Magazine article Sunset

The Best of Beaver Creek

Magazine article Sunset

The Best of Beaver Creek

Article excerpt

In the land of luxe, you can still get some bang for your buck. Here's how BY JANE McCONNELL | PHOTOGRAPHS BY JENIFER HARRINGTON

PERFECTION COMES WITH a price tag, of course, but a weekend in Beaver Creek doesn't have to be a blowout reserved for the well-to-do. In this spendy skier's paradise, here's what's worth the splurge, where you can find a bargain, and what lies off the beaten path.

1. Take a sleigh to dinner

Perched in an aspen grove on the slopes of Bachelor Gulch, Zach's Cabin is a private dining club by day that opens to the public at night. Indulge in porcini-crusted walleye or venison tenderloin.

Entrée prices: $$$$

Why it's worth it: The sleigh ride to get there justifies the pricey entrées.

2. Find free fun on the slopes

Get your ski bearings on a two-hour Mountain Welcome Tour, led by expert guides. Once you get a feel for the resort's three mountains - Beaver Creek (the main mountain), Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead - explore the slopes and the three distinct villages on your own. At day's end, don't miss free hot chocolate around the firepit at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.

Mountain tour: Free with a lift ticket

Treats around the fire: Free

Why it's worth it: You can't beat free.

3. Sleep cheap (relatively)

New this season, the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa overlooks the Eagle River in Avon, with its own gondola linking it to Beaver Creek. The eco-friendly hotel (Colorado's first LEED-certified luxury resort) has roof tiles made from recycled rubber tires and spa robes made from bamboo. Studio suites can sleep a family of four, with a small kitchen. At the hotel's Restaurant Avondale (which features chef Thomas Salamunovich, also of the popular Larkspur Restaurant in Vail and Larkburger in Edwards), try the perfectly roasted Rosie chicken for two with greenonion rings.

Room rates: From $249

Why if s worth it: You'll pay 20 to 40 percent less than you would in Beaver Creek.

4. See a show

Top performers often make the Vilar Performing Arts Center their only stop between New York and Los Angeles. Past performers have included the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats and the Beach Boys. A dozen shows are on tap for February, from acoustic guitar to Broadway.

Ticket prices: From $30

Why it's worth it: Broadway-caliber shows without New York prices.

5. Get a view from the top

At the top of the mountain - rather than the base, like most cross-country ski areas - McCoy Park is 32 kilometers of groomed nordic ski and snowshoe trails with views of three mountain ranges. …

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