You learn to move slowly at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, a golf resort perched nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, overlooking the Vail valley. A run upstairs to retrieve something from your room will cause shortness of breath in the high altitude, even if you are a finely tuned athlete.
Regardless of your fitness level, it is a good idea to take the time to soak in the surroundings of this château-style lodge and its panorama of breathtaking Rocky Mountain scenery. Each of the 56 rooms offers views of New York Mountain or the Sawatch range. You can also enjoy a wonderful full-service spa, and fine dining at the Picasso or Chapparal rooms.
Golfers have a considerable variety of courses to choose from at this high- mountain retreat—with the bonus of an extra 10 percent carry in the thin air. The Hale Irwin–designed Mountain course occupies a high-country meadow, where wildlife sightings in early morning and at dusk are as common as bogeys. Jack Nicklaus recently completed his Summit course, which features endless dramatic vistas. In the Eagle River valley some 2,100 feet below the Cordillera aerie, Tom Fazio added the Valley course, which, while somewhat flatter than the other courses, is no less challenging or scenic. And short-game guru Dave Pelz, who operates his golf schools here throughout the summer, built a tremendously fun 10-hole course designed to help guests hone their short games. Once you catch your breath, Cordillera is the tops.
The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, 800.877.3529, www.cordillera-vail.com