CANYON 1: THE LUXURY
To try out the newest Canyons experience, I check in for a few days at one of the luxe hotels springing up around the area’s base. There’s the new Dakota Mountain Lodge—a Waldorf Astoria property—with its 16,000-square-foot Golden Door Spa (see sidebar, page 76). There’s Juniper Landing, with its huge private townhouses. And then there’s my place—the 558-bed Escala Lodges, a collection of six-story stone-and-timber-sided buildings. It’s a monument to flatscreen TVs and round pillows, just steps away from the Sunrise lift and a hundred yards from the resort’s central plaza, the Forum.
As I approach the massive hotel, I see a guest warming himself by the elegant stone fire pit near the soaring entry awning. As I get closer, though, I realize he isn’t actually a guest. He’s a construction worker in steel-toed boots, warming his hands between tasks. This property is so new, it’s not quite done yet.
Before my car has even stopped, two uniformed Escala employees appear from behind sliding glass doors. They tell me that other than my 7-month-old son, Oscar, they’ll take everything for me. Seriously: Please step away from the vehicle. My giant pile of baby gear and suitcases will be delivered to the room. The skis, boots and poles will be sent up to a locker area next to the hill. I can pick the skis up tomorrow morning, step out onto the snow and head up the adjacent chairlift. When I return from skiing, the valet will be waiting for me with my shoes in hand. Apparently, the Escala policy is that I’m not allowed to do anything for myself. I really like the Escala policy.