by Kristen Lummis, BraveSkiMom.com
Whether you call it après-ski, happy hour or simply “time to eat,” stopping at the end of a ski day for some sustenance is a fun necessity for hungry families.
It’s a nice time to take a break together, dry out, warm up and enjoy some hearty family time, especially during the holidays.
Mac and More Mac
If you’ve got starving kids, Colorado’s ski resorts know just what they need: Mac ‘n’ cheese.
Although the full table-service menu is still under wraps, the word is out that a specialty of the newly renovated (and family friendly) 6th Alley Bar & Grill at Arapahoe Basin will feature macaroni, or as a resort rep put it, “Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Bake. Awesome.”
Just west on I-70, Copper Mountain gets in on the mac ‘n’ cheese trend with tasty noodles at Copper Red Hots. For kids and adults with more sophisticated tastes, they’ve got “add-ons” including feta cheese and spinach. Need something fast and simple? $5 will get you a Copper Red Hots hot dog, a soda or a beer.
Speaking of Dogs
Hot dogs indisputably make for quick, tasty eats, although most of us usually don’t think of these basic sausages as gourmet. Well, they do in Snowmass.
Adjacent to the Snowmass Mall, just steps beyond the Westin Resort, the Bar at Wildwood is a funky neo-60s hot spot with comfy couches, ski movies on the big screen, board games at each table and yes, gourmet hot dogs, with adventurous toppings (and 10 New Belgium beers on tap for mom and dad).
The nearby Ranger Station is another hot spot for New Belgium beverages, and offers delicious fresh lemonade and Bavarian Pretzel Rolls with dipping sauces (our favorites: cinnamon-sugar and the local mustard sauce), among other tasty treats.
Moving one step up the gourmet ladder brings us to Telluride’s Tomboy Tavern in Mountain Village.
In a nod to Telluride’s rich mining history, there’s a mining theme, but the miners of the last century would have been hard-pressed to recognize much beyond the beer. Favorites include the pork schnitzel sandwich, nachos and truffle fries, served indoors or on the outdoor heated patio.
Keeping it Active
While some families are looking to eat, others just want to keep the action going, even after the lifts stop turning. For active folk, local recreation centers in Aspen and Silverthorne are great options with indoor pools, waterslides and hot tubs.
Other options to look for at many resorts are tubing and ice-skating.
Copper Mountain also offers the Alpine Rush Zip Line (weekends only) and Woodward at Copper for freestyle training and practice on skis, boards, bikes and more.
How about night skiing? Beginning December 20, Steamboat opens up the Christie Peak Express from 5:30-8:30 on selected holiday and weekend evenings. In between runs, warm up and enjoy food and drinks at either the Slopeside or the Bear River Terrace, both at the base area.
Want to combine activity with eating? The Five Mountain Tavern in Winter Park’s Vintage Hotel is adjacent to the tubing hill.
Fuel up the kids on (you guessed it!) mac ‘n’ cheese and send them back out into the elements. Join them for the laughter and fun, or stay cozy indoors enjoying the only full-service bar on the resort. For an appetizer, try the mini-angus sliders.
Feed the Sweet Tooth
If its sugar you crave, check out the new Paradise Pizzeria and Ice Creamery at Durango Mountain Resort. Destined to be a family hotspot, the Paradise serves up hand-tossed pizza (and more), local beers (and more) and locally crafted, artisan ice creams and unique topping from Honeyville, a local honey farm. They even serve ice cream cocktails for adults.
There’s a play corner for the groms, ski movies for the teens and a brand-new patio to catch the sun’s last rays.
During the holidays, the Paradise will be screening favorite Christmas movies, offering a hot chocolate and s’mores bar and serving a special New Year’s Eve family feast.
The Sweet Spot in Mount Crested Butte offers a similar mash up of cocktails, food, sugar and fun. The arcade (featuring skee-ball) and the candy store are big draws for kids young and old.
If you’re looking for something more low key, the Montanya Distillery in Crested Butte has a kids’ nook with toys, dolls, paper, crayons and more to keep your kids comfortably happy while you take a distillery tour and enjoy live music accompanied by award-winning cocktail