BEAVER CREEK — Like all good things, it was my wife’s idea.
We were enjoying a perfect day of downhill skiing at Beaver Creek when Dianne noticed an advertisement posted on the chairlift safety bar.
“Look at this,” she said. “They’re offering guided snowshoe hikes followed by charcuterie and paired wines at the Osprey Fireside Grill. We should do this.”
I had no idea what “charcuterie” was, but I was game for anything involving wine. A week later, we returned to sample The Beve’ on snowshoes.
Our web-footed adventure began at Beaver Creek’s Nordic Center in the village, where we were fitted with warm boots and issued adjustable poles. Guide Carrie Larson led our group of 10 across the hard-packed snow to the Strawberry Park chairlift. Our uplifting ride ended at Beaver Creek’s Candy Cabin, where we received our snowshoes.
Bearing a Cheshire-worthy grin, Carrie led us into the McCoy Park Nordic Trail System, an area of groomed trails where alpine skiers and snowboarders are banned. Snowshoeing is as easy as walking, and even though my wife and I were the only snowshoe-traipsing veterans, the other eight members of our group trooped along like pros. The pace was slow and easy with Carrie stopping frequently to share details about the nature and history of the area.
The route went from tree-lined trails to naked hillsides where views extended across the valley to the craggy Gore Range beyond. With downhill skiing or snowboarding, attention is focused on the next turn. Here, we could look out and savor the beauty of the area.
Our turnaround point was a yurt with a remarkably clean porta potty standing nearby. After a short break, we began our trip back. At trip’s end, Carrie claimed that we had covered 3 miles.
To make up for any calories lost along the way, Carrie gave everyone a $10 gift voucher for the Candy Cabin, something Dianne gleefully took advantage of. Then it was down on the lift to the Osprey Hotel, where plates of cheeses and meats paired with glasses of chardonnay, pinot noir and méthode champenoise brut awaited.
The food, wine and conversation that followed provided a refreshing end to an alternative way to experience one of our premier Colorado ski resorts.
If You Go
Beaver Creek‘s Winter Wine excursions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $185 per person with equipment provided. The Nordic Center also offers snowshoe nature tours, fitness tours, private tours and complimentary family tours. Contact Beaver Creek (beavercreek.com, 970-754-5313) for more information and reservations.
The Walking Mountain Science Center offers free guided snowshoe hikes at Vail from the Nature Discovery Center located near the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. A one-hour family walk geared for young children begins at 11 a.m. daily, a nature walk departs at 2 p.m. daily and there’s an evening tour that departs at 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturday. Snowshoes are provided. Contact Walking Mountains (walkingmountains.org, 970-827-9725) for more information and required advance registration.
From Friday through Sunday and during holiday periods, Copper Mountain offers an assortment of free, three-hour tours led by their resort ambassadors. The more physically demanding morning tours depart at 10 a.m. Family-friendly, two-hour tours depart at 1 p.m. Snowshoes may be rented at the gear check area in the West Village. Contact Copper Mountain guest services (coppercolorado.com, 970-968-2882 ext. 45861) for more information and reservations.
Winter Park offers two-hour guided snowshoe tours departing at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily with advance purchase prices ranging from $54 to $64. Snowshoe rental is extra. Contact Winter Park (winterparkresort.com, 888-221-1806) for more information or reservations.
Steamboat offers free, 90-minute guided snowshoe tours departing daily from Gondola Square Ski & Sport, where snowshoe rentals are available. They also offer all-inclusive, guided gourmet snowshoe hikes daily for $65 that include lunch and a glass of wine at Hazie’s at the top of the gondola and moonlight snowshoe trips on Friday and Saturday evenings for $95 that includes dinner at Hazie’s. Contact Steamboat (steamboat.com, 800-922-2722) for more information and reservations.