August 14, 2017
Blog Number 3
The Vail Valley/One of the Great Time Share Markets
We will focus on one of the great time share markets in the country in today’s issue. I have logged well over a year’s worth of time in Vail Valley over the past 15 years and have always enjoyed the activities, views, weather, and fine restaurants. Once more, the valley continues to invest heavily in infrastructure, new projects, and improved traffic circulation. This has brought new restaurants and more exciting reasons to continue to visit the valley. Vail now boast over 5,280 acres of ski-able terrain, with 193 trails, seven back bowels, and one ski run, Riva Run, that logs over four miles from start to end. It’s cousin, down valley by three exits, is world famous Beaver Creek, a large master planned European Village themed around a center ice rink, old school stonework, large art pieces and water features including a two story waterfall near the top of the village. Beaver Creek is often home to many exciting skiing events like the World Cup and Alpine Ski Championships. It sports over 1,800 acres of terrain served by 25 ski lifts, most of them high speed. The summer in the Vail valley has also become quite popular with cultural events at top venues in each town, as well as a number of summer sport tournaments which now attract summer visitors all over the country. Soccer has become quite popular in the summer. The broad array of white water rafting, snowmobiling, hiking, horse back riding and world class golf are just some of the reasons the Vail valley winter and summer seasons are now pushing slightly into the shoulder seasons as hotels, condos, and time shares have more reason than ever to flock here.
The extended Vail and Beaver Creek markets now include over 30 worthy time shares projects with most qualifying as Category One and Two projects. There are a few Category Three projects that help provide more affordable rates for many families but the prime luxury time shares served by restaurants and ski-in/ski-out are now running over $1,000 a night for a two bedroom in prime ski season. Category One 3 and 4 bedrooms can more than double on the rental market. Off season rates can be a bargain but open times with huge discount windows are becoming a bit more rare than ten years ago due to rising demand for summer occupancy.
In today’s blog we are going to feature what has been rated the top winter time share in the United States, as well as the Ritz Carlton in Vail, two of our favorite time share stays. We are also going to feature two of the most beautiful lakes in the Vail Valley as well as in the state of Colorado. Both are well worth the trip and only cost you your energy to visit.
The Westin in Avon, Colorado:
The Westin Resort Hotel and spa has been voted the number one resort destination property in the United States off and on over the years by various agencies. It is easy to see why once you visit the property. It is located in Avon, the town just below the gates of Beaver Creek. This property has the unique advantage of sitting on the river, which divides around the property on both sides, providing terrific river views from almost every room. The property has 68 guest rooms but also is part of the Westin Vacation program. Part of the property is therefore dedicated to time shares, with some of the best views in Avon. In addition, the property was able to get a chairlift approved that departs right out of the building, and while technically not ski-in/ski-out, provides the exact same benefit. This property was very well designed to maximize views, provide 5 star ski service, and has restaurants and entertainment on site. It is also within easy walking distance to other area restaurants. The summer experience in this hotel is also worth the visit. A quick check in August shows room starting at $249 but taxes and the $34.00 resort fee have now pushed this mega resort up to $300.00 a night off season. Winter rates are of course much higher. For us time share users, this is one to pay attention to as their time share program is the way to go if you want a comfortable villa here for years to come. They have luxury three bedrooms up to 1,900 sqaure feet. Many of the larger top villa’s have rounded glass with floor to ceiling views that are some of the best in the Vail valley. We of course recommend doing the math research we talk about in “Mastering Your Time Share” to understand how best to acquire the right to stay in this property. This is one destination property you buy into just for this property. It is truly a one of a kind.
The Ritz Carlton- Vail:
I have been staying at the Ritz Carlton in Vail for over 15 years now and it continues to delight and surprise on every visit. I have enjoyed this location and usually stay in the four bed room and have friends and family join me. It is truly a marvel in every way and the experience is always memorable. The property sits on the west end of Vail with a Marriott hotel across the street to the east and down valley about one half mile, sits four more Marriott time shares properties, each offering a different price point, allowing families to pick the program best for their stay. I like to call this the Marriott Mile. Of course us Marriott loyal know that Marriott owns the Ritz so we have executive cross-over privileges to use our time share currency with a certain amount of membership buy-in.
The Ritz has become a favorite and has one of the best pools in Vail because it enjoys maximum sun exposure due to the way the pool was designed to fit into the building. It also sports top mountain views while in the pool. This property has always provided me with excellent shuttle service to any restaurant I have wanted to go to, and therefore driving once I get here is rare, but for planned day trips out of the area. The villa’s are superbly appointed right down to martini shakers and Bose music. The kitchens are stocked with separate wine refrigerators and each villa comes with a complete set of wine glasses, one for every type of wine. Most villa’s over 2 bedrooms have multiple decks and many have floor to ceiling views. Nothing here not to like. Top service 24 hours a day, plenty of luxury as each room has a separate bathroom. Even the laundry rooms are luxurious. As those of you know the best part of these $250 plus a night per room apartments (4 bedrooms run as high as $1,000 a night-off season) is we use our time share currency to check in and out, leaving our $13,000 stay at $0.00, over and over every year.
The Ritz Carlton-Bachelors Gulch:
Sitting almost half way up the Beaver Creek Mountain, Bachelor Gulch is really for the avid skier looking for the top skiing experience. Of course this Ritz sports three restaurants (with the new WLYD) opening this season, and comes with all of the expected Ritz Carlton service. Since the property is self-contained on the hill, the restaurants provide great food on site, since walking to somewhere else in not a likely option unless you enjoy steep hikes and long walks. That said the on site experience is worth the stay. Just watching the wildlife and snowfall from this location is a wonder to behold. The pool and jacuzzi’s also provide prime winter viewing with skiers coming right down to the base and turning to get into the Chair lift line. If the fence was not there, they could just ski right into the pool. Summer also provides views and hikes worthy of a summer visit. This one is for the purest, looking for that prime winter night stay. Since you are already half way up the mountain, chairing up in the AM, gets you near the top on your first run out of the property. Plenty of energy going on after skiing, the apres menu after skiing is pure Ritz and the vibe is international, as their cliental circles the globe to get here in December. A bucket list even if you don’t ski and only make it here one time.
Unbelievable Half Day Hikes:
I have known people who have come to Vail or the Vail valley for over thirty years and yet they have never been to two of the United States most spectacular lakes. Today we are going to feature two of them, both an easy drive to get to from the Vail Valley. The first is actually discovered by leaving Vail right in the middle of town, with departure starting off the norther frontage road at the Sandstone exit, where you head into another of Vail’s prime residential area’s. About a half mile up the road you will find the Lake Piney exit. From there you will travel 9.0 miles on a dirt road to get to Piney Lake. You should have a vehicle with good tires and decent suspension. Something is going to feel the bumps. It is either your spine or your suspension. Driving at a moderate yet safe pace you will arrive in thirty minutes. When you get about 20 minutes in the road heads up and splits down without warning. You will want to head down. As I rationed, there are not a lot of lakes at the top of any mountain.
There is really nothing I can write that can compare with photographs so I will let the photographs below do most of the talking. Truly one of the prettiest lakes in Colorado set among the Rockies. The lake has opened and closed restaurants over the years but on this day, a new, bigger restaurant was open. I did not sample the food and being a Foodie, this might have been a mistake. I am always looking for the best of the best. The complex sports a handful of larger cabins for rental in the summer and I can only imagine what waking up to this setting must feel like but if done even one time, would like mandate return visits. My guess is reservations may book out a year or longer. Lake Piney grows everything big. This includes the Mousse and Bear. Bring your camera and be ready. On the day I drove up to take pictures, there was a 700 pound Mousse drinking from the far side of the lake. You spot him in the far background in the photo below. He was a wonder to watch. Hiking is plentiful and provides some of the best vista’s in the Vail area. This is a must go trip and requires very little hiking ability. Unlike the next trip, this is one where the car does most of the work. The lake trails are flat or contain pretty soft grade changes. Heading there into September provides beautiful views of the leaves starting to change. The gate to Lake Piney closes in late fall making due to snow potential. Even one snowfall would make getting back home impossible if it were a big storm. Therefore, the short summer window is all we get to enjoy this magnificent lake.
The Hanging Lake trip is very different from your average hike, lake trip or outdoor
adventure. For one it is down valley well into the Glenwood Springs Tunnel and Highway that was built
to ferry cars through one of the prettiest canyons in the country. Just driving through Glenwood Canyon
is worth the trip. It is like taking a freeway through the Grand Canyon. About half way into the canyon is
the Hanging Lake exit, about a good mile and one half past the actual trailhead. So if going west out of
Vail, you need to exit and head back east for the actual parking lot exit. The biggest problem is this trip is
so popular there is just not enough parking. Even the over flow lot books full, leaving the noon arriver no
choice but to circle with 20 other cars looking for one space or you have to leave. Get there early is the
best advice. The second challenge is the actual hike itself. This is not so much a hike as it is a 2,500 step
stair climb. It is simply disguised as a hike.
Think of climbing the empire state building on a dirt trail. While there are actual 15 foot sections of trail
that do not have a step, they still go up. There is a reason this is called Hanging Lake. That is because it
hangs out in the clouds would be my guess. For the avid climber, biker, or 90 day skier in Colorado this
is just another walk in the park. For the rest of us, after getting 90 percent of the way there, if your
friend is a quitter they can actually talk you out of finishing, and start to head back down the hill,
exhausted. Don’t do it. Don’t go with anyone either out of shape, depressed, or who gives up easily. This
won’t work on this hike. The last three percent is intended to torture you. It ends with extra large step
up a wall staircase. Smokers beware. When at the top you will see one of the cleanest lakes ever. The
park service does not allow entry into this lake. I see why. It would not look the same if we jumped in.
They want it the way it was 100 years ago. No sunscreen, no human intervention. I cannot imagine the
blue hue beaming off the sunlight ever being the same if Coppertone added its two cents. Now one last
tip. Once you get there, catch your breath, the Gods at Hanging Lake have one last bonus. A huge
waterfall that sits above the lake. There is one slight problem. It requires one last hike and it is not
downhill. This is a must. It is only two more minutes, uphill of course so bring a fight song with you if you
need a motivational nudge. This is a good spot for it. You can always sing the USC or Notre Dame
Football anthem. Either one will get you there. Once there you will see one of most powerful waterfall
showers in the US. You can walk underneath this fall from grace and experience a nice chilling off. If you
are dumb enough to walk through it you will leave three inches shorter. Best to just walk around it.
Bring the camera, leave the cream rinse. This is one hike you will still be talking about at dinner.
Our Food Philiosophy at MYTS- I was a gourmet cook in college and I helped finance my college
education by learning how to cook at large parties in Beverly Hills, Calif, where I rented a guest house in college.
I was soon asked to cook for neighbors and other parties. Thank God I got to experiment with
the Hollywood famous. Somebody had to try my food. I have always enjoyed good food ever since. On a
future blog, I will tell some funny stories about this early experience I had when cooking for the rich and
famous. The main thing in life is to be confident, do your homework and well, just do it. This worked
pretty well or me the vast majority of the time. This is the reason we here at MYTS, will always endorse
great food or food receipes. They will be a larger part of future blogs for sure. In this never ending quest
we look to discover the best food in any area we visit.
The World’s “Most Best Taco” in the Vail Valley:
In Vail we found the World’s “Most Best Taco”
off the beat and path in the Vail Valley. The cost is $2.50. Scratch made with six home made sauces. This
place is the bomb except it is not a place. It is a food truck located in a small industrial area. Not exactly
the Ritz and anyone in route to Vail would never know about this place. It is a hidden gem. I would put
their taco up against anything in the Vail valley, at any price. If you are going west, exit Highway 6 at the
Midturn exit and continue west into town. Get ready to turn left at the “Most Best Taco Sign”. It comes
up fast on your left. Head down to the food truck. Can’s miss it. The brewery next store can provide a
nice cold one to go with your tacos.
10 th Mountain Limo-private Limousine Service:
Every now and then you meet someone who provides a
level of service and you just know you have found something special. Meet Dave Utes from Vail. A 20
year veteran of the Vail valley, Dave offers private car service from the Denver International airport and
from Eagle-County Regional Airport back and forth to the Vail Valley. He has relationships with all of the
top hotels and resorts and is a wealth of knowledge about where to go and what to see in the Valley.
More over he has a 20 years track record of getting families to and from the airport, safely and on time.
If you would like to try his service or would like a tip on Vail, feel free to give him a call at 970.445.7068.
Until next time.
John C Botdorf
Inventor, The Great American Travel Company