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Why I Love Having Company Part II: Playing Tour Guide

January 24, 2013

Last week I told you all about the touristy activities I would love to partake in when my visitors arrive.  Since they get here today (yay!), I thought I’d better get to part two of why I LOVE having company in this gorgeous valley.  Now that I’ve lived here for almost 5 years, I feel like I am qualified to give my friends and family a sort of “best of Vail” tour.  That means taking them to my favorite spots, including ones they might not have known about without me playing tour guide. 

I will make sure we do…

A moonlight skin or snowshoe

I’ve never lived anywhere else where the full moon is so dramatic.  Between the crystal clear skies and the reflective, sparkly blanket of snow, the moon lights up the night here like I’ve never seen.  So particularly when guests happen to come at the time of a full moon, a moonlight skin or snowshoe is a must-do.

 

There is something so serene and awe-inspiring about being out in the quiet night with shimmering snow all around you.  I’ve only been on a few moonlight skins, but they rank as some of my favorite Colorado memories. When skinning, you wear skis with a telemark or A/T binding that releases at the heel, and sticky “skins” on the bottom of your skis that allow you to move up the mountain without sliding backward.  (Read this article for a description if you’re interested.)  Then, once you get to the top, you simply pull off the skins and ski down.  In the dark.  On an empty mountain.  It’s as awesome as it sounds.

Moonlight Skin

 I prefer skinning to snowshoeing because the ski down at the end is awesome, but since most visitors don’t come equipt with an A/T setup and skins, snowshoeing is an awesome alternative.  You can hike up as high as you’d like, crack open the beer or wine stashed in your backpack, drink a toast at the top, and head down when you’re ready.

I always bring a head lamp, but if the night is clear enough you often don’t need one.  Dress in layers because you’ll burn up on the way up and then cool down rapidly on the descent.  Most importantly, only try this with someone who knows where they are going and be mindful of mountain safety.  Remember that a lot of the animals you’d like to avoid are most active at night!

Provided we don’t get attacked by a mountain lion, I will then take them to…

The Golden Eagle for dinner

The Golden Eagle is hands-down my favorite restaurant in the valley, and easily one of my favorite restaurants I’ve ever been to.  In the name of full disclosure, the gracious owner of the establishment is none other than my uncle Don, BUT I know I would love this place even if I had no family connection to it.  It’s just that good.

The Golden Eagle is an upscale restaurant in Beaver Creek, so it’s not an everyday hangout like the brewery, but it is the one place I try to bring everyone who visits me.  The atmosphere is warm, modern, inviting and comfortable enough to linger for a 4-hour dinner (trust me, it’s been done).

 Somehow despite my countless meals at The Golden Eagle I can’t find any of my own photos of the interior, or more importantly, the food. Perhaps that means I should do a full review of the dinner we’ll have there this week?  The menu changes seasonally and focuses on fresh, local ingredients when possible.  My favorite recent dishes include the wild boar shank (to die!), elk loin and elk meatloaf.  They also have some tasty seafood dishes, but when this girl gets a chance to eat this good, it’s wild game all the way.

 They also do an awesome lunch that is ridiculously affordable compared to the $20 cheeseburgers and $6 Gatorades sold in the on-mountain eateries.  Yeah, we’re gonna have to do lunch and dinner there this week.  Another spot we’ll be sure to hit is…

The Gore Range Brewery for beers and dinner

Referred to by  regulars as just “the brewery” or “the GRB,” the Gore Range Brewery is like Cheers if Cheers had their own  micro-brews brewed onsite.  Go there often enough and everybody knows your name, your mug number, and what you’d like to fill it with.  It’s my go-to bar to meet up with friends, watch football, or have a few beers and dinner on a Friday night. 

The brewmaster, Jeremy, creates an ever-changing lineup of yummy beer (I’m a wine drinker still working on cultivating a true appreciation for beer, so that’s high praise).  This is an old shot of the board but my current favorite brew is the Belgian-Style Triple.

And the menu has a lot of variety and some truly tasty picks, like the brisket dip on a pretzel roll (ohhh the pretzel roll).

More than that, the bartenders, managers and staff are awesome and I spend enough time there that I consider many of them friends.  It’s a warm, fun place to hang out.  I always bring visitors here, partly because I’d be going to the brewery regardless of their visit, and partly because it’s a local gem that I want to show off.

Beaver Creek and Vail to go skiing or riding

File this one under “duh,” but I still think it’s worth mentioning.  These mountains are the main attraction around here, and it’s a blast to tour visitors around, showing them your favorite trails, powder stashes (when there is powder) and tree runs. 

Beaver Creek

Another bonus to skiing with company is that it forces you to really maximize your ski day.  We locals get lazy and picky, and a lot of my days on the hill last only 2 or 3 hours.  Skiing with friends who have paid for their lift tickets makes me focus on skiing a longer day and serves as a great reminder of why I love this sport and how satisfying a full day on the slopes can be.

So that’s my rough agenda for the next few days! I hope I succeed in showing my friends a great time out here and know it’ll be hard to go wrong.  Locals – where else do I need to take them?  Have I forgotten anything? 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    January 24, 2013 6:00 pm

    Nailed it.

  2. donna permalink
    January 25, 2013 7:54 am

    Elk anything at the Golden Eagle is THE BEST!

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