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

For just the opposite of a peaceful effect, Schreck says to take Pete's Plunge. "You hike to Alberta Peak, a twenty-minute hike, and then ski the Peak," she says. "Then, at the base, there's little trees. Ski to the right and look for the big rock to the left of the numbered chutes. And then look out. Your heart will go into your throat, 'cause as it drops, you are free-falling through the fluff."

That kind of abuse requires the sort of recovery that can only come from a good steak, and Schreck says she knows the perfect place: The Rockaway Inn (30333 U.S. Highway 160 South) in Southfork, which, at twenty miles from the mountain, is the closest town. "The Rockaway is so cozy," Schreck says. "It's got a fireplace, and a massive piece of prime rib is only $14, with salad and soup and breadsticks. It's an awesome deal." She also favors the value at The Hungry Logger (47 Highway 149 in Southfork). "Cholesterol city," she says. "Huge pancakes." And for good Mexican, she offers La Casita (76 West Highway 149 in Southfork), but for great Mexican, only Dos Rios (1635 North U.S. Highway 285) will do. "That's twenty miles east of Southfork in Monte Vista," she says. "But I'm telling you, this place is so good, people drive from all over the valley to eat there."

General information: 1-970-264-5629
Snow report: 1-970-264-5629 or 1-800-SKI-WOLF
Location: 257 miles southwest of Denver via I-25, or U.S. Hwy. 285 and U.S. Hwy. 160.

Opening and closing dates: November 1 to mid-April.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Terrain: 20% beginner, 35% intermediate, 45% advanced. 800 skiable acres with a 1,425' vertical drop. Base: 10,350'; top: 11,775'; longest run: 2 miles.

Lifts: 2 triple chairs, 2 double chairs, 1 Poma lift, 1 rolling conveyer.
Lift rates: Adult full-day $33, half-day $24; child (12 and under) full-day $21, half-day $15; senior (65 and older) full-day $21, half-day $15.

Lessons: Group lessons: 4 hours $31, 2 hours $24. Beginner package: 4-hour lesson and beginner lift ticket $34. Private lesson $42/hour. Snowboard: 2-hour group lesson $24. Private snowboard lesson $42/hour.

Rentals: Adult $13; child $10. Snowboard $20.
Snowboarding: Welcome. Rentals and lessons available.

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