by Kim Fuller & Jasmine Listou Bible

Bliss and balance: Summit County spas offer a getaway all their own

Even the snowiest of Colorado winters is still cold and dry, but the state’s inconsistent climate is no match against nourishing essential oil treatments. Summit County offers a number of high-end spas that are worth a visit, especially those that sit alongside some of the area’s most renowned mountain resorts.

Holistic healing

Erica Ragusa first began her Ayurvedic bodywork at a spa in New York City. Now, she owns and operates Ambika Therapies in Breckenridge, the only massage spa in Summit County that offers treatments designed around the ancient Indian methodology of “the science of life.”

“I want to connect every one of my clients to his or her true sense of self,” Ragusa said. “The treatments are long-lasting — offering a sense of relaxation and peace — and I think having those feelings helps to get you back to your true self, a connection that these days we are often so distant from.”

The Ayurvedic methodology is based around bringing yourself into a state of balance. According to Ayurveda, every individual is, by nature, governed by a dominant constitution, or “dosha,” by which they are composed. Every person has a combination of all three doshas — space and air (Vata), fire and water (Pitta) and earth and water (Kapha) — but there is almost always a governing element for every individual.

“When a client comes in for an Ayurvedic treatment, we will have them take a dosha test, do a pulse diagnosis and fill out a standard health history form,” Ragusa said. “The pathologies that they indicate on the form will be looked at through the lens of Ayurveda; a dosha imbalance, for instance, gives us clues about their propensity for disease.”

She said the treatments will help to soothe an imbalanced dosha. Ragusa creates all her own “dosha balancing” natural body-care products, including the oils, herbs, serums and sprays she uses during her treatments. She uses her handmade and environmentally conscious products to tailor treatments to each individual.

Visit the quaint and peaceful space in Breckenridge for a more traditional therapeutic or hot stone massage, or try one of Ambika’s Ayurvedic Bliss Therapies, designed to restore and rejuvenate far beneath the surface of the skin.

The Udvartana treatment is a full-body renewal, recommended especially for Pitta types. Dry brushing over the skin’s surface followed by a dosha-specific herbal exfoliation helps to bring any body back to balance. The more Swedish-style massage brings oils and herbs deep into the tissue of the skin, which is then wrapped in a plant-cellulose bioplastic to allow for the therapy to fully set in. The excess oil and exfoliating herbs are gently removed with warm towels after a toning face massage.

More earthy Kapha types may be more interested in the Abhyanga therapy, a restorative yet rejuvenating massage that focuses on moving lymph and clearing blocked energy. Ragusa said while certain treatments are meant to soothe imbalanced doshas, any treatment a client desires to have can be modified with herb and temperature adjustments.

“For example, if a Pitta type came in and requested Swedana, which is a hot steam tent,” Ragusa said, “I would keep the temperature lower in the tent and add cooling herbs to the steam.”

She said the body knows what it needs, and Ambika Therapies is all about helping individuals to quiet the mind long enough to listen to the body.

“The more you do these things with Ayurveda,” she said, “the more it all just makes sense and feels right.”

— Kim Fuller

Resort retreat

Enter a bohemian getaway as soon as you step into this two-level chic retreat on South Main Street in Breckenridge. Blue Sage Spa offers signature treatments and packages of massage, facials, body care, waxing, manicures and pedicures.

Will all the lovely jewelry, candles and organic body products greeting guests upon arrival, it’s no wonder the spa sets the scene of both style and comfort. Take a look at the extensive treatment menu at Blue Sage to see your options and pick your pleasure.

The spa’s signature body treatment is the Exotic Escape, a two-hour experience of aromatic scents and sensations from around the globe.

“A rich blend of exotic bitters and green tea are used in this Asian-inspired treat,” said Amy Beckett, co-owner of the spa with Caren Mapes-Lerch. “A Thai coconut and crisp lemongrass mineral soak is followed by a green tea and crushed rice body scrub. We finish with a skin-nourishing, half-hour massage using a coconut, honey and lemongrass lotion filled with fresh fruit extracts and organic oils.”

The treatment will transport you from the mountains of Breckenridge to the beaches of the world, offering a scent-filled scrub to reveal fresh and radiant skin.

This winter, Blue Sage is offering a new 45-minute facial for an exclusive experience of ultimate hydration.

“The Image O2 Lift is the luxurious oxygen skin-care treatment that infuses oxygen, plant-derived stem cells, peptides and a high concentration of enzymatic botanicals into the skin, leaving it luminous, refreshed and rejuvenated,” Beckett said.

She said the oxygen skin-care process provides a revolutionary treatment to exfoliate, illuminate and oxygenate. Papaya and pineapple enzymes scrub the surface of the skin, while a cutting-edge effervescent masque oxygenates at the cellular level. The pure plant stem cell enhancer rejuvenates and prevents signs of aging, she said, and the tinted moisturizer illuminates and provides a strong level of environmental protection.

A la carte upgrades for facials are available, including an organic passion peel to dissolve dead surface cells without the harshness of chemicals, as well as lip and eye treatments.

Visit the spa for extensive bodywork or to get your toes touched up. Either way, the prime location and elaborate treatment menu makes Blue Sage a must-visit on your Summit County spa journey.

— Kim Fuller

A vibrant awakening

Tucked within the quaint Rainbow Court on Main Street in Frisco, you may have missed this petite oasis. Anew You Massage & Spa offers something truly special that is worth seeking out. More than just a catchy name, “a new you” embodies the philosophy that co-habitators Yvonne Zook and Valerie Fagan are committed to — creating a new, vibrant version of yourself.

Zook opened the space eight years ago, wanting to offer her clients a personalized and unique experience. She offers permanent makeup, waxing, therapeutic massage, facelift massage and a variety of facials. As an esthetician, she takes a thoughtful approach to skin, working from the inside out. As opposed to more abrasive techniques, Zook’s goal is “to achieve the most results with the least trauma.”

Zook will guide you in the right direction, offering a free consultation and creating a custom plan that incorporates spa treatments and at-home cleansers and moisturizers. Try the Signature Facial, a 90-minute treatment that begins with deep cleansing, exfoliation and manual extraction. Focusing on an internal approach, she creates custom-blended serums and powders that penetrate the skin to reach the dermis, the dense inner layer of skin beneath the epidermis. The customized mask composed of all natural ingredients “feeds the skin in the deeper layers, allowing for deeper penetration of the ingredients,” Zook said. The facial massage is enhanced by a hot stone massage for your hands, arms, neck and feet, which will have you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Zook also offers Reiki treatments paired with her facials. Reiki is the Japanese technique of transferring energy through the hands. The treatment feels like a glowing radiance that encompasses your body, used to reduce stress and promote relaxation and healing. The experience is meant to treat not only your body, but your emotions, mind and spirit.

Once you’ve balanced out your skin, it’s time to balance your inner self. Stroll to the room next door to begin your journey with Valerie Fagan, who facilitates personal development and rapid life change. As a Higher Brain Living instructor, she helps clients achieve an elevated level of consciousness. When Fagan speaks, there is an inner spark that shines brightly, magnetically beckoning you into her practice.

Fagan said she subscribes to a “thou shall not hurt” life theory that carries through into her treatment room. Whether you join her for a celestial massage accompanied by enlightening music, Asian bodywork, oncology massage or therapeutic massage, she “wants clients to feel at ease.”

To discover which path is right for you, Fagan also offers free consultations. She acts as a facilitator for your personal development. Fagan believes we “each have the option to create our own reality.” For a full mind, body and spirit awakening, she offers a program that evolves over 22 sessions. The journey begins with awakening, followed by a phase of elevating and, finally, inspiring. There is an emphasis on physiologically getting rid of stress and creating a more present and aware person. A take-home guidebook, complete with homework, aids in your learning process, allowing you to look back and “appreciate your evolution in your own words” Fagan said. The program is open to individuals and couples, and the 45-minute sessions can be completed once or twice per week, depending on your preference.

— Jasmine Listou Bible

Gift for the senses

For a spa that’s been a local favorite for 26 years, Bodyworks Spa & Massage has an incredibly vibrant and youthful energy. Located at the west end of Main Street in Frisco, this full-service spa and salon offers transformative treatments for your body and spirit. Over the course of more than two decades, owner Jayne Marino has fine-tuned her practice, achieving the atmosphere that clients are seeking. The spa raises the bar and removes the anxiety that can be associated with visiting a new location.

“We want our clients to feel confident that they made the right decision,” Marino said.

From the goblets of citrus- and essential oil-infused water to the thick slippers that are provided to the sounds of birds and wind chimes whispering, each detail has been thought of and each sense has been catered to.

This sensation of being enveloped in personalized attention and warmth carries into each of the three treatment rooms. As you lay gazing up at the beautiful natural aspen tree ceilings and deeply breathe the pleasing aroma of essential oils, you begin to release your daily stresses and ready yourself to enjoy the Japanese Facial. This 60-minute session begins with aromatherapy, hot steam towels and a massage facial that increases circulation and opens up blockages. Performed with acupressure and Asian-based stretching, you and your muscles become relaxed and tranquil. Your feet are wrapped with hot steam towels, followed by a decadent lower leg and foot massage. Finished with a natural moisturizer created by Sanitas, a Boulder-based skin company, the session will leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed and radiant.

This process of “fostering your own Colorful Colorado self” is the intent of Marino and her staff. She beams when she speaks of the “wonderful surge of healthy awareness that’s occurring locally and globally.” She welcomes the sparked interest in wellness and aims to offer an accessible way for people to achieve a higher quality of life.

In this vein of new discovery, she is excited to bring aboard a new practitioner, Juan Cruz. He offers Intuitive Bodywork sessions and Sound Clearing & Balance sessions. The aim of these sessions is to help the body find its path back to balance. According to Cruz, this act of “defying gravity is not only for the hour on the table, but taking that with you into the world.” His integrative approach to intuitive bodywork includes results-oriented breath work, encouraging you to go forward with an awareness and thoughtfulness of your own breath and well-being. The unique and euphoric experience allows the essence of your body, mind and soul to be soothed.

— Jasmine Listou Bible

Step into serenity

If you have your hair or nails done at Serenity Spa & Salon in Keystone, know that you’re only experiencing half of what the amazing day spa has to offer. Just strides away from the salon is the entrance to the spa, a true sanctuary inviting guests with soft robes, overstuffed pillows and a warming fireplace.

Alina Stasiowski took over ownership of Serenity in 2008, and she said the full-service spa and salon not only stands out for its high-quality products but also for its impeccable standards of customer service.

“We always do a lot of product training, so the stylists and therapists know exactly what they are using and why,” Stasiowski said. “We welcome visitors and, of course, love to have locals come in for their continuous desires of beauty and well being.”

’Tis the season where both skin and hair can use all the extra moisture they can get. Give your skin some love with the Moroccan Oil Body Treatment — a blissful escape of exfoliation and hydration.

The 75-minute treatment begins with a rejuvenating radiance polish from the Moroccan Oil Body Buff. Made with a natural orange peel exfoliator, Body Buff combines argan oil with vitamin E and avocado, grape seed, safflower, sesame and sweet almond oils to bring skin back to vibrancy by gently removing dead skin cells. A full-body wrap follows, accompanied by a calming and joyful head and neck massage.

After a rinse in the room’s nearby shower, the treatment moves into a moisturizing, full-body massage with a combination of the Moroccan Oil Body Soufflé and an Intense Hydrating Treatment. The rich argan oil formulas of both products drench the skin with much-needed moisture amidst an invigorating massage for the muscle and skin cells.

Your skin will thank you from every moisture-rich pore, but don’t leave your hair out to tear. Serenity’s luxury Aveda salon offers a line of environmentally rich products. Try the Damage Remedy Hair and Scalp treatment to bring your locks back to life. Aveda’s Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment uses the power of pure plant oils and quinoa protein to restore hair to its healthiest state of silkiness and shine. Depending on the state of your hair, you may want to purchase the remedy product in order to treat your hair to hydration on a weekly basis.

— Kim Fuller

Luxuriously affordable

More South Beach than Silverthorne, the Elan-Life Spa is a beautiful breath of fresh air. The magazine-worthy interiors of this bright, airy and open space provide a heavenly retreat from the rugged mountain lifestyle. With a refined color palette of bright white, greys, silver and pops of turquoise, the space feels crisp, clean and sophisticated. The decor was the vision of owner Colleen Meheen, who had the desire to “offer something different in Summit County.”

As a resident of Silverthorne, Meheen saw countless bridal parties traveling to Vail or Breckenridge to prepare for their weddings and recognized a need for a full-service spa and salon in the northern area of the county. Utilizing her background in makeup for Vail Resorts and a stint in London where she studied fashion, she combined her talents to create a space that offers a full boutique of options for bridal parties, visitors and locals alike. The spa will arrange to have a champagne brunch catered for you and your closest friends. With five treatment rooms, nail, pedicure, hair and makeup stations, lounges and couches, there’s ample room for each friend in your gals getaway receive a treatment.

More impressive than the space and decor are the spa’s reasonable prices. Meheen values the repeat business of local residents and offers various locals’ discounts. One option is the $89 monthly membership package that includes one 60-minute service of your choice, along with discounts on all additional services and products. Another option is the buy five 60-minute massages, get one free special, allowing you to indulge without the guilt of overpriced services that tourists towns are unfortunately known for.

The pace of the spa is also something that Meheen places emphasis on, “booking sessions far part, with plenty of time between each to converse with clients.” She takes pride in her staff, which she says “is knowledgeable about seasonal and environmental conditions of the mountains.” For the dry skin that mountain dwellers are accustomed to, Elan offers the HydraFacia MD, a newly developed aesthetic technology. The hydrating skin resurfacing treatment removes dead skin cells and impurities while simultaneously bathing the skin with moisturizing skin solutions. The nonirritating treatment is cooling and soothing and “leaves less inflammation,” Meheen said. Whether opting for the HydraFacial, a chemical peel or the ginger antioxidant infusion, the staff will create custom-blended serums to suit your skin and your wallet.

— Jasmine Listou Bible


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The Summit Daily Updated Jan 31, 2014 01:54PM Published Jan 31, 2014 01:46PM Copyright 2014 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.