Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
A Dream Ski Retreat
High above Vail Valley, atop Beaver Creek Mountain, is the oasis that is the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. You can't beat the hotel's ski-in, ski-out access, but a major makeover at the end of 2013 means the hotel offers even more perks. The new look (think rustic lodgepole pine beams and huge stone fireplaces) was inspired by the great lodges found throughout America's national parks. The work of Colorado artists can be found throughout the hotel. In addition to a new restaurant called Buffalos, there's the new Bachelors Lounge that caters to wine and spirits lovers and cigar connoisseurs. Stylish guests with an expense account can outfit themselves in fancy new gear sold at the outpost of the alpine shop Gorsuch. My favorite perk is returning to the hotel at day's end and being greeted with a hot cup of cocoa.
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The Best Bison Burger in Vail Valley
There's nothing like a burger and a beer after a long day on the slopes. The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch recently opened a new restaurant called Buffalos for the 2013-2014 ski season. True to its name, the restaurant serves a dozen or so dishes that showcase grass-fed Colorado bison. Guests can start their day with buffalo steak and eggs. Bison chili is a perfect dish to warm up with over lunch. But the not-to-miss dish is the bison burger, which comes topped with bacon aioli, pickled red onions, and a fried egg. The bar provides a great meeting spot for après ski and has an amazing beer program that highlights local Colorado brews. If you're craving a cocktail, try the Bourbon Wildflower.