Best of the High Country 2002

Photo by Ron Ruhoff/Cañon City & Royal Gorge Railroad
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    Where’s the most challenging downhill run? What are their favorite cross-country skiing spots? Where are the bed and breakfasts with the softest quilts and the fluffiest eggs? What’s the best place to catch the excitement of a mountain rodeo? Where to find undiscovered, uncrowded national parks? Which spas offer the most pampering treatments? The most relaxing massages? In this issue we feature readers’ choices and editors’ picks of the best the high country has to offer for 2002.

Downhill Skiing
Photo courtesy okemo Mountain Resort

Mountain Rodeo
Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede

Best Downhill Ski Runs

• Gent’s Ridge tied with Walsh’s, Aspen, Colorado
• Limelight tied with Upper River Run, Sun Valley, Idaho
• Riva Ridge, Vail, Colorado
• Morning Star tied with Orient Express, Deer Valley, Utah
• Gold Digger, Copper Mountain, Colorado
• Comstock tied with Fool’s Gold, Park City, Utah
• Outrage, Okemo Mountain, Ludlow, Vermont
• High Shoulders, Whistler/Blackcomb, BC, Canada
• Never Sweat, Big Sky, Montana
• Thunder tied with Lightning, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Best Mountain Rodeos

• High Country Stampede, Fraser, Colorado
• Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
• Fiesta de los Vaqueros, Tucson, Arizona
• Wild, Wild West Pro Rodeo, Silver City, New Mexico
• Rooftop Rodeo, Estes Park, Colorado
• Cheyenne Frontier Days, Cheyenne, Wyoming
• Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, Colorado Springs, Colorado
• Montana State Fair and Rodeo, Great Falls Montana
• Rodeo de Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
• Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo, Vernal, Utah

Best Undiscovered National Parks

• Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
• Guadalupe Mountain National Park, Texas
• Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
• Shiloh National Military Park, Tennessee
• Saguaro National Park, Arizona
• Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
• Nez Perce National Historic Park, Idaho
• Theodore National Park, North Dakota
• Great Basin National Park, Nevada
• North Cascades National Park, Washington

Enjoy over 700 flowering plant, 200 bird and 50 mammal species, as well as all four types of volcanos at the Lassen Volcanic National Park,  east of Redding, California. See thermal activity such as hot springs and sulfurous vents.

To see the most extensive exposed fossil reef on earth, head to Guadalupe Mountain National Park in Western Texas. A place where the Mescalero Apache once made their home, this geological marvel is now home to thousands of plant and animal species.

If it’s water you wish to see, go to Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S., holds the world record for natural water clarity and is surrounded by lava walls up to 2,000 feet high.

History buffs can learn about the largest battle of the Civil War at Shiloh National Military Park, located east of Memphis, Tennessee. Grab a brochure for a self-guided tour to view artifacts, including over 600 monuments.

Established in 1933 to preserve the giant saguaro cacti, the Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona, has nearly 200 miles of hiking trails that allow visitors to view numerous historic structures and a plethora of plant life.

Best Mountain Wineries

Nestled in the Blue Mountain range of eastern Pennsylvania, Blue Mountain Vineyards received high marks from our readers for their French hybrid wines, award-winning yet reasonably priced red wines and an innovative “Adopt-A-Vine” program at their newly acquired Leaser Lake Vineyards. The panoramic views of the mountains didn’t hurt, either.

Fun tasting events take place throughout the year. Start the harvest season with the annual Pickin’ Party and Grape Stomp in October. Halloween and Christmas tastings follow. Summer events take place on the large outdoor deck overlooking ponds, vines and mountains.

The vineyard consists of nearly 100 acres of terrain, the soil of which is very much like European vineyards. The Greffs use only grapes grown in their vineyards.
To learn more about Blue Mountain Vineyards or to order wine, call Joe and Vickie Greff at (610) 298-3068 or check out their website at

• Blue Mountain Vineyards, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania
• York Mountain Winery, Templeton, California
• Smokey Mountain Winery, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
• Cedar Mountain Winery, Livermore, California
• Howell Mountain Vineyards, St. Helena, California
• Cascade Mountain Winery and Restaurant, Amenia, New York
• Stoney Mesa Winery, Cedaredge, Colorado
• North Mountain Vineyard and Winery, Maurertown, Virginia
• Terror Creek Winery, Paonia, Colorado
• Cooper Mountain Vineyards, Beaverton, Oregon

Best Train Trips

The Royal Gorge near Cañon City, Colorado, has long been a tourist attraction because of its dramatic beauty. The very best way to see the gorge is from a train. (888)724-5748.

The American Orient Express, made up of cars from the 1940s and 1950s, travels through the National Parks of the West. (888) 759-3944 or

The Denali Star travels through hundreds of miles of unspoiled wilderness on its way between Anchorage and Fairbanks. (800) 544-0552 or

The Adirondack makes more than a dozen scenic stops on the route along the Hudson River between New York City and Montreal. 800-USA-RAIL or

The Sierra Madre Express passes through breathtaking scenery in Mexico’s Copper Canyon. (800) 666-0346.

• Cañon City & Royal Gorge, Cañon City, Colorado
• American Orient Express,  National Parks of the West
• The Denali Star, Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska
• The Adirondack, New York City to Montreal, Canada
• Sierra Madre Express, Mexico’s Copper Canyon
• VIA Rail Across Canada, Halifax to Vancouver
• Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, Los Angeles to Seattle
• The Skeena, Jasper, Alberta to Prince Rupert, BC, Canada
• Alaska’s Gold Rush Train, Skagway to White Pass Summit, Alaska
• Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge, Colorado

Photo courtesy The Club at Cordillera
Antique Shops
Photos by David Foxhoven/Avalanche Ranch

Best Mountain Golf Courses

• The Club at Cordillera, Edwards, Colorado
• Breckenridge Golf Club, Breckenridge, Colorado
• Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley, California
• Emerald Mountain Golf Club, Wetumpka, Alabama
• Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Stateline, Nevada
• Eagle’s Nest Golf Club, Silverthorne, Colorado
• Beaver Creek Golf Club, Avon, Colorado
• Wintergreen Resort, Wintergreen, Virginia
• Mount Washington Hotel and Resort, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
• Pole Creek Golf Club, Winter Park, Colorado

Best Antique Shops

• Avalanche Ranch, Redstone, Colorado
• Ralph Kylloe Gallery, Lake George, New York
• Turkey Mountain Traders, Scottsdale, Arizona
• Eron Johnson Antiques, Denver, Colorado
• Rustic Styles, Fredericksburg, Texas
• Fighting Bear Antiques, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
• Mary Corley Antiques, Santa Fe, New Mexico
• Ski Country Antiques, Evergreen, Colorado
• Black Bass Antiques, Bolton Landing, New York
• High Country Accents, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

In the Colorado Rockies near Aspen, Avalanche Ranch is the perfect place to shop for painted porch furniture, hooked rugs, tramp art frames, Hudson’s Bay blankets, old ranch and camp furniture and all manner of vintage ski and snowshoe equipment. (877)-963-2339 or

Ralph Kylloe Gallery is full of rustic Adirondack furniture, chip-carved mirror and picture frames, camp signs and vintage Beacon and Pendleton blankets. (518) 696-4100 or

Turkey Mountain Traders specializes in fine antique American Indian weavings, jewelry, and beadwork. (480) 423-8777 or Eron Johnson Antiques has high-end English and European furniture and accessories. (303) 777-8700 or Rustic Styles sells Old Hickory chairs and Texas Centennial memorabilia. (830) 997-6219.

Cross-Country Skiing
Photo courtesy Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce

Best Cross-Country Skiing

• Base of Bald Mountain, Sun Valley, Idaho
• Mont-Sainte-Ann, Beaupré, Quebec, Canada
• Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Montana
• South Fork Lodge, Swan Valley, Idaho
• 10th Mountain Division Hut-to-Hut Skiing, Vail, Colorado
• The Home Ranch, Clark, Colorado
• Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont
• Balsams Wilderness, Dixville Notch, New Hampshire
• Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado
• Far Hills Inn, Val-Morin, Quebec, Canada

Best Dude Ranches

The C Lazy U Ranch, in Granby, Colorado, is a consistent favorite among Mountain Living readers. Located on 8,000 acres in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, this is a place where you can be as active or as relaxed as you wish. Call (970) 887-3344 or visit

Listed in the National Geographic Travel Guide as one of the top ranches in the country, the Bar H Bar Ranch in Soda Springs, Idaho, is the place to live out all those cowboy dreams. Call (800) 743-9505.

Spend your days horseback riding and hiking, then enjoy campfires, hayrides and western dancing at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Bozeman, Montana. The ranch also has a wide range of children’s programs and gourmet food. Call (800) 548-3392.

Fun for the whole family awaits at Lost Valley Ranch in Sedalia, Colorado. With extensive child and teen programs, this working cattle and horse ranch has something for everyone. Call (303) 647-2311.

The folks at Bitterroot Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming, pride themselves on their international clientele of serious riders. Guests will also love the secluded log cabins and stunning views. Call (800) 545-0019.

•  C Lazy U, Granby, Colorado
•  Bar H Bar Ranch, Soda Springs, Idaho
•  Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Bozeman, Montana
•  Lost Valley Ranch, Sedalia, Colorado
•  Bitterroot Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming
•  Ironhorse Ranch, Tombstone, Arizona
•  Clear Creek Ranch, Burnsville, North Carolina
•  Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, Stanley, Idaho
•  Rancho de los Caballeros, Wickenburg, Arizona
•  Lake Mancos Ranch, Mancos, Colorado

Cliff Spa
Photo by Richard Cheski/Cliff Spa
The Spa at Grove Park Inn Resort
Photo courtesy the Grove Park Inn Resort

Best Mountain Spas

• Cliff Spa, Snowbird, Utah
• Aspen Club and Spa, Aspen, Colorado
• The Spa at Top Notch, Stowe, Vermont
• Mii Amo Spa at Enchantment, Sedona, Arizona
• Echo Valley Ranch, Clinton, BC, Canada
• The Spa at Grove Park Inn Resort, Asheville, North Carolina
• Wyndham Peaks, Telluride, Colorado
• The Palms, Palm Springs, California
• The Spa at Squaw Creek, Lake Tahoe, California
• The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, Edwards, Colorado

The Cliff Spa
Snowbird, Utah
Since the days when our ancient ancestors incorporated sweat lodges, or kivas, into their daily routine, mountain dwellers have come to appreciate the benefits of nurturing body, mind and spirit.
Whenever we visit Snowbird, my husband heads for the slopes. Me? I retreat to The Cliff Spa—a 28,000-square-foot oasis atop the Cliff Lodge, with 20 treatment areas, a full-service health club, a movement studio and a 15-meter rooftop pool with great views.

This time, I’ve booked a Cliff Stone Facial. I slip into a robe in the locker room, then head to the sun-filled solarium which overlooks the slopes. When my aesthetician, Tatyana, arrives to escort me to my facial, I notice her perfect skin (a good sign, I think, as I recline into her contoured chair).

To start, Tatyana tucks smooth, heated stones between my toes and under my palms and neck. Next, my face is cleansed with a purifying gel, exfoliated, then steamed with lavender-scented ozone. Having primed my face for the next part of the treatment, Tatyana massages my face with warm black stones, then icy cold white marble stones—a process designed to improve ciculation.
After a slathering of cream, I climb back into my clothes and book an aprés-ski massage for my husband who’s spending the day out on the slopes. (801) 933-2225, www.cliff --Linda Hayes

Best Mountain Bed & Breakfasts

The Wray House
Photo by Deborah Whitlaw/The Wray House

• Best Mountain Bed & Breakfasts
• Wray House - Burnsville, North Carolina
• Thistledown - North Vancouver, BC, Canada
• Highland Haven Creekside Inn - Evergreen, Colorado
• Rusty Parrot - Jackson Hole, Wyoming
• Mabel Dodge Lujan House - Taos, New Mexico
• Sardy House - Aspen, Colorado
• Notchland Inn - Hart’s Location, New Hampshire
• The Ink House - St. Helena, California
• Idaho Country Inn - Sun Valley, Idaho
• SkyRidge B&B - Torrey, Utah

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