Next-level skiing and dining in Vail, Colorado.
Sinking deep into the butter-soft leather of a mid-century-modern armchair, a shaft of pale Colorado sunshine bathing my face in warmth, and nothing but the gentle crackle of the fire to keep me company, I’m finding it hard to muster the motivation to strap on my skis* and explore the countless ski runs beckoning me from my comfortable perch at The Remedy bar in Vail’s Four Seasons Resort and Residences. Then again, given that I’ve just consumed what could be the most decadent hot chocolate ever created, a day on the slopes is just what the doctor would order, as would — more tellingly, if they could speak — the waistband of my ski pants.
It’s my fourth day on this picturesque mountain and I am wondering how I will ever return to skiing without the luxuries at my disposal in the small but perfectly appointed village ofvail.there will be no Chris to tote my skis from the base of the run to the Four Seasons’ ski valet apartment, where hot chocolate, freshly baked cookies and a heated boot locker will be waiting for me.there will be no Nobuquality nigiri for dinner.and there will definitely not be a full-sized heated outdoor swimming pool in which to float away those post-skiing aches.
Creature comforts aside, I am here to ski, so I haul myself out of said armchair to meet my private guide, Barb — who has probably skied more runs than I’ve had takeaway coffees, and that’s a lot — for my private lesson. Considering Vail has 193 ski runs criss-crossing more than 11 kilometres of the pristine Colorado Rockies, I’m thankful that Barb confidently takes on the role of navigator. She expertly picks the best trails for the weather conditions and time, ensuring that every day there’s a new picture-perfect vista to drink in (or Instagram #sorrynotsorry) and a different perfectly groomed run to explore.thanks to a decent snow
dump the week prior, I’m surprised by the consistent high quality of the runs: solid cover with a sprinkling of powder, topped off by blue skies and moderate temperatures. Barb delights in retelling a joke about local weather reports that regularly predict ‘partly cloudy’ conditions — to any non-vail resident, this means a perfect ‘bluebird’ (aka blistering blue sky and sunshine) day. Even on her third go, I can’t help but chuckle along with her, the glorious sunshine only reinforcing her point.
If skiing (or snowboarding) isn’t your cup of mulled wine, there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied in Vail. During the winter months, snow-shoeing, tubing and dog-sledding provide ways to take in the pristine snow conditions while getting an adrenaline hit. But if R&R is what you’re craving, the town’s boutique après-ski scene, from shops to diverse dining options and the day spa scene, is a definite cut above your usual ski-town standards.
Speaking of spas, any self-respecting spa-o-phile must indulge in the Four Seasons ’signature‘ alpine Rejuvenation’ treatment. Aching calves and tight shoulders melt under the skilled hands of the spa’s expert masseuses, who use a firm touch, river stones and an intoxicating oil infused with balsam fir, juniper and pine to relax, refresh and energise mountain-weary bodies. For optimal effect, I’d suggest taking advantage of the adjacent spa pools, sauna and steam room beforehand, allowing at least 45 minutes to do the full dunk-and-steam tour.
The little extras at the Four Seasons make mountain life just that little bit easier to bear: a humidifier to keep your complexion hydrated as you sleep, the nightly placement of a heat pack at the foot of your king-sized bed, and a walk-in wardrobe as big as most Sydney bedrooms. In fact, mine may be a smidge larger than my Paddington terrace boudoir. Maybe I’ll move in? From here, my everyday reality seems like a bad dream, one I’m not ready to wake up to. At least, not without one more run on a sunny, bluebird day.
*When I say strap on my skis, I should clarify that I mean wait for my friendly Aussie ski concierge, Chris, to carry them to the bottom of the gondola for me, where I merely have to ‘clip in’, hands free. Thanks, mate.
For resort information, visit vail.com/mountain/mountainhome.aspx. BAZAAR recommends booking an Epic Pass for unlimited and unrestricted access, snow.com/epic-pass. Thanks to Vail, Colorado resort, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, fourseasons.com/vail, The Ritz-carlton Residences, Vail, ritzcarlton.com/en/residences/vail, and special thanks to Qantas, which departs daily from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles, and onwards to Denver, Colorado, via American Airlines.
Vail’s prized ‘back bowls’. Below: a Four Seasons Vail Residence. The terrace at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail in Colorado.
The lobby at The Sebastian. Below: the author on the slopes; next-level cocktailing at The Remedy bar.