Skiers looking for exclusivity and luxury turn to Green Mountain, a private ski resort at Brush Creek Ranch.
Photo courtesy of Bush Creek Ranch
There’s nothing quite like slicing through a freshly groomed run at the start of a day’s skiing – the blue skies, tranquil mountain, tree-lined trails and nothing but a patch of snow to corduroy pattern in front of you.
The appeal of these new tracks is so strong that it even made its way into a storyline on the Showtime hit. Billions. During his brief foray into private practice in season four, Chuck Rhoades spends an entire episode trading favors between contacts to achieve his ultimate goal. One of those favors? Exclusive early access to “first runs” at Deer Valley Ski Resort in Utah.
But what if every run of the day could be like the first? That’s what The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, a luxury ranch near Saratoga, Wyoming, tries to offer guests with its private ski location, Green Mountain.
Avid skiers know the challenges the past two years have brought to ski resorts across the country. Historically low snowfall, pandemic restrictions and overcrowding caused by record numbers of lift passes sold out at popular resorts such as Vail and Breckenridge mean spending a day on the slopes often includes long lift lines and crowded slopes .
With Green Mountain, Brush Creek reinvents the typical experience of a day’s skiing. It’s available to just 18 guests to ski or snowboard per day, and instead of riding the ski lifts, they jump into one of the ranch’s snowcats, which also prepares the slopes as they go. mount them. This means the slopes are freshly groomed each time you ski, although there are also steep powder runs and plenty of glades for more advanced skiers.
A day on the mountain begins with a 30-minute drive to the entrance to the million-acre Medicine Bow National Forest, then another ride in an all-terrain vehicle to one of the yurts on the ranch’s mountainside. Inside, a fire keeps things warm while you get ready for the day (Brush Creek staff will have already brought your skis and boots, so they’ll be waiting for you). Ranch staff will also guide you through the trails of the mountain, determining your level of expertise and which trails would be most enjoyable for you.
By mid-morning, you may have a pot of warm cinnamon rolls waiting for you by the fire, and a few hours later you’ll have lunch in another heated yurt on top of the mountain. The classic ski day dish – think chilli, sandwiches and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies – is seriously enhanced when served by one of the ranch’s chefs using produce from his greenhouses and ox of his cattle.
While you certainly won’t see as many runs as you would at a typical ski resort, the sheer experience of having the mountain practically to yourself more than makes up for it. It’s just one of the winter experiences that Brush Creek Ranch has doubled down on as it strives to be known as a year-round destination.
Although the winter months are naturally quieter – around 20 guests were staying here on a visit in mid-March – the beauty and tranquility of the remote resort is no less appealing when the surrounding Sierra Madre mountains are snow covered.
Since opening in 2010, Brush Creek Ranch has become one of the top resorts in the West – and the country – due to its remote location, rugged luxury, and exceptional food and wine program. As is becoming increasingly typical of high-end resorts, even in the US, it’s all-inclusive, meaning the nightly rate includes your room, meals, and booze (though some cocktails and wines are not included), as well as many activities offered by the ranch, including horseback riding, ice fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The Green Mountain ski experience, spa treatments, private horseback riding, and some other activities are chargeable.
While it’s not the easiest location to get to — most guests fly into Denver and make the four-hour drive to the ranch or fly privately to nearby Saratoga Airport — the ranch continues to be a favorite destination for multi-generational family travel and milestone getaways, especially in the summer. But with Green Mountain, the resort makes a compelling case for a visit during the winter months.
Rates at Brush Creek Ranch start at $1,250 per person per night. The Green Mountain Experience is available mid-December through mid-April and costs $675 per guest, including lunch, equipment, and transportation. Guests can also rent a private snowcat for one to six people for $3,750, and the entire mountain is available for buyouts for groups up to 18 people.