The practice of meditation has become a popular way to calm a frenzied mind. (Although recent Colorado statistics aren’t readily available, about 18 million adults regularly engage in meditation nationwide.) Yet the staff at the Residences Viceroy Snowmass, a condominium-hotel hybrid in the Aspen area, wondered if its occupants could relax while staying in the present.
Enter forest therapy, an experience that includes a guided hike through local fir forests led by naturalists from Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES). Up to 12 participants at a time can spend two hours learning about the flora and fauna in the region, with the option to extend their stay in the woods thanks to “picnic backpacks,” which hotel staff can pre-pack with lunch.
These excursions fall under the umbrella of ecotherapy, which involves heading outside to improve your health. The nontraditional methods have been shown to lower heart rates and blood pressure—unsurprising, since nearly 30 percent of Americans don’t spend time outside on a daily basis.
“Getting out and connecting with nature is a great way to destress,” says Leticia Hanke, director of marketing for Related, the Residences Viceroy Snowmass’ developer. “That way, people can refocus on the more important things in life.”
This may seem obvious to many outdoorsy Coloradans, but many of the current or potential condo owners at the Residences Viceroy Snowmass hail from out of state and hold down second homes in the Rocky Mountain region, so they’re not as accustomed to the stress-reducing benefits of nature’s wealth of recreational activities. Even when they head indoors, though, they’ll be treated to a cleanse: During the hikes, staff will perform sage aromatherapy treatments in the participants’ rooms—so both their home and head spaces will be clear.
Follow editorial assistant Mary Clare Fischer on Twitter at @mc_fischer.