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The Edge

Westword's guide to the 1997-98 ski and snowboard season

To drink beer in the evenings, Hanes heads to Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza & Brewpub (136 E. Second Ave.), where they also offer "fairly good Italian food." Another of Hanes's bar favorites is the Victoria Tavern (143 N. F St.), where they've had "live music since 1903."

Two other spots Hanes thinks are tops: the First Street Cafe (137 E. First) for lunch and dinner, "where a lot of the local art types hang out," and Crossroads Cafe (113 E. Sachett Ave), "where they have a lot of natural food and good buffalo burgers." And he likes to go with a big group to the Gourmet Chef (710 Milford) for "fairly good Chinese." He adds that it's a good place to order a lot of different dishes to share.

General Information: 1-719-539-3573. 1-719-539-3573, or 1-888-996-SNOW.
Snow Report: 1-800-228-7943.
Location: 175 miles southwest of Denver via U.S. Hwy. 285 to U.S. Hwy. 50 on Monarch Pass.

Opening and Closing Dates: November 23 to April 6.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Terrain: 21% beginner, 37% intermediate, 42% advanced. 670 developed acres, with a 1,160' vertical drop. Base: 10,790'; top: 11,950'; longest run: 2 miles.

Lifts: 4 double chairs.
Lift Rates: Adult full-day $26; student 13-18 full-day $22; child 7-12 full-day $17; senior $18; child under 6 and senior over 70 free.

Rentals: Adult basic ski package $9; child basic ski package $8; snowboard package $22.

Snowboarding/Cross-Country: Snowboarding welcome. Cross-country call 1-719-539-2581 for information (no cross-country rentals at ski area).

Special Events: TBA.

Powderhorn Resort
Brittany Gilman has the ideal high-school situation for someone who lives 45 minutes away from Powderhorn. The fifteen-year-old sophomore attends Fruita Monument, a year-round school that allows students to choose when they want the bulk of their vacations: summer or winter.

"Believe it or not, most of the kids want summer," Gilman says. "Only the serious skiers and snowboarders want the winter--which is December to March--off." Gilman puts herself in the latter category; she's been skiing since she was two years old, but she gave that up to snowboard exclusively three years ago. "I'm gonna try to compete more this year," she says. "Professional snowboarding is my dream job." Once school's out, Gilman says she's usually on the slopes every day.

And one of her cherished runs is through the trees. "We have this one in Mudslide," she says. "It's just a little area, this one part of it, and then there's a trail off Maverick, near the top, that's pretty good. We always get into trouble for going in there because we have to go under the ropes, but there's always some nice powder there and it's filled with boulders." She adds that there's "lots of air" in those spots.

Gilman says another area for powder aplenty is "at the top, when you're going toward Bill's Run," she explains. "Right before you get to Bill's, take a left and then hike up. Lots of powder." Bill's also figures into Gilman's favorite cruiser, which runs from there to Lower Equalizer to Midway. "It has lots of jumps that I like to hit on the way down, and you can get up speed," she says. And Bill's is also where Gilman thinks the best view is. "You can see the valley; you can see everywhere."

If you're just learning to snowboard, Gilman says, you should "definitely go on the bunny hill, like Easy Rider, and then move up to Midway." For a transition from blue to black, she suggests trying Equalizer or Racer's Edge. "They're not too steep, but not really flat," she says. "Equalizer usually has some bumps." And a good solid black would be either Mudslide or Yoohoo, especially, she says, "Yoohoo in the trees." She adds, "Yoohoo has quite a few good jumps, and you can go really fast; Mudslide is through the trees also, with some pretty steep parts and a bunch of little trees you can just jump right over."

And right after a big snow, Gilman says she always finds stashes in Snow Cloud. "If the snow's really heavy, you can get stuck, but if it's not too deep, there are great trees."

After a hard day of 'boarding, Gilman says she and her friends go to her hometown, Grand Junction, to get a pizza at Old Chicago (120 North Ave.). Although she's a vegetarian, she says her friends like Chelsea London Pub & Grill (Mesa Mall) for a burger, and she and her family often go to Gladstones (2531 N. 12th) for sandwiches and steak. Papa Murphy Take 'n' Bake Pizza (569 32nd Rd.) is their choice for Italian, and for Chinese, Gilman says she loves the vegetarian fare at Shanghai Garden Restaurant (715 Horizon Dr.). What Grand Junction seems to have the most of, though, is Mexican. "There are four really, really good places," Gilman says. "Todo Bien [Mesa Mall], Dos Hombres [569 32nd Rd.], Los Reyes [811 S. Seventh] and La Mexicana [1310 Ute]. They're about equal in goodness, really."

Before 'boarding, the best sit-down breakfast is at the Crystal Cafe (314 Main St.), she says, and "there are a lot of bagel places. I like Main Street Bagels [559 Main St.]." And a good local coffeeshop is the Common Grounds (1230 N. 12th), across from the college. "It has a nice atmosphere, and they have these little couches and really good bagels." And while Gilman hasn't been to a lot of fine-dining establishments, she did go to The Winery (624 Main St.) for a school dance and thought it was good. "Well, I was nervous, and I didn't eat very much--just a salad and mushrooms," she says. "But everybody else had all this great-looking chicken and steak and seafood. And it's a really nice place. Decent prices."

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