Winter Fairyland

Vail and Beaver Creek are the best getaways in the snow

“Get into the snow” is what I heard every year during ski season. Growing up in Pittsburgh, most of us remember that catchy phrase from the Seven Springs commercials. As a skier, this was my signal to get my skies waxed and to be ready to hit the slopes. Everyone always asked, “What is your favorite place to ski out west?” I, unfortunately, did not have an answer to that question, as I had only skied the handful of resorts around Pennsylvania — that is, until last winter when I went to Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado. They are worth the trip; both have a personality all their own, and I challenge you not to fall in love.

Vail and Beaver Creek are roughly a two-hour drive from Denver. The drive is beautiful, but don’t let yourself get stuck on the few passes on your way up the mountain (or back down for that matter). On the almost complete uphill climb for the trek from Denver to Vail, I wondered if it was fog or the clouds that I was driving through. And once I arrived, the charm of this ski town left me wondering if someone had dropped me off at North Pole (and if I would run into Santa Clause around the next bend). The skiing is fabulous, but the key to this winter wonderland are the restaurants and bars that are scattered all over the mountain. Whether I was grabbing a quick snack before I headed back out to the slopes or going out for a meal, the foodie in me salivated.

Beaver Creek is food central. At the base of the mountain, I couldn’t beat the Grill outside of the Ritz Carlton. Enjoying a beer and a burger while looking up at the slopes, all while in my ski boots, was like heaven. That is, until I took a sleigh up the mountain for an evening of decadent food and wine selections at Beano’s Cabin. This restaurant is situated near the top of the mountain, nestled in trees and snow-capped peaks, with a fireplace the size of some people’s homes directly in the center of the restaurant. It was fine dining in the middle of the most picturesque winter setting.

Whether I’m looking to go skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling — or just yearning for a spiked apple cider, all while wearing the most fabulous sweaters and boots I own, Vail and Beaver Creak are always at the top of my winter wish list.