CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, CO – Every Valentine’s Day, Loveland Ski Area celebrates that crazy little thing called Love with a mass wedding ceremony, attended by brides and grooms dressed to chill—and to ski.
This year, 115 couples tied the knot at the 33rd Annual Mountaintop Matrimony ceremony in Forest Meadow, and the only thing more breathtaking than the sheer amount of love present at the time of their nuptials, was the elevation, which, at 11,215 feet, was enough to take the breath away from those in attendance—and those attending the couples in attendance. Fifteen of those 115 devoted twosomes exchanged vows for the first time, and 100—a perfectly apt number of Centennial State residents—renewed their vows.
Following the ceremony, the newlyweds skied and rode down the mountain and gathered for an après-ski party. The highlight was the best-dressed couple competition, with the winning couple earning a romantic honeymoon getaway at the Clear Creek Inn and dinner at Coopers on the Creek in Georgetown, Colorado.
What’s Cookin’ This Season
by Amanda Faison skier, ski mom, lover of slopeside cuisine
SOMEWHERE IN COLORADO SKI COUNTRY USA – There’s so much more to skiing and riding than just swooshing down the slopes. It’s a lifestyle—the camaraderie in the parking lot and in the lift line, the hoots and hollers heard from the chair on a powder day, the well-earned beer at the end of the day. And, in the middle of all that fun, the need to refuel. For some, that might mean a pocket PB&J eaten between runs, but for many others, the hunt for good eats is just part of the adventure. We’re happy to report that, this winter, there are some big openings and a number of favorites to revisit while you’re out and about.
New & Notable
As of this season, Steamboat’s old gondola building has been replaced by The Range Food & Drink Hall. Constructed as part of the new base along with Skeeter’s Ice Rink, the airy space has gobs of indoor and outdoor seating and four food stalls—Pioneer Pie, Sunshine Bowl, Twister Tacos, and Why Not Sandwich Shop—effectively covering all the major food groups. (On a cold day, we highly recommend the crispy pork belly ramen from Sunshine Bowl.) There’s also a bar on each of the two levels, and the names of the eateries tie into some of Steamboat’s most beloved runs.
The season’s most exciting opening has to be The Aerie at Copper Mountain, which replaced Solitude Station at mid-mountain. Riding up American Eagle, you can’t miss the gorgeous, modern lodge crafted from polished wood and glass. The Aerie cleverly offers two distinct experiences: a food hall with five stalls (don’t miss the furikake fries from the ramen spot), a hot chocolate bar, and grab-and-go on the bottom level, and full-service restaurant up top. Chef Brian Duncan oversees Forage & Feast, which is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows showing off stunning, 270-degree views of the Gore and Ten Mile ranges. The menu is composed of large plates, shared plates, and salads, and sides. The French dip—called an Italian dip here because of the fantastic addition of house-pickled giardiniera—is sure to satisfy even the hungriest of guests. (You can eat at the bar or in the restaurant itself, in either case, sip on a Mountain Mist, the Aerie’s gussied-up version of a gin and tonic.) The restaurant also offers special-occasion dinners (called Forage & Feast Candlelight Dinners), where guests ride up American Eagle, enjoy a multi-course meal paired with wine and live music, and then depart by gondola under the stars.
Also new this season, Winter Park has launched four Outposts, each with a different menu, around the mountain. The idea is ski-specific food that’s easy to grab and perfect for refueling. Look for quesadillas at The Olympia Outpost (bottom of the Olympia lift), grilled cheeses at the Wild Spur Outpost (top of the new Wild Spur Express), cheese steaks at Mary Jane Outpost (near the Super Gauge lift at the base of Mary Jane), and taquitos at the Lunch Rock Outpost (outside the Lunch Rock day lodge). Take your pick, grab some napkins, and be on your way. Also, after crushing bumps on Saturdays, swoop into Mary Jane Café for après from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Grab a beer and $4 tacos before either heading up for another couple of runs or calling it for the day. Savvy Skier tip: if you find après at the Sunspot a little too bustling, this kicked-back vibe might be just your style.
Trucks ’n Huts
There’s something inherently thrilling about sidling up to the window of a food truck or the counter of a food hut. The undercurrent is that good things await, and that’s certainly the case at these slopeside spots.
The Pow Pow Donuts truck at Winter Park’s base proves that the lure of a good donut extends well beyond the breakfast hour. Hop in line (better yet, order on your phone while riding up the chair) for a half bag or full bag of mini treats topped in a variety of ways. Plain, cinnamon sugar, and powdered sugar are classic, but you can up the ante by adding frosting, sprinkles, and even toppings like M&Ms, crushed Oreos, or Andes Mints. And what’s the other half of a perfect donut order? Coffee (or hot chocolate), of course!
As they say at Monarch Mountain, if your pocket is big enough, you can buy a burrito for later. If not, order at Flyby Burritos’ window, choose your vehicle (burrito or bowl), filling (steak to peppers and onions), salsa, and add-ons (guacamole, sour cream, etc.) and find a seat on the deck of the main lodge. If it’s been a particularly awesome day of shredding, celebrate with a shotski from Elmo’s Bar.
If it’s a bluebird day and you’re skiing Steamboat’s Sunshine Peak, be on the lookout for the Taco Beast idling outside of Rendezvous Lodge. This is no ordinary food truck; it’s a taco truck built onto the back of a snowcat. Choose from four kinds of tacos, but don’t miss the side of Mexican street corn, plus Mexican sodas and cerveza.
Across town at Howelsen Hill, those in the know clip in for Lunch Laps. Monday through Friday, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, the adorable and historic Outrun Snack Bar at the base offers the mid-day meal (any sandwich or hot dog, chips, fountain drink) for a mere $12.95. Snap a pic, post on social, and you might win extra swag.
The Sundance Chili Hut at the top of Winter Park’s Wild Spur lift is so beloved that we have a friend whose daughter once penned an ode to it for a school paper. The kiddo wrote that if she won the lottery she would buy it and extend the hours so it was open snow or shine. Just what instills such a deep-seated love? The hut itself is adorable, but the real draw is, of course, the cozy bowls of chili—white, beef, or veggie—topped with mountains of melted cheese.
We have to applaud GR Eats, the food truck at Granby Ranch (at the base of Quick Draw Express), for its small but mighty menu. There are tacos, yes, but there are also loaded brisket barbacoa fries with chipotle ranch; mac and cheese bites with smoked gouda and bacon; and crispy taquitos with Hatch chile. And leave room for dessert: just-baked chocolate-chip cookies, Bavarian cream-filled churros, and funnel cake.
Flyer’s, which sits at the top of Copper Mountain’s American Flyer lift has something of a cult following. Its selling point: elk cheddar-jalapeño brats and hot soups, all serviced by a small, stocked bar. There’s nothing fancy about it, but the ski-in, ski-out location and quick turnaround renders it a favorite.
Never enough nachos is a ski day mantra—and thanks to Thunderbird Taco Truck at Powderhorn, the craving is answered. Each standard order includes a mound of tortilla chips layered with queso, and you can add on from there. Choose from ground beef, chicken, pulled pork, or jackfruit, plus guac, sour cream, and salsa. For non-nacho eaters, there are also tacos (one order includes three), burritos, and quesadillas.
Bradley’s, which is housed in a refurbished shipping container at the base of Winter Park, is half truck and half hut. The spot dishes up all things chicken, including super crispy chicken tenders, chicken skewers, and a fried chicken sammy. There’s also a salad and a hummus and veggie wrap.
Rent the Gear. Own the Powder.
The snow is falling and the slopes are calling
It’s time to grab winter by the horns and ride. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice eager to take on the mountain, Christy Sports has everything you need for an unforgettable ski trip this season.
Christy Sports offers rentals at 30+ locations in Colorado, including at the base of some of your favorite mountain. Let the knowledgeable Christy’s staff get you geared up. You’ll spend less time waiting and more time carving.
Book in advance online and get 20% off all daily rentals.
Embrace the winter season with confidence, knowing that Christy’s has your back.
Visit Christy Sports to see all that they have on offer for snow lovers like you.
CSCUSA Visits Ski Noir 5280
DENVER, CO – Ever wonder what happens to all that rental gear when it’s time to be replaced? For one Colorado Ski Country USA ski area, all those rental skis, snowboards, boots, and other gear are paving the way for a diverse group of skiers and riders to enjoy the slopes. Last season, Eldora donated its entire ski and snowboard rental fleet to Ski Noir 5280, a club of diverse snowsports enthusiasts who love to share the winter sports experience through regular ski and snowboard trips. Ski Noir 5280 is a part of the National Brotherhood of Snowsports, a group dedicated to diversifying winter sports through competition and recreation.
Colorado Ski Country USA recently had the pleasure of taking a tour of the Ski Noir 5280 gear locker in Denver. The community center features a large room laid out for fitting lots of people with the right gear quickly, along with storage areas for skis, poles, snowboards, boots, and even ski pants and jackets in all different sizes and colors. President Quincy Shannon led the tour through several enviably organized rooms while sharing his vision of welcoming more people of color to skiing and snowboarding.
Out for Blood (and a Good Cause) at Loveland
GEORGETOWN, CO – Inclement weather conditions across the country caused more than 1,000 donations to go uncollected in early January, including 317 in the Front Range region. But on January 19, 90 skiers and snowboarders answered the call and donated blood at Loveland Ski Area.
Everyone who donated blood received a free lift ticket, good anytime during the 2023–24 season.
This is the fourth year Loveland has teamed up with Vitalant Colorado to do an on-mountain blood drives in the Upper Ridge Room at Loveland Ski Area.
Loveland and Vitalant Colorado will be doing another blood donation drive on April 8.
An A+ Day at A-Basin
DILLON, CO – Arapahoe Basin received nearly a foot of snow in the last 48 hours, with another foot forecast for the next 24. The past week has been just what the doctor ordered, and the doctor says, The Beavers and Pali terrain are now both open.
The A-Basin patrol team is working diligently to open more of the mountain as soon as possible. Check the Arapahoe Basin terrain status page for real-time updates.
Arapahoe Basin limits ticket sales every single day of the season in order to mitigate crowds, reduce stress on terrain, alleviate parking issues, shorten lift lines, preserve their guests’ experience, and maintain their reputation as a laid-back ski area, with room on the slopes and seats at the bar.
Photos courtesy of Lucas Herbert for Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
It’s Coming Down at Loveland
GEORGETOWN, CO – Loveland Ski Area is getting hammered, and skiers and snowboarders are loving it. It shows no sign of stopping, so for the love of Mike*, get thee to the slopes!
* Mike’s got a Gems Discount Card, and right now he’s knee deep in powder somewhere in Colorado Ski Country USA. Be like Mike, and get on out there!
In Safe Hands at Loveland
GEORGETOWN, CO – January is National Safety Awareness Month, focusing on resort safety education and promoting slope safety. This weekend marked Loveland Ski Area‘s Safety Weekend, which featured kid-friendly snow safety education, Ski Patrol Q & A sessions, sun safety tips, and information on terrain park safety.
Hundreds of skiers and snowboarders had the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the Your Responsibility Code and had the chance to win prizes by testing their knowledge of the code. A new addition this year was the Safety Coloring Station, where kids could color pictures of our avalanche rescue dogs and spend time with Zuma, the Avalanche Dog.
Purgatory’s Snowcat Adventures Kicks Off
DURANGO, CO – Purgatory Snowcat Adventures kicks off the 2024 winter season on Sunday, January 14. With 23 inches of fresh snowfall in the last 7 days and more expected through the weekend, PSA invites skiers and riders to venture beyond the resort boundaries and experience untracked powder turns.
The full-day adventure includes an average of 6–8 runs and a vertical descent ranging from 7,000 to 9,000 feet, with access to 35,000 acres of backcountry terrain. Purgatory Snowcat Adventures offers expert guiding, avalanche safety instruction and gear, and lunch for groups and individuals looking to experience the San Juan Mountains off-piste.
To kick off the season, PSA is offering an exclusive 30% discount on Sunday, January 14.
Your Moment of Zen
Photo and video courtesy of Purgatory Ski Resort
Rock the ‘Boat: 2024 Free Concert Series Lineup
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO – Steamboat Ski Resortis set to kick off the annual Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert series on Monday, January 15, with music from Big Sam’s Funky Nation as part of the Bud Light Cowboy Downhill. The remainder of the concert series features seven bands playing free performances during March and April. All concerts are free to the public and take place on the stage in Steamboat Square beginning around 3:30 pm (with the exception of the Bud Light Cowboy Downhill concert which starts at 2:30 pm).
The following outlines the full schedule of concerts as part of the Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert series: