
Just outside of Vail, Colorado, a day at Beaver Creek should be broken up like this: meet your ski instructor at 9:30 a.m.—when the lifts open—for a private ski or snowboarding session; take a break around noon for a gourmet lunch at the ski-in SaddleRidge restaurant, which doubles as a museum of American Western artifacts; and then head back out for more experience on the slopes until “Cookie Time” at 3 p.m.
The group that came up with the “Cookie Time” concept was likely tasked with the challenge of coming up with a way to kindly tell athletes to get off the slopes. They probably pondered how to go about doing this for a moment, until a member with a sweet tooth called out: “I've got it! Let's lure them down with warm cookies.”
The ski destination bakes 500,000 cookies each year for a season that starts in November and runs through April. Employees dressed in aprons and chef's hats carry trays to the bottoms of the lifts daily to greet tired skiers and snowboarders with still-gooey delights.
During opening week (Nov. 27 to Dec. 1), the resort town will host its 15th annual World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition, during which five finalists who submitted their recipes are asked to prepare 1,000 cookies for a public vote. The winner's recipe will be used throughout the season to cap off days of gliding down 150 trails.
Speaking of après ski, a few steps from the slopes is Toscanini, a restaurant and bar positioned by an ice skating rink, and the ideal spot for grabbing an Aperol Spritz or a glass of wine from the 100-percent Italian list, which receives annual recognition from Wine Spectator.
While the lobster bisque and beef filet here merit return visits, a more experiential reservation can be made at Beano's Cabin, which requires a 15-minute sleigh ride up a snowy mountain to a cozy log chalet, equipped with a locker room where guests can retire their wet boots and slide on slippers during dinner. A five-course meal is prepped in an open-format kitchen while a performer plays tunes on an acoustic guitar in front of a stone mantel.
Make The Osprey home base while experiencing Beaver Creek. It's the closest hotel to a ski chairlift in North America, set only 20 feet from the Strawberry Park Express Lift. Other amenities include an outdoor pool and hot tub, steam room and sauna, a tapas-style lounge on the second floor and a complimentary shuttle service.
Luxurious vacations aren't made by the price tag on accommodations. True elevated hospitality is shown through anticipatory service and well-thought-out experiences. This could mean umbrellas set out in the lobby before guests awake and realize it's raining outside; or welcome trays with Champagne and light bites waiting at visitors' accommodations after a long travel day; or freshly baked cookies served on silver trays at the bottom of ski slopes. Expect all of the above at Beaver Creek.