The weekend is a long one – starting on Thursday – and includes a mix of receptions, cooking demos, special dinners and après ski events, as well as events that make use of the snow itself.
The on-the-snow options notably include a Friday Snowshoe & Gourmet Lunch. The morning is spent on a guided snow shoe tour of Beaver Creek’s Nordic Sports Center and McCoy Park, which will definitely earn you the right to tuck into a multicourse lunch prepared by Alex Seidel, chef at Denver’s celebrated restaurant Fruition. Seidel was on FOOD+WINE magazine’s 2010 list of best new chefs. The price is $135 a person, and includes equipment and lift access.
Downhill skiers have their own version of this event on Saturday, with a morning spent with Beaver Creek ski guides, and a gourmet lunch at the Ritz-Carlton in Bachelor Gulch Village prepared by one of Louisiana’s best known culinary stars John Besh. This event costs $120 per person and does not include a lift ticket. You can get another crack at John Besh’s cuisine at a Friday night dinner at Allie’s Cabin, a Beaver Creek restaurant. Besh collaborates with Kirk Weems, the executive chef of Allies’ Cabin on the menu, which runs $200 per person.
There’s also an opportunity to ski with the chefs, if you plan ahead. The last event of the weekend is a ski race and a brunch, in which John Besh, Gail Simmons, Tim Love and Spike Mendelsohn will lead a racing team of four – the slots to be auctioned off from January 1st to January 14th, 2013. The bidding begins at $300, and the proceeds benefit each leader’s chosen charity. The fastest chef will be honored at a brunch, which costs $50 to attend.
The Top Chef ConnectionFans of the Bravo TV series have a number of chances to gaze at the faces they know from Top Chef. Gail Simmons leaves judges table for a Friday cooking demonstration at Splendido at The Chateau, followed by a lunch with wine pairings, which runs $130 per person. She’s also headlining a cooking demonstration on Saturday at a larger event at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Performing Arts Center, followed by lunch and, of course, wine. This costs $115 per person.
Former Top Chef contestants make their appearances too. On Friday, Spike Mendelsohn collaborates with Texas barbecue expert Tim Love for Après Ski Burgers and Beers This event is $50 per person, and it’s the only event of the festival that’s not restricted to those over the age of 21. (There’s a discount for those under the age of 14.) Another former contestant, Sam Talbot, co-produces a dinner with Splendido’s executive chef David Walford on Saturday, which runs $200 per person.
As far as the reception style events, the opening reception is bargain priced at $75, and the food is hors d'oeuvres prepared by Beaver Creek chefs. This is a casual affair: the attire is “mountain casual”, which means a jacket and tie and their female equivalent aren’t required. The Saturday night Grand Tasting at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa adds in celebrity chef cooking and runs $150 per person. This is considered semi-formal. Jacket and tie and cocktail dresses encouraged.