A Cabin in the Pines

We love the idea of getting away to a remote cottage in Colorado's high country. Yet, more often than not, that "sweet little rustic retreat" you rented online turns out to be a dusty, cold, bare-bones log dwelling with a tattered plaid sofa and animal heads on the walls. Truth is: It's just not that easy to find weekend escape-worthy cabins on your own. Which is why we've done it for you. Throughout Colorado, we found resorts that offer cozy, romantic, well-appointed cabins. If fluffy down comforters, rough-hewn furniture, and quiet nights by the fire are what you seek, we have a cabin for you.

November 2008

The Game Creek Chalet
Party on-mountain at this one-of-a-kind getaway.

The low purr of the snowcat slows to a stop as it sidles up to what looks like a typical slopeside warming hut. Logan Johnson, our sociable personal concierge, quickly grabs our overstuffed bags, both sets of skis, and a soft-sided cooler and jumps down to the snow. Weighed down by the baggage, he chivalrously offers me a hand as I disembark. Logan, my husband, Matt, and I then stand just outside the Game Creek Chalet and watch as our ride rumbles away through the trees.

Although it's perched on the side of Vail's gladed Game Creek Bowl, this is no warming hut. In fact, this is unlike any "chalet" I've ever seen. Spread out before us on three floors are three bedrooms, an entertainment room, five bathrooms, a dining/living area with an oversized fireplace, full kitchen with granite countertops, wet bar with mini-fridge, and an expansive deck complete with a six-person hot tub. It's more space than the two of us need on this trip, but my husband and I exchange a quick glance that says party house!

After Logan leaves to catch the next cat down the hill, we run around like kids trying to decide which bedroom to choose. We then turn to the next most important order of business: a dip in the hot tub. From the 103-degree water, we take in the spectacular view of Mount of the Holy Cross looming across the valley and watch skiers schuss through the trees.

The chalet's location makes for easy slope access for more advanced skiers. But if steeps aren't your thing, a seven-minute cat ride drops you at the Eagle Bahn Gondola with access to more intermediate slopes. But it's too late in the day for us to take any turns. Instead, we opt to break out the bottle of Barolo, along with the gourmet cheeses and meats we brought in our cooler, and play a competitive game of Monopoly by the fire. —LBK

Quick Tip There are no roads that lead to the Game Creek Chalet. It's snowcat or gondola and skis, or nothing. The last snowcat leaves for the chalet around 11 p.m. each night.

Where to Eat The Game Creek Restaurant sits adjacent to the chalet. Spend at least one night savoring chef Darrell Jensen's seared sea scallop appetizer, roasted beet salad, and grilled lamb loin. $59 for three courses, $72 for four courses, or $85 for five courses per person. For reservations, call 970-479-4275.

Special Touch Order a chef-prepared breakfast of mushroom and tomato omelets, hash browns, fresh fruit, yogurt, and coffee that's delivered right to the chalet door. Trust us, it's worth it.

How to Book It Price for the chalet varies greatly depending on the amenities you require. Rates in November start at $2,219 per night. Call 970-754-7777 or e-mail [email protected] to make reservations.