Into The Wild

Beyul Retreat, nestled in the Frying Pan River Valley near Aspen, draws upon the majesty of mountains to offer guests next-level tools of empowerment.
Every cabin at Beyul Retreat comes equipped with a wood-burning stove, cozy down comforters and artisanal roasted coffee. Photograph courtesy of Beyul Retreat

By Jim Servin

“It’s very apparent that everyone, in all echelons of society, is deeply in need of a few things—to gather, to re-wild themselves, to reintegrate with nature, to reset their nervous systems. That’s where you start before you can build yourself up,” says Reuben Sadowsky, founder and general manager of Beyul Retreat at the Diamond J Lodge. Set on 32 pristine acres of meadows, creeks, waterfalls and ponds in the Frying Pan River Valley, surrounded by Colorado’s White River National Forest, Beyul (the translation of the Tibetan word is “hidden lands”) harnesses the power of nature to give guests the calming and grounding they’ve been craving in these chaotic times.

Both Sadowsky and co-founder Abby Stern, with deep backgrounds in wellness, healing and hospitality, have transformed the locally iconic Diamond J Lodge into a center for growth and connection. To be sure, Beyul checks all the boxes of a cozy mountain getaway, with 14 cabins and two private lodges, all comfortably appointed; cuisine highlighting seasonal, organic, local fare such as Colorado bison cuts and wild Alaskan sockeye salmon; vegan offerings like a superfood porridge; and artisanal roasted coffee. Wellness classes include yoga, qigong, breath work and meditation. Beyul Retreat strives to surpass expectations and equip guests with survival skills that can be applied both on and off the trails.

The most recent retreat, a wilderness first-responder course this December, offered a preview of what is in store, as new experiences and amenities will be rolled out in 2021. “The eight-day immersion in emergency wilderness medical training gives people the empowerment and agency to go out into the wilderness and be safe,” says Sadowsky, an Aspen native. “We’re not just about personal wellness; we’re focusing on communal health, communal regeneration and resiliency.”

In 2021, Beyul adviser Jamie Wheal, executive director of the peak-performance coach group Flow Genome Project, will be teaching a two-week summer seminar on “Training to Be a Home-Grown Human,” providing guests with tools, tips and encouragement to be their best possible selves. “We’re about giving people a safe container, so they can push their boundaries,” says Sadowsky. “Regeneration means taking what you had before and producing something even better. It’s beyond sustainability—it’s making something thrive.”