Pick a Spa, Pick a Ski Destination

Outdoor Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

You’re missing out on a good chunk of fun and relaxation if you think your whole mountain experience has to be all about hitting the slopes. Sure, there’s nothing like spending day after day in the fresh air, carving perfect turns on buttery snow or picking through exquisite, diamond-shaped moguls. Yet even the most die-hard skiers and boarders need a day off. Or maybe just a half day. Or how about a couple days off? It’s supposed to be a vacation after all. You don’t want to feel like you need a vacation after your vacation, do you? How about après-ski—don’t those moments represent some of the best of your whole ski vacation? Those delicious hours of the day don’t have to be all about drinks at the bar.

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

O.K., admit it, time spent at the spa would be much appreciated. And in case you haven’t noticed, spas aren’t just for ladies. Men (and even in some cases, children) enjoy delightful times there, as well, especially in the Rockies where top ski destinations boast some of the finest spas in the country. It seems as though resort and spa experts really “get it” in the mountains. They realize that in a rugged land where you play hard there’s even more of a need for spas that focus on ultimate relaxation and hydration, privileged enclaves where the weary outdoor enthusiast can go to unwind and rejuvenate. Best of all, most of these spas rate high on ambiance. From cozy mountain elegance to alpenglow serene, there’s a spa and a vast menu of treatments from which to choose for everyone’s taste.

There’s still plenty of time to plan a great mid-winter or spring ski trip. Act fast though since with every additional snowfall, the airlines seem to bump up their prices. (Note that as I post this we’re delighting in a major snowstorm that has already dumped about 1 1/2 feet on most of Colorado’s mountain resorts.) As with all travels, there’s much to consider when planning your vacation. I suggest you factor in the spa component more than ever before. You never know when the skiing might go south (even for just a few days) and as we all know, there’s nothing like a spa experience to alleviate a mountain of stress.

I’ve highlighted some of my favorite Colorado mountain spas below. All are contained within places of lodging, however, you don’t necessarily have to stay at that resort to experience the spa. All open their facilities to outside guests for the price of a treatment or in some cases, a day pass.

My Lap Lane of Luxury at The Peaks Resort & Spa

The Spa at The Peaks, Telluride

I’m lucky enough to claim this expansive spa and fitness center as part of my home turf. I come here as often as I can and always leave relaxed and restored. Perhaps the largest and most impressive among my Colorado mountain spas featured in this story, The Spa at The Peaks encompasses thirty-two treatment rooms, a sleek fitness center, private men’s and women’s lounges, a full-service hair and nail salon, numerous saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, Roman tubs and two pools including a lap pool and an indoor/outdoor pool as well as a lovely gift shop. They also offer a variety of classes from yoga to Zumba. From most vantage points at The Peaks, you gaze out at awe-inspiring peaks, a panoramic vista that enhances your spa sensations tenfold every season of the year. This is also a terrific kid-friendly spa (although there are plenty of private areas for adults). I’m always amazed by the amount of energy the kids display romping in the indoor/outdoor pool and zipping down the water slide after big days on the slopes or out hiking. Come early to claim your poolside chaise lounge in the summer since the outdoor pool at The Peaks is a Telluride favorite. Note that I enjoyed a fabulous facial here by Tricia, an excellent esthetician, and that the spa uses Isun, a locally-made line of beauty products, in most of their treatments. For a fun story about my spray tanning experience at the salon, read Spray Tanning:  Bronzage in a Bottle.

Himmel Spa, Fairmont Franz Klammer Lodge, Telluride

Outdoor Pool at The Fairmont Franz Klammer

Easily considered one of the best-kept secrets of Telluride, most people don’t realize that this boutique spa may be enjoyed even if you’re not staying at The Klammer. I love the intimate, low-key feel of the spa which includes indoor and outdoor hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas and a cozy welcome area and treatment rooms which exude a heartwarming chalet-like feel. Come early to experience the rooftop adult-only hot tub before your treatment and dare to go naked (I did!) if you slip quickly into the bubbling water. A massage with Darren is a must, especially if you’re in need of good muscle work and great healing therapy.

Read Telluride’s Ultra Luxe Mountain Spas for other luxury mountain spas in Telluride. Note Capella changed ownership this year and is now called Hotel Madeline. For more boutique-y spa experiences in T-ride, read Telluride’s Beauty Boutiques.

The St. Regis Aspen

Remède Spa, St. Regis Resort, Aspen

The Cold Pool at Remède

For me, Remède is the spa to go to in Aspen. It exudes all the luxury and discretion of this high-end property. If you’re lucky enough to be staying at the St. Re gis, you can pad down to the spa in your robe, otherwise plan to spend a good chunk of time here, the way so many of the Aspenites do for a variety of treatments from a Purifying Wrap to a Rejuvenating Pedicure. A great address for couples or even a spa day with the girls, each spa experience begins with a delightful spread of sweet and savory snacks and ends with a glass of champagne. Arrive well in advance of your treatment to enjoy Remède’s many amenities including a comforting oxygen lounge and a Confluence hot tub with waterfall, both leisurely features shared best à deux. It’s all so transformative and relaxing that you just might need to book a stay here after all.

Allegria Spa, Park Hyatt, Beaver Creek

Mountain View Suite Treatment Room at Allegria

Whether you’re a visitor or a resident of Colorado, it seems that you can never get enough hydration in this arid climate. We all try to drink gallons of water and slather ourselves with triple-moisturizing oils and creams. Yet it’s never enough. For the supreme gift of moisture, experience aqua sanitas, or healing waters, at Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. Inspired from the ancient tradition of Roman baths, here you may take to the waters in a variety of forms before your treatment (such as a facial or massage) even begins. Start at the Thermae Pool, a hot, co-ed pool, evocative of a natural spring. The rest of your hydrotherapy is enjoyed in separate male and female areas where you’’ll want to sample their Cascata Rainshower, their Caldarium Steam Room and Mineral Pools and their Tepidarium, a room bathed in light where you laze upon heated, tile loungers. My visit at Allegria culminated with an ultra-hydrating facial, expertly provided by Jennifer. I left so relaxed that I couldn’t muster the energy to shop in Allegria’s boutique, a fabulous-looking emporium of potions and lotions that begged to be discovered. Men take note:  this might be one more reason to send your ladies to the spa more often.

Vichy Shower at Allegria

Bachelor Gulch Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

The Stone Grotto at Bachelor Gulch Spa

I love the Rocky Mountain feel of this whole resort, a look that’s largely conveyed through the use of lots of natural materials such as wood and stone. The Bachelor Gulch Spa also embodies this back-to-nature approach, especially within its Stone Grotto, a relaxation area distinguished by stone walls and a wood ceiling where men and women lounge about within a tranquil and private setting. To me, it felt like a luxurious womb, especially after a dip in the Grotto’s warm, saline pool. It’s easy to curl up poolside for a nap. Fortunately this restful moment might only be interrupted by your therapist gently awakening you for your treatment. I had a massage with Adam, a session marked by his skillful hands and heating pads applied to my back and shoulders, an added feature never before experienced with a massage. Afterward, my hunny and I sat outside of the Great Room around the fire pits to take in the sunset before finally moving inside for drinks. We sunk deeply into their huge, leather couches, expressing gratitude that we had cut our ski day short to spend such a long, languorous moment at The Bachelor Gulch Spa, most definitely one of the most intimate and romantic spas we had ever encountered together.

As I look back upon my time at many of the above resorts, I realize that these spa experiences flood my mind as much as my memories on the hill. It’s my bet that they’ll have the same effect on you as well.

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