Westword's Guide to teh '96-'97 ski and snowboard season

And once off the mountain, Bovee suggests that skiers and 'boarders refuel at Antonia's (817 U.S. Highway 6), an Italian eatery in Dillon that she says "walks the fine line between red-sauce and gourmet." She adds that "it's a small, quiet restaurant on the way from A-Basin to the interstate." Also in Dillon is Pug Ryan's (104 Village Place), which Bovee proposes as one of the better fine-dining establishments in the area; she also likes The Pioneer Saloon (105 Village Place), which she says is for those looking to down some beers. In Frisco, the next town over, Bovee points to Frisco's Bar and Grill (720 Granite Street) and Barclay's Basement Cafe (620 Main). "The Frisco has been good to the locals," she says. "And Barclay's is where the younger crowd hangs out." Also in Frisco are the Moose Jaw (208 Main Street)--"They have excellent burgers," Bovee says--and her choice for breakfast, the Log Cabin Cafe (121 Main Street). "The food there is very hearty," she says. "I love the huevos or the Denver omelette. Don't expect to hit the slopes right after that one."

General information: 1-800-468-5004 or 1-970-496-4242
Snow report: 1-970-468-4111
Location: 90 miles west of Denver via I-70 to exit 205 at Dillon, 12 miles east on U.S. Hwy. 6 through Keystone.

Opening and closing dates: Mid-November to early July.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Terrain: 10% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced, 20% expert. 490 skiable acres with a 2,250' vertical drop. Base: 10,800'; top: 13,050'; longest run: 1.5 miles.

Lifts: 1 triple chair, 4 double chairs.
Lift rates: TBA
Lessons: Group lesson $36 for 2.5 hours. Lesson with beginner lift ticket $45; lesson with all-mountain lift ticket $74. Private lesson $75/hour.

Rentals: Recreational package: Adult full-day $17; child full-day $11.
Snowboarding: Welcome. Lessons and rentals available.
Cross-country: Keystone Nordic Center. Call 1-800-258-9553 for

Special events: KBCO Cardboard Downhill Derby, Feb. 22; Beach n' Egg Hunt, Mar. 30; 8th Annual Bikes and Bumps, April; Beach n' Bikini Contest, May.

Arrowhead Mountain
Nikki Ramsey has a great view of Arrowhead Mountain from her house--it's right across the street. "I grew up around here," says Ramsey, 42. "My husband built the Singletree Golf Course years ago, and now we live on it." The close proximity means Ramsey can ski Arrowhead anytime she wants--last year she skied five days a week through the season--but she's not as inclined these days to choose Arrowhead over, say, Beaver Creek as she was when her kids were young. "Arrowhead only has thirteen runs," she explains. "So there's not a lot to choose from if you're above the beginner stage." It is, however, an excellent family mountain, she adds, and her son is proof: Tres is sixth in the nation in Super G competition.

But when Tres was a young thing, it was runs like Arrowhead's Little Bear that he cut his teeth on. "It's perfect for putting the straps on and bringing them down the mountain," Ramsey says. But when she hits the slopes, it's always on Golden Bear and Powwow Cresta. "They're both blue cruisers," Ramsey says. "They go from underneath the lift to the bottom." She adds that this season, Arrowhead will get a boost from Bachelor Gulch, the new section that was opened between Arrowhead and Beaver Creek, its sibling resort. "There will be some trees there, which Arrowhead doesn't have, and it'll be really good for 'boarders."

Good for eaters coming off Arrowhead is the Gashouse (U.S. Highway 6) in Edwards, Ramsey says, and Fiesta's (Edwards Plaza). "Fiesta's has got good Mexican," she says. "It's reasonable, too." For drinks, Ramsey stops by Champions (34444 B-1, U.S. Highway 6), and for sandwiches she picks Perks Deli (34295 U.S. Highway 6). But her absolute favorite is The Bristol at Arrowhead in the Country Club of the Rockies, located at Arrowhead Golf Course right at the base of the mountain. "It's fine dining, and you're gonna pay," Ramsey says. "I'll tell you what, though--the food is incredible."

General information: 1-970-926-3029
All other information: 1-970-845-5728. Arrowhead Mountain is now owned by Vail; see the section on Beaver Creek for further details.

Aspen Highlands
It took Dianne Garzoli a few years to come up with an occupation that would make it possible for her to live in Aspen and ski every day. "First I was a lift operator," the 37-year-old says. "But you can't be a ski bum and do that job. So then I was a waitress, and I worked in the hospital and for the Aspen Ski Company. Then, ten years ago, I decided to become a massage therapist." Now she has some say in her hours and can devote as much time as she wants to skiing, which wasn't always one of the San Francisco transplant's top priorities. "I had met this woman at a Girl Scout camp a million years ago," Garzoli says. "And she finally convinced me to stop by Aspen sixteen years ago on my way back from a trip to the Midwest. I had skied before, but this time I really fell in love with it. So I stayed."

And she's made her mark by being one of the original members of a group called Chicks on Sticks that's been congregating weekly on Aspen Highlands. "It just sort of evolved," Garzoli says. "I had a pass for all three mountains, but me and my girlfriends ended up on Highlands a lot. We started skiing together on Wednesdays, and we were being really rowdy on a lift once and some guy yelled something at us. One of my girlfriends said, 'Hey, you'd better leave us alone--we're chicks on sticks,' and the name stuck. Then this bartender friend of ours got beer donated for apres-ski, as sort of our sponsor, and more women started joining us." Garzoli estimates that there have always been between ten and twenty Chicks on the mountain at any given time, but she stresses that it's not one of those exclusive Aspen clubs. "Hey, if you show up at Highlands and see us and want to ski with us," she says, adding that they now assemble on Fridays, "then you are a Chick on Sticks."

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