Colorado dreamin', in Vail
The Hedonist: What to see and where to be seen
Saturday 16 March 2013
Acres of gorgeous, soft, fluffy white duvets draped over a huge king size bed, a cosy, comfy living room and glossy, state-of-the-art kitchen. Finally, I'd made it to The Residences at The Lodge (001 970 476 5011, lodgeatvail.rockresorts.com) for a weekend in Vail, and boy was I going to make the most of it. The ski-in, ski-out hotel was perfect for our party of four because there would be no boring lugging of kit around in dastardly ski boots, and we had the Rock Resorts' concierge and spa facilities right at our door.
A hedonistic skier's mantra should be "first chair, last call", so we head straight out to test our new skis on the groomed front pistes. After a few hours of powder play, we bomb down the back bowls and over to Blue Sky Basin. Here, at the edge of the inbounds, is a sunny spot where we relaxed with local beers, organic meat, freshly baked bread and delicious salads – all goodies we ordered through Foods of Vail (001 970 949 0282; foodsofvail.com). On a cold day, you can go inside a wooden hut and warm up with a hot chocolate, but on dreamy spring days like this, the benches and gas-fired grills are the top choice for relaxing between runs.
Once the sun goes down, we get on the glad rags and head into town. First stop is a signature chocolate Indini cocktail at the cosy, classy, Brown Hound Lounge (001 970 476 5615; tivolilodge.com) before dinner at the renowned Larkspur (001 970 754 8050; larkspurvail.com). The tasting menu here is one of the highlights of a gourmet's trip to Vail.
Full and very happy, we sashay over to Samana Lounge (001 970 476 3433; samanalounge.com). Needless to say, it's well past midnight when we get the private lift back to our residence.
Feeling a bit too delicate to use of our own kitchen the next morning, we fuel up at the packed-out Little Diner (001 970 476 4279) at 616 West Lionshead Circle, where we watch the chefs whip up pancakes, French toast and omelettes.Then a journey into the real back-country ends at the Lazy J Ranch (001 970 653 7877; mountainmusher.com), where a team of huskies and their owners live, just waiting to whisk us through the scenery. Our two-hour sleigh ride is punctuated by hot chocolate and pumpkin bread halfway through. Afterwards, the Lazy J gives us a lift into Edwards, where there are two great micobreweries. At Gore Range (001 970 926 2739; gorerangebrewery.com), we line our stomachs with upmarket pub food, sample the beers, then we head on to Crazy Mountain (001 970 926 3009; crazymountainbrewery.com).
We taxi back into Vail in time for a stroll around the quaint village, then head up to the Tap Room (001 970 479 0500; taproomvail.com), from where we sip another Colorado brew and watch skiers make the last plunge into the resort from their terraces.
All this relaxing has left us a peckish, though. It's hard to resist an invitation to have a quick one at the new joint in town, Loaded Joe's (001 970 479 2883; loadedjoes.com), so we don't even try.
I can't help but think, in all my years as a ski bum, I have never seen anything quite like Vail.
A Hedonist's Guide to ... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information , see hg2.com
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