Fall hideaways: Colorado ski resorts for the non-skier

I live in Colorado and I don’t ski, snowboard or otherwise partake in the numerous ski resort activities involving ice, snow, goggles, weird hats and heavy snow-suits (that the so-called fashionable people call ski apparel). But, I do go to the ski resorts at what I consider the best time, the Fall. It is after the summer crowds and before the winter madness begins; it is the perfect time for a getaway to hideaway- or not. The Aspens are turning, the Elk are bugling and the purple mountains majesty are there as always, only with less snow on them. Here are some great finds for a staycation in Colorado ski country.

1. The Little Nell in Aspen is a sophisticated country inn that exudes charm and class. Each room is unique and all have fireplaces. Everything is high-end, from the toiletries to the down comforters on the bed. There is not a bad view in the place and the hotel restaurant, Montagna, has”farmhouse cooking” with such items as crispy pork belly and watermelon salad and a great three course prix fixe dinner and all with a view of Aspen Mountain. There are two bars serving the rooms, condos and suites. In the Fall you can get a double room for $330-$415. Those prices double in season. Many movie stars stay here as the amenities are outstanding and the location is great. You can hide-out in the hotel or do what the stars do-shop Aspen. 675 E. Durant Ave. www.littlenell.com

2. The Steamboat Grand (2300 Mt. Werner Circle) in Steamboat Springs is a large upscale property with rooms, suites and penthouses with the usual high-end amenities. There are three restaurants, two lounges, free shuttle, and two hot tubs said to be the largest in Colorado. Steamboat Springs is known for its natural hot mineral springs which are said to have healing qualities. The town has turned these natural wonders into a thriving business, some with bathhouses. More on these at; www.steamboatsprings.org . 3. Allaire Timbers Inn Bed & Breakfast is a great place in Breckenridge for a romantic hideaway. It is the Colorado lodge style log inn complete with massive stone fireplace and fantastic mountain views. The room decor reflects well known mountain passes. Each room has a private deck, robes and fuzzy slipper-socks. It is just outside of town. If you feel the need for outside action, Breckenridge has the best nightlife in the Summit County area.www.allairetimbers.com Rooms are $149.00-$275, suites are higher.

4. Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa is just a quick walk to dining, shops and skiing. Located at 352 E. Meadow Dr. Fall room rates are half ($149-$299) of their high season rates. It is a lodge with an intimate cozy feel. All rooms have soaking tubs, fireplaces and feather beds. The hotel restaurant,Terra Bistro is a hot spot for locals and their spa is among the best in town. www.vailmountainlodge.com

5. Devils Thumb Ranch just outside of Winter Park is a guest ranch on 4,000 acres and gives new meaning to the term solitude. This is a great escape that has cabins decorated with rustic antiques and a lodge as well. The vibe is Colorado wilderness but cozy. It has two restaurants, a bar, spa, pool, sauna and a game room that boasts all non-electronic games. The ranch is very Eco-conscious and green and even uses geothermal energy for heat. It is a great place to hide-out from the rat race and breathe in that fresh mountain air. It is located eight miles from Winter Park Colorado on Grand County Rd. 83. $210-$565 for a lodge room and $315-$895 for a private cabin. For more information on this property; www.devilsthumbranch.com

All of these accommodations are located in the Northern Rockies and the towns are relatively close to one another. Fall is a great time to hideaway in the Rockies even if it is just for a little vacation close to home-a staycation.