By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
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Another area that hangs on to the snow is Hangman's Glade, Stephens says. "Get off the Conquest lift and take a skier's left. Hangman's doesn't get too windblown, and sometimes you can find powder stashes in there. Anyway, it's a good place to start looking."
Off the mountain, between the towns of Frasier and Granby, is what Stephens considers to be the best place for those looking for romance. The Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort (3530 County Rd. 83 in Tabernash) sits at the foot of the Continental Divide, "a working ranch people can stay at, or they can just eat there," she says. "It's surrounded by cross-country trails, and the restaurant, The Ranch House, has windows all around the back so you can see the Divide. It's truly breathtaking. Go at sunset; it's incredible. And the food's good, too: chicken, trout, wild boar, quail." She adds that it's only a fifteen-minute drive from Silver Creek.
Right up the road from the mountain is another of Stephens's favorites, Paul's Creekside Grill (at Silver Creek). "It's probably one of the best restaurants in Summit County," she says. "It's at the Inn at Silver Creek. Paul's does stuff like grilled trout and smoked-salmon appetizers, sort of hearty California-style food. People from Winter Park actually make the drive to get there."
For the real flavor of Granby, though, Stephens proposes The Longbranch Restaurant (185 E. Agate Ave.). "It's famous in these parts for their steak, and it's such a colorful atmosphere." She adds that the Longbranch does pizza, too, or "you could eat at Schatzi's Pasta and Pizza [183 E. Agate Ave.], located right there at the Longbranch." And the Longbranch is considered to be one of the locals' bars, along with the Silver Spur Saloon and Steakhouse (15 E. Agate Ave.). "They've got classic steak and baked potatoes, a country-Western atmosphere, always filled with rednecks--the nice kind," Stephens says.
She has another idea for pizza: "A lot of people who stay in the Silver Creek area order pizzas from Jimmy's Homemade Pizza [541 Zerex] in the Safeway Center in Frasier," she says. "They deliver in Frasier and out into the Silver Creek region." And then she thinks of another upscale spot, Caroline's Cuisine (9921 U.S. Hwy. 34). "It's a little drive, up at the Soda Springs Ranch on Highway 34 between Granby and Grand Lake, but it's a beautiful drive, and their homemade soups and fresh breads are wonderful," she says.
But the finest fresh breads, according to Stephens, come from a woman who bakes at the Mega-Mat, a Conoco station at the end of town toward Steamboat Springs. Called The Showboat Bakery and Deli (308 W. Agate Ave.), this little bakery "puts out the most amazing breads, like the cheddar-cheese-and-green-chile loaf I picked up this morning. Get there in the morning, when it's just out of the oven."
Also in the a.m., Stephens urges out-of-towners to eat breakfast at The Columbine Cafe (395 E. Agate Ave.). "You could say it's Western decor," she muses. "It drives me crazy, because I don't smoke, but you'll get your local flavor here. All the guys who work in construction go there." She prefers the Sunrise Grill (729 W. Agate Ave.) for fresh-squeezed orange juice and breakfast burritos, and "they do a good lunch, too." The other lunch spot Stephens recommends is Mad Munchies (420 E. Agate Ave.). "Several years ago some locals started it, and that's what I mean about this area being more intimate," she says. "Anyway, they do great subs and sandwiches that retain their homemade flavor. All the local office people go there."
General Information: 1-800-754-7458, 1-970-887-3384 or 1-970-629-1020.
Snow Report: 1-800-754-7458.
Location: 78 miles northwest of Denver via I-70 (exit 232) and U.S. Hwy. 40 west.
Opening and Closing Dates: November 26 to April 12.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Terrain: 30% beginner, 50% intermediate, 20% advanced. 252 developed acres with a 1,000' vertical drop. Base: 8,202'; top: 9,202'; longest run: 1.5 miles.
Lifts: 2 triple chairs, 1 double chair, 1 Poma lift, 1 surface lift.
Lift Rates: Adult full-day $32; teen 13-17 full-day $28; child 6-12 full-day $15; senior 62-69 $18; child under 5 and senior over 70 free.
Rentals: Adult $13; child and senior $7; snowboard package $22.
Snowboarding/Cross-Country: Snowboarding welcome. Cross-country call Silver Creek Cross-Country Center at 1-970-887-2152.
Special Events: Ski With Santa, Dec. 21-24; Christmas Eve Service, Dec. 24; New Year's Eve Parade and Fireworks, Dec. 31; Pineapple Days, April 6-12.
The Everitt family was already familiar with Leadville, since Dad had taught there for four years before they moved. In 1985, Everitt says, he'd had enough of teaching, and he started working for Ski Cooper as a professional ski patrolman and, later, as a mountain manager. He's been skiing for more than forty years, many of them at Cooper. "I love this mountain," Everitt says. "There are about 480 skiable acres, most of them beginner and intermediate runs. The expert runs are shorter, and good intermediate skiers can probably ski all over the black runs and enjoy them, except for Kamikazee. And there are basically no lift lines."