By Kim Fuller
Photography by Brent Bingham
More than three decades after Vail Mountain opened for skiing, Vail Ski Resort founder Pete Siebert envisioned bringing more European hospitality to the mountain. So in 1996 the Game Creek Chalet was built — an alpine cabin that sits on the side of Game Creek Bowl at 10,300 feet. Nestled in the trees and overlooking snowcapped peaks and sundrenched landscape, it is a little piece of paradise.
As luxurious as it is cozy, it is one of the most unique and elite respites offered in Colorado. The chalet is ideal for anybody who is looking to soak in the mountains away from the bustle of the ski village.
Because it’s truly ski-in/ski-out, private snowcats whisk you and your luggage up to the cabin to enjoy your dream-come-true vacation. And then you’re on your own — and ready to ski right out the door of your alpine retreat.
“Game Creek Chalet is the most exclusive lodging experience in Vail,” enthuses Zach Meyers, general manager of The Arrabelle at Vail Square, Meyers also oversees Game Creek Chalet as Game Creek guests check-in at the Arrabelle.
“The luxuriously appointed four- bedroom, five-bath Swiss-style chalet sleeps ten people, and provides immediate access to the back bowls of Vail,” adds Meyers. After a hard day on the mountain, guests can relax in a hot tub while taking in the spectacular mountain views. As well, they have access to all of the wonderful amenities at the Arrabelle at Vail Square during their stay, including a personal concierge, gourmet kitchen and personal chef service that all create an authentic feeling of being right at home.
After the last run of the day on the Ouzo slope of Game Creek Bowl, guests are welcomed by terrycloth slippers and oversized robes, paired perfectly with apr.s ski elixirs the hot tub on the open-air mountain deck.
It’s easy to imagine yourself here on an intimate family getaway or for a reunion of friends — watching the sunset while the fireplace crackles, enjoying cheese, charcuterie and the most warming of red wines.
Although the chalet stands next to Game Creek’s well-known on-mountain dining establishment, staying in to eat is a rare pleasure. A private chef is available for those who want to keep their dining experience effortless and refined.
“Our newly remodeled gourmet kitchen is perfect for entertaining, and for private chef dinners,” shares Meyers.
Breakfast can be arranged through your personal butler, also known as a “Cabin Keeper.” Guests can also enjoy private catered lunches and dinners as well. All of the culinary experiences and additional services at the chalet are available a la carte. And if guests want to step away from this oasis, there are restaurants just a snowcat ride away.
“Game Creek Chalet is an incredible mountain hideaway,” Meyers says, “and an ideal location for an adventurous getaway — executives planning a business retreat, friend and family reunions, a romantic retreat or for a powderhound’s getaway.”
And as for stepping outside, make sure to do that at least once before heading to bed, as you won’t want to miss the blanket of stars that covers the sky — leading you into dreams of fresh tracks in the morning.
So, imagine waking in the chalet, wrapped in a king-sized comforter and snuggled amidst the pristine setting of Vail Mountain in the morning. Upstairs from the bedrooms in the high-beamed great room, light streams into the kitchen, illuminating a plate of fresh fruit, croissants and coffee cake, all accompanied by the sounds and smell of fresh coffee brewing — a welcome preparation for the pre-ski dip in the steaming balcony tub. Step onto the deck and you may just encounter a fresh dusting of snow beneath your toes.
Though you might not want to leave this mountain paradise, the promise of crisp air and soft turns makes it a little easier. Getting true first tracks is definitely one of the most unique experiences while staying in Game Creek Chalet.
Guests staying at the Game Creek Chalet can ski directly out of the property into Game Creek Bowl, and access the Game Creek Express Lift (Chair 7) at its regular opening time each day and before the rest of Vail guests get there. Guests can always check their EpicMix app to determine which lifts at Vail are open.
Game Creek Bowl offers a variety of groomed and ungroomed runs. If a powder day is in the forecast, then each skier can decide a line. Typically, Game Trail — the run that brings guests into Game Creek Bowl — is groomed. The Game Trail (catwalk) from Game Creek Chalet connects to the merge point of Showboat and Dealers Choice, near Chair 7. Or, more adventurous guests can pop right out into Ouzo Glade before skiing down to the base of Chair 7.
Reservations for Game Creek Chalet can be booked by phone through the Vail Collection Reservations team at (800) 686-0974.
MORE MOUNTAIN GETAWAYS
Tennessee Pass Cookhouse & Sleep Yurts | Ski Cooper
For a little more of a rustic mountain experience, Tennessee Pass, located near Leadville at the base of Ski Cooper (about 45 minutes from Vail) is the place for you. The easy-to-access area features a Nordic center, cookhouse and sleep yurts available for a semi-adventurous and completely comfortable escape.
With 19 miles of groomed trails, the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center overlooks the Sawatch Mountains, and offers cross-country skis, snowshoes and fat bikes for rent. If you’re planning to stay the night, the sleep yurts are located 1.3 miles from the Nordic center, and accommodate up to six guests apiece (with three beds in each). Full linens and down comforters are provided, so there’s no need to bring a sleeping bag.
Those looking for full service cozy lunch or elegant evening can head a mile from the Nordic center or a third of a mile from the yurts to the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse. A menu of Colorado cuisine includes appetizers such wild boar sausage, and entrees like elk tenderloin, rack of lamb and rainbow trout.
Trapper’s Cabin Beaver Creek
Aspen and pine trees nestle in this luxurious getaway on Beaver Creek Mountain. Trappers Cabin is an elegant log cabin that sleeps up to 10, offering ski, snowboard and snowshoe access right from the cabin’s doorstep. It also features a cozy fireplace, hot rub and sweeping views of the Gore Mountain Range to the east and McCoy Park to the south. Guests can enjoy the experience of village-to-village skiing between Arrowhead, Bachelor Gulch and Beaver Creek village.
As a four-bedroom, four-bathroom private hideaway featuring log-beamed ceilings, pine-wood furnishings, large picture windows and Ralph Lauren-style accents, mountain comfort creates an inviting and authentic ambiance at Trappers. Guests have a Cabin Keeper that can reserve ski school, equipment rentals, massage therapists, a gourmet personal chef and any additional activities and requests.