HIGH TIMES

Next-level ski­ing and din­ing in Vail, Colorado.

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - Edited by EL­IZA O’HARE

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.

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