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Mug Shots: Where to get the best hot drinks at Colorado ski resorts

The Coffee Cowboy in Telluride 

By Sarah Tuff Dunn

One of the best things about being a ski parent is reverting back to childhood behavior—not so much the dragging of skis across the parking lot or throwing a temper tantrum face down in the snow, but more playing in the powder and, at the end of the day (or, heck, any time of day), sipping a mug of steaming, marshmallow-topped hot chocolate.

These days, Colorado Ski Country resorts brew up way more than the standard pre-mixed stuff poured from a spigot. Here are a few of our favorite winter warmers, straight up and spiked alike, served with a twist at unique ski-area spots.

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Camp Hale – Copper Mountain 

Camp Hale Coffee Company, Copper Mountain: Smack dab at the base of Copper, Camp Hale has lips smacking with such adult beverages as the Coppercino, made with St. Brendan’s Irish cream, Michael Collins Irish whiskey, and Kahlua coffee liqueur with a shot of espresso. Designated drivers and kids can enjoy a white hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and caramel syrup, among other offerings.

Steamboat Covered Wagon, Steamboat: The only thing better than hot chocolate is free hot chocolate, and the only thing better than free hot chocolate is free donut holes for dipping. Steamboat gets it right with complimentary “Champagne Powder Day” donut holes and cocoa at the covered wagon (across from the Steamboat Stage) daily at 3 p.m.

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Snoasis in Winter Park 

Snoasis, Winter Park: At the bottom of the Eskimo and Prospector ski lifts, this throwback escape from the wintry weather brews specialty drinks while also serving up bluebird-sky views. Or, for a real afternoon pick-me-up, venture to The Perk around 4:20 for the 420—four shots of espresso and 20 ounces of steamed hemp milk.

Coffee Cowboy, Telluride: A converted horse trailer in downtown Telluride, the Coffee Cowboy offers such aromatic après drinks as Lone Ranger (mocha with caramel) and Butch Cassidy (mocha with Irish cream). They’re on the high-end, at $5.25 apiece for a 16-ounce, but playing cowboys like a kid? That’s priceless.


Sarah Tuff Dunn

Sarah Tuff Dunn recently moved to Louisville, Colorado, with her husband, Carlton, and their two children, Dillon, 12, and Harper, 10. They’re looking forward to exploring the world-class skiing in Colorado, aided by the Colorado Ski Country 5th and 6th Grade Passport Program. Sarah has been writing professionally for nearly 25 years and her work has appeared in The New York Times, SKI, Skiing and Powder, among other publications. Read more of Sarah’s stories here and follow along with her Colorado skiing journey here