By Eric Barton
City & Shore Magazine
As Floridians, we have maybe an uncommon desire to be warm. And so this story about ski vacations will begin with just simply the coziest moment that could exist.
It happened last year, on Christmas Eve, at a log cabin called Trappers. It’s perched mountainside above Beaver Creek, Colo. Out the bay windows is a stand of aspen trees, their white skin dotting a greeting-card landscape of waist-deep snow and mountain peaks just beyond.
Inside, though, the fireplace rages. Holiday music is turned down so the kids can watch a Christmas movie. They cuddle under blankets and sip something warm. And then, dinner’s ready.
Chef Ryan Murray starts them off with a bowl of caramelized apple and butternut-squash soup, which will make sure there’s not one inch of them still cold from a day spent on the slopes. Then comes a roasted beet salad. Then a beef tenderloin roast with bacon and blue-cheese gratin, grilled asparagus, roasted tomato, and a pinot noir demi-glace. Tableside, the chef carves the tenderloin roast. A chocolate berry truffle ends the meal.
And the extended family eating this meal? The ones spending the holidays at this cabin? They dine in their PJs.
This is white-glove skiing. This is the ultimate luxury mountain vacation, a $50,000-per-week splurge that turns a jaunt to Colorado into something entirely more special.
It’s part of a trend in ski trips these days, forgoing the roughing-it trips that used to define the mountains. Instead, it’s five-star meals and private concierges and not a single neglected care.
Catering to the affluent skier is something that Beaver Creek has been doing for years. Heated sidewalks and staff members in sharp uniforms carrying ski gear has been a staple. But lately the trend is more luxurious, whatever can be done to earn one more star.
“We are providing a very personal-touch experience,” says Houston Perkins, general manager of The Osprey, a boutique resort at Beaver Creek.
The appropriately named White Glove Winter Package includes every step: helicopter ride up the mountain, a Sno-Cat across the ridge to Trappers, Chef Murray at your beckon, and someone worried about everything you need.
His name is Devin Klepper, and he’s officially called the cabin keeper. “At first, most people say, ‘Oh, we won’t need you very much,’” Klepper says. “By the end, I’m on their speed dial.”
The cabin keeper, he’s there at breakfast, serving a spread of eggs-to-order and waffles and fresh fruit. He’s got something incredible to snack on prepped for you when you return from the slopes. He picks up the kids from ski lessons. He’s the one making sure snow is cleared off the cover of the hot tub. His goal: get you relaxed.
“I’ve probably served more dinners to people in their pajamas than anything else,” Klepper says. “I want to make sure they’re on decompression mode.”
It would be hard to be in any mode but that at Trappers, a four-bedroom, four-bath home painted the color of the aspens that surround it, red trim almost glowing in the snowy landscape. The skiing or snowshoeing starts from the front door, at 9,500 feet, and a lift ride back up returns you nearby.
Chef Murray can be there for every dinner, ready to make something off a set menu, or maybe just something on a whim. Lamb roast, one guest requested recently, so Murray called the butcher. In fact, at Christmas Eve dinner last year, one of the daughters ended up being a vegetarian. She had brought her own ingredients, just in case, so Murray cooked them up. Instead of slicing her a cut of the roast, he made a spaghetti-squash pasta with goat cheese, kale and tomato.
“It makes it homey to cook for them right there,” Murray says. “You’re sharing with them the holidays, and so it makes it pretty special.”
The next morning, on Christmas, Klepper returned early, serving up eggs and waffles. The family needed a big breakfast – because a white Christmas means another day on the slopes. And a fire waiting at Trappers at the end of it.
First-class airfare, helicopter transportation up the mountain, and private car service all come included in this package for four from Beaver Creek Resort. From there, everything is covered, from a private chef to a private ski instructor to a personal cabin keeper. If $50,000 a week is too steep, Trappers Cabin is also available at $2,500-$4,500 per night.