By Kemmie Ryan
By Kemmie Ryan
From the outside, The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch looks like it’s always been there, nestled along towering pine trees and breathtaking Rocky Mountains, almost hidden from view.
Black-and-white photos you’ll see of this soaring, log-cabin-style lodge—located four miles from the Beaver Creek ski mecca—might indicate it was built even before Vail Resorts (which also operates Keystone, Breckenridge, Park City, and many more) began buying and developing ski properties in the area more than 40 years ago.
However, the minute you step inside this magnificent, five-star resort in remote Avon, you realize that everything you’re about to experience from here will live up to the legendary brand that is The Ritz. Since 2002, the property has served as the ultimate escape for skiers and non-skiers alike, with multiple snowshoe hikes, unique access to Beaver Creek Mountain (and now, the newly debuted McCoy Park terrain), a chic après ski scene, divine culinary offerings, a 21,000-square-foot spa, and a Ritz Kids’ program that includes a Ski Nanny (do we need to say more?)
While there is much to do here even in summer months (imagine access to the finest Vail Valley and Beaver Creek golf courses), this year, it’s all about the winter ski season where the property will put the finishing touches on its recent renovation in time to celebrate a milestone 20-year anniversary.
And yes, you’re invited. Now the only question is, what do you want to do first?
Whether you’re craving the thrill of a black diamond slope or are just along for endless spa treatments and boozy concoctions by the fire, this is a place where you can literally choose your own mountain adventure (ask about the in-room camping). We’ve put together a little guide to help you chart your course.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is notorious for exceptional skiing and the most seamless ski-in, ski-out experience in the region. From the resort’s ski concierge to the vast mountain terrain for all ski levels, it really doesn’t get better than this.
With more than 2,000 acres of diverse terrain, Colorado’s Beaver Creek is perfect for making fresh tracks, riding moguls, or cruising down groomed runs. You are literally within moments of the area’s best skiing for all skill levels. Ski-in, ski-out privileges, an in-house outfitter, a ski and snowboard school, and a dedicated concierge are just a few of the perks of staying here.
The resort also now offers premier access to the newly debuted McCoy Park terrain. The expansion includes 17 trails and 250 acres of ski terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers as well as a family-friendly learning area. And if that wasn’t enough, Vail is just 15 minutes away—offering more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain, including seven legendary Back Bowls spanning seven miles and three terrain parks to cater to skiers of all levels.
If skiing isn’t your thing, the resort offers many other wintery activities that doesn’t require a lift. There are seven different snowshoe hikes, including select routes that are timely for the season.
Want to admire the silhouettes of the Rocky Mountains, then the sunset snowshoe hike is for you. If you want to get some (snowshoe) steps in, opt for the village-to-village snowshoe hike—a serene four-mile trek from Bachelor Gulch to Beaver Creek village.
But perhaps the most alluring route (and one you’ll be talking about long after you get home) is a stargazer snowshoe tour that reveals the splendor of the mountains at night under a glimmering sky. That epic experience can be followed by warm signature cocktails in The Great Room, which leads us to our next (and this author’s favorite) category.
Sometimes the best part of a Colorado winter getaway is what comes after you give the skis or snowshoes back to the concierge and settle comfortably for some après ski indulgence.
Even if your “active day” was back-to-back spa treatments, there’s something magical about having everyone come together in the evening around a delicious dinner or round of toasty drinks. Stacked stone, rich wood, nature-inspired artwork, a crackling fireplace, and lounge-worthy seating set the mood for mountain cuisine, barrel-aged cocktails, après ski fare and robust coffee.
Among a diverse array of culinary offerings, WYLD presents the finest from the valley, displaying bold cooking techniques and seasonal ingredients. Sakaba serves as Beaver Creek’s premier sushi restaurant, offering a menu of fresh sushi, sake, and craft cocktails in an intimate setting. Buffalos elevates gastropub cuisine in a Colorado-forward space with rustic wood and grand stone features, presenting a cozy atmosphere and warming appetites with their famous Bison chili.
For an authentic glam après ski or poolside dining experience, check out the Fireside Bar. Surrounded by mountains and forest, this barbeque restaurant features casual meals and signature cocktails. And then there’s The Great Room, a must-see on your Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch experience. A grand three-story stone fireplace is the centerpiece of this lodge-inspired lounge, where you can end your evening on a cozy couch with live music and decadent après ski offerings.
What’s up for tomorrow? Maybe it’s time to go back to that spa.
JUST SAY “AH”
Tucked into the mountain, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Bachelor Gulch mimics the resort’s stunning surroundings with treatments focusing on mind and body. As a guest, you will also have access to a veritable spa oasis of 19 treatment rooms, relaxation lounges with steam rooms, saunas, yoga rooms, plunge pools, and a stone-lined coed grotto.
Signature spa treatments incorporate locally sourced herbs, plants, and minerals, and address the familiar body aches you veteran skiers experience after days on the slopes.
The Miner’s Mineral Mud Wrap looks particularly appealing, even if you’ve done nothing all day. This mineral-inspired treatment uses indigenous ore that is hand mixed during the treatment to take you on a rejuvenating journey. Foraged from the depths of Colorado’s mines, activated charcoal mud is renowned for its powerful detoxifying properties. Coupled with amethyst oil, rose quartz salt, and shea butter, this is the perfect recipe for a calm mind and uplifted body. (Did we mention it also includes full body exfoliation, body wrap, scalp massage, hydrotherapy bath, and full body massage … ahhhh.)
Now let’s talk about the children.
Whether they’re your own littles or the grandbabies, the Ritz Kids program is a lifesaver. Catering to children ages 5 through 12, a full Rocky Mountain regime of memorable experiences full of adventure, creativity, and wellness awaits.
The resort’s beloved Ski Nanny program is also back this winter—a resource as amazing as it sounds.
Kids enrolled in the full-day Beaver Creek Group Ski School will be outfitted in gear by their Ski Nanny as well as escorted to and from their lessons on the mountains.
What this means is you have more time on the slopes, at the spa, or (who are we kidding?) the lounge. Last but not least, because the holidays are here and we’ve been invited to help celebrate a milestone, it’s time for a countdown.
Sounds pretty incredible, no? Maybe we’ll see you there.
For more information about The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, call 970-748-6200 or visit ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/colorado/bachelor-gulch. You can also follow the resort on Instagram at @theritzcarltonbachelorgulch.