A Candy Cabin Adventure at Beaver Creek

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Sweet Memories

A Candy Cabin destination atop a soaring, snow-covered peak; the voyage of a tiny, first-time snowboarder off to conquer a swift-moving quad chair lift; reminiscing notable firsts and unfortunate falls as our boots dangled with the tops of trees; the gratification and reward of a true-to-life ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ pillage; and the winding trek back down the mountain. It was a bittersweet farewell to another season, melting slowly into the commencement of beloved springtime adventures.

The Tale of the Candy Cabin

As the story went… there once was a cabin, brimming with confections. There were barrels of taffy, jars of gummies, tubes of chocolates, and shelves of delicious treats. However, this particular cabin was precariously placed far from reach. It required a Candy Cabin adventure to an elevation most children wouldn’t dare (without a responsible adult, a ski lesson or two, and proper winter gear that is).

The tale was alluring, and the venture intriguing. I was mostly sure that if I didn’t pack our bags right away, I might wake to find my little Hansel and Gretel trailing breadcrumbs through the forest.

Beaver Creek is our favorite family staycation!” It’s the pitch I was given. Luckily for my adorable little negotiators, they were right – we all love Beaver Creek – and, a visit from the Auntie was in the works. Beaver Creek would be the perfect destination for our last hurrah of the season.

The Candy Cabin was everything they had dreamed, and the joy of braving the terrain to arrive safely at our destination was all part of the enchantment. The twinkle in their eyes and the giddy giggles as they hugged barrels of sweets told the stories of their hearts. I knew this was a day they wouldn’t soon forget!

The sugar rush contributed to a delirium of bravery as we sped our way safely back to the bottom of the mountain to have a relaxing patio lunch and après ski Colorado brew – the perfect toast to another amazing escape at Beaver Creek.

Beaver Creek Candy Cabin

  • Top of Strawberry Park, Avon, Colorado 81620
  • Operational Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Price Range $
  • Phone (970) 754-5539
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Late Season Ski Fix…Monarch Mountain

Just for a weekend, but squeezed it all in…epic powder @ Monarch Mountain, Amicas, The Jug, Patio Pancake, Riverside Park, Tenderfoot, F Street Bridge views of the Arkansas River and invaluable time with family and friends in a little town dear to my heart…Salida, CO.

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Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Commence L’Adventure!

Four amazing seasons; brilliant blue skies; temperatures that let you work up a sweat without overheating…and glorious views from atop peaks piled with fresh, untainted powder? Oh no, it’s not a dream ~ this is COLORADO ski country.

There’s just something about the freedom, coupled with the awe of such a magnificent creation – an offering of unrefined nature at altitudes of such magnitude…ok, so maybe I need more oxygen up there, right? Well, if delusion are my poison, I’ll take them because this really is the stuff dreams are made of.

That is precisely the reason I don’t just want to – I have to – teach my children the skills to get them to the top of those majestic peaks…not metaphorically (well, yes, that too)…rather literally, to the summit because, even if the only way down is intimidating at best, there’s just something incredible about the whole experience.

So, where does it all start?

At the base of the mountain – and if you’ve planned your vacation to perfection, you’ll eat, sleep and play at the base, slowly working your way to the top. Sound intense? Not so much…I’m talking about luxurious accommodations at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek.

 photo credit: concierge

The Park Hyatt is located at the epicenter of it all. It’s a true ski-in/ski-out offering the finest amenities and in perfect proximity to daily, complimentary three o’clock chocolate chip cookies (served by chefs in white hats!)…Sweet tooth aside, let me tell you, Park Hyatt is the premier Colorado vacation destination…and for some very good reasons – these are just my top five:

  1. Children’s ski school is located right next door. Benefit: no shuttling in to drop the kids off (important need-to-know tip, because if you’re traveling to the base of the mountain every morning, you’re loosing a lot of value in your ski-in/ski-out accommodations).
  2. You won’t get lost! I may be one of the few people truly at risk for this, but having spent an inordinate amount of time navigating my way back to resorts nestled in discrete locations on the mountain, I can attest – this is an important feature, ha!
  3. Ski and boot valet. Not just a fancy locker room with automatic doors and boot warmers – this is the real deal. If you’ve ever tried to juggle skis, boards, boots and poles for – not just yourself – but you kiddos too, you understand the value of this service.
  4. Après Ski S’mores by the fire pit…including HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS. I kid you not. Gourmet flavors created to marshmallowy, melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Your kids will love ‘em too, wink!
  5. All the other wonderful offerings that a five-star resort and spa might have to offer…breathtaking views, fabulous dining, heated towels and robes, outdoor pools, jacuzzis galore, heated walkways, kid-friendly hot toddy hut, full-service spa, hot cocoa in the lobby, wonderfully cozy beds, turn down at night – lovely toffee bars (I may have gracefully accepted the bars but gave a rain check on the service…and he offered a couple extra bars – good trade) and pretty much anything and everything you might want…because I’m pretty sure they’d do it for you! That’s one of the greatest things about the town of Beaver Creek – they have impeccable customer service!

Before you book your trip, be sure to check out the Park Hyatt’s latest promotions! One of my favorite new features: Pampered Pooches. Read how this lodging option will forever change the life of one of our dearest family members – our sweet Fiona Belle – and the suffering she endured during our road trip to Wyoming, ugh! “So You Can’t Spoil a Baby…How About a Furry One?”

VIEW OUR FULL VACATION PHOTO JOURNAL!

Thanks to Park Hyatt for being a gracious host, putting up with my quandaries, welcoming families, taking a green initiative…and for loving our furry babies!

So You Can’t Spoil a Baby…How About a Furry One?

Read about the finest accommodations for our four-legged friends in Colorado…and our Wyoming summer road trip that was an obnixious comedy of errors making for a bummer of a vacation for our sweet Fiona Belle.

“So You Can’t Spoil a Baby…How About a Furry One?”

 

A Day in the Life…Park Hyatt, Beaver Creek

Not too shabby, huh? Ok, I admit I was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY thrilled to do a review at the #ParkHyattBeaverCreek!!! AMAZING. Need I say more? Well, of course I will – but not yet – because I have a story in the que…and then another after that. (Do I know myself too well or what!?) I was a bit too excited not to share photos. Check it out:

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Special thanks to Park Hyatt for hosting/Nana for last-minute kiddo rescue/Best Friend Ever for putting off a little work to ski fresh powder at BC…oh, and for almost dying at the top of Golden Eagle (Double Diamond Black – Super Scary Terrain) following a HUGE snow storm WITH limited visibility…and remaining my friend after all that!

Learn to Ski/Board on the Cheap @ Echo Mountain

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Wouldn’t it be great to have a ski area close enough to Denver to avoid all the I-70 mess? How about a place with affordable prices, small enough to set the kiddos free – night skiing available (to squeeze a few runs in after work/school). I guess I’d wish for close-in parking, reasonably priced food and amazing views too…but we can’t have it all, right?

Well, maybe we can @ Echo Mountain!

Echo is fairly new to Colorado, privately owned and designed to meet the needs of families…but they let experts on the slopes too, particularly in the tricked-out terrain park, where boarders can be seen from the chair lift – entertaining crowds with their daring performances. The lodge offers spectacular views of the Rockies, free WiFi AND a close watch on the one, main lift as well as a good portion of the mountain. What does that mean to you? Well, if your kids are old enough, you can relax, work, surf the net and maybe even sip a cocktail…all while the kids take their wild energy to the slopes.

Not quite there yet? Echo has ideal accommodations for the little ones too! With a magic carpet, handle toe and several novice runs, you are assured opportunities for those in their early years on the mountain. Kid’s lessons are a good idea too. Get ’em up there young and they won’t have to endure the pains of adult learning!

Don’t forget to gear your little ones up right! “Best Winter Gear for Kids”

Best Winter Gear for Kids! (WIN Obermeyer Ski Coat/Pants & Name Bubbles)

Whether you’re hitting the slopes this winter or building snowmen in your backyard, you are going to want to bundle up – and with these top winter gear picks, your kids will be properly protected AND in great style!

(photo: Sheer Bliss Coat in Anthracite)

Obermeyer’s novel “I-Grow” System allows for your children’s winter wardrobe to grow right along with them. It is one of the most brilliant l ideas I have come across in my search for epic winter wear. Simply snip the colored thread at the wrists and ankles to extend the length up to two inches, allowing for an extra season (or two!). High waters will be a thing of the past with this original design. Another ingenious devise by Obermeyer – the “goodie pocket,” perfect for a healthy snack when you are too busy having fun to take a break…a favorite pick at our house: organic Wacky Apple fruit leather.


(photo: Mini McGyver Jacket)

From prim and proper to rugged yet refined, this military inspired casual wear will make a fashionable statement this winter. With quality materials and ultra- sturdy assembly (even the buttons are anchored on for a lifetime of wear,) these garments are ideal for little outdoor enthusiasts. Matching parent/child styles are absolutely adorable and perfect for a mild weather day on the slopes or an après ski hot cocoa and s’mores.
  


Frosty fingers and foggy goggles can quickly ruin a day on the slopes and choosing sunglasses over ski goggles can result in sunburned eyeballs (not fun) due to the glare reflecting from the ground up. Gearing your children up right will not only protect them from the elements but will ensure a great experience for the entire family. Gordini technology takes winter gear technology seriously – effectively balancing the body’s natural heat production with the loss experienced in cold temperatures. Quality ski gear is important…even for our tiny learners.  Don’t risk spending your winter vacation juggling uncomfortable hand warmers and making frequent defrost stops at the lodge.

This local, family owned company specializes in kid-sized snowboards and equipment. With fresh designs, free demos and a respectful vision for the moral of the sport, this young company is pioneering a new generation of little shredders. Start skill building early and avoid the pain of adult learning – I think I’m still recovering from a Winter Park boarding lesson last season…I’ll stick with skis for a while.

  
After carefully selecting your winter gear, you will want to protect it from the ominous lost and found…and help your children recognize their valuable belongings in the heaps of skis, boards, helmets, coats and other items at the lodge. These fashionable stickers are not only visually appealing, they are amazingly durable – laundry and dishwasher safe – read about by inadvertent home test on this product: Honey, I Shrunk the Sippy Cup.
 
 

ENTER TO WIN at Mile High Mamas! 

 

Contest deadline is January 29, 2012.

 
 
 

Vail Cascade Resort, Like Home (but better, shhhh)

You’ve heard the saying, “Your mamma don’t live here,” right? So, it’s sort of weird because I think my mother-in-law may have been at Vail Cascade Resort (my mom isn’t quite that neat, ha!). Seriously, this place takes care of you…like your mama but your mom isn’t there – your husband’s either, phew. 

When we first arrived, my daughter took one look around the room, completely ignored the amazing view out the window of the chairlift moving gracefully up the mountain, zoned in on the humidifier and said, “Look mom! They knew I have a cough!” She had a point, they knew our needs before we arrived. A bit eerie, maybe. Excellent customer service, definitely!

Turn down in the evening was most appreciated, the chocolates on pillows absolutely adored by my children, but what impressed me more than any amenity I’ve ever experienced was the one-on-one attention at Vail Cascade. Not just the kind greetings, valet service, detailed explanation of local restaurants followed by reservations and directions from the concierge…no, it went far beyond that. I had hours of one-on-one time with the public relations manager at the resort. We had a fabulous breakfast buffet at the newly opened Atwater on Gore Creek (amazing views) followed by a personal tour of the ski resort – thanks Kirsten!

The service isn’t the only aspect of Vail Cascade that I found exceptional — the ski-in/ski-out was fabulous. Rentals can be picked up and stored on the first floor, and the chair lift is right outside the door. Ski-in is an option, but what I preferred was the download right back to the doorstep. This was my first time riding in the wrong direction on a chair lift – you’d think I would have tried this before now, right? Well, let me tell you – it freaked me out! I’m not even afraid of heights and I had to close my eyes for a moment, ha. There’s a lap bar and everything, so I was just being a wimp about the whole thing. The second ride was much better and I was able to enjoy the amazing views.

The Mountain
Vail ski resort is known for some of the best skiing in the state. They offer private mountain guides at a very reasonable rate, and I’d highly recommend it – there is just so much out there – it could take days to discover what you’re really looking for. If you don’t go with a guide, be sure to ask someone to point you in the right direction.

If your kiddos are on the mountain, they’re going to love the fun obstacles and tree skiing Vail offers for youngsters. There are several beautifully carved wooden statues to keep their eyes up and help them navigate their way down the slopes.

Cascade KidVenture at Aria Spa
One of our favorite things about Vail Cascade was the entertainment offered at KidVenture. Our children absolutely loved stringing beaded necklaces and stuffing their own build-a-pet animals, “Spike the Dog” and “Huggy Bear.” Our seven-year-old participated in a boot camp, which included several exercises that he compared to Karate Kid training, ha. He thought it was just wonderful and his parents did too…as we enjoyed KidVenture from the gym, hot tub and steam room upstairs!

Kid Venture offers a variety of crafts and activities – all amazing quality and top-notch instructors. Check out the schedule before you go!

  

Obermeyer
Thanks to our Obermeyer sponsorship, we were warm on the slopes and around the town of Vail. We didn’t look too shabby either! Our outfits were equipped with Synergy fabric technology, Hydrolock FS seam seal and  RECCO avalanche protection system – a radar which, when activated can help locate a lost or buried skier.

If you like the look, here’s what we were sporting:

Noelle, avid skier for the “almost four” age group! 
Bliss Jacket $149.50
Marshmallow Stripe LoveFleece Bib $99.50
I-Grow shoulders and full system with adjustable interior waist drawcord and belt loops.  Windproof, water-resistant, breathable lining.

   

Silas, epic snowboarder, age 7
Brody Jacket $169.50
Bomber design comes to kids in faux leather, satin quilted lining and faux fir trim. A waterproof breathable insulated jacket with rib knit waist band, removable faux fur collar and our ‘I-Grow’ system for extended wear.
FMX Pant $79.50
(Freestyle Motocross) There isn’t a guy or girl who won’t want this one!!! Go fast and be warm. Fastex belt closure and double layer seat for the authentic rider.

Jaime – mom on skis, age undisclosed, wink
Kennedy Jacket $389.50
This is a true winter jacket integrating 20,000mm waterproofness with breathable, flexible material.
Royale Pant $249.50

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