A long weekend in a winter wonderland
Last weekend, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, an unparalleled gem of a ski resort. The Ritz has a magical vibe. It sits perched on the top of a hill like the enchanted chalet in a fairy tale. Upon entering, you are greeted in the cozy lobby by a roaring fire. The main lounge is even more impressive, with a giant stone fireplace overlooked by a giant mounted deer head. They absolutely nailed the ski lodge aesthetic.
This resort is a skier’s paradise, catering to every possible want and need. You can walk right out the back door onto a lift that whisks you directly to the top of an 11,000-foot peak. The ski trail leads right back down to the lodge, where you can treat yourself to hot cocoa (or something stronger). The Ritz has a fabulous après ski scene, which is really half the fun of skiing to be honest. A warm bowl of chili never tasted better than after a day on the slopes. I loved the outdoor fireplace with DIY s’mores. Such a fun touch! You can enjoy your s’more in the lounge while listening to live music.
The resort is also a great place for what I like to call après après ski. This is when you soothe your aching feet in a nice warm hot tub. The spa at the Ritz is a destination in itself. There is a relaxation room, a hot and cold tub, and a grotto with a soothing waterfall. There is also a heated pool and no less three outdoor hot tubs, any of which is a wonderful place to end your evening.
One night we had a truly memorable dining experience that I will never forget. We assembled at the base of the mountain in Beaver Creek, a neighboring town. Once there, we were picked up by a giant sled attached to a snow tractor. This was our ride to dinner! After donning our waterproof ponchos, we were driven up a steep slope to the top of the mountain to a restaurant called Beano’s Cabin. Talk about dinner with a view! We got there just in time for the beautiful sight of the Rocky Mountains at sunset.
To call the restaurant a cabin is a bit of an understatement. It is a beautiful fine dining establishment, and such an unexpected sight at the top of a mountain! You are greeted by a cozy fire, a welcome sight after the frosty ride up the mountain. The main dining room is grand, hung with antler chandeliers. I found it interesting that most of the staff skis to work, a reminder of what a unique place this is.
As if the enchanting atmosphere weren’t already enough, the food itself was delicious! They offer a hearty five-course prix fixe menu. The first course is hot soup to warm you from the inside after your journey up the mountain. Next is a salad course. For the other courses, I tasted a bit of each of my friends’ dishes at the table and I recommend the pork belly starter, the venison main course, and the chocolate cake with a delicious graham-cracker ice cream.
The ride back down the mountain was an experience in itself. Our eyes were fixed upward on the clear night sky, filled with the brightest stars I’d ever seen. Talk about dinner and a show! On this night, the stars themselves were the show.
The resort is such a wonderland that you might find no reason to leave! But there are some nearby spots worth exploring as well. You can ski from Bachelor Gulch to Beaver Creek, the next resort over. It might be worth the trip since every day at 3pm they serve warm chocolate chip cookies to skiers. The skiing there is also great, with runs for every level of skier.
Nearby Vail is a larger town, with great shops and restaurants and charming architecture.
Until next time, Colorado!