The Edge

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

The coffee and water are always on the table when she sits down at her favorite breakfast eatery, The Shack (740 Lincoln Ave.). "They're fast and good," she says. "The waitresses there are amazing, they're so quick. I try to go there every Sunday morning for this home-cooking type of breakfast with, like, great blueberry pancakes and a veggie hobo with eggs and hash browns and veggies all scrambled together and grilled."

Quick, too, is the way Hillman describes the lunch at the Steamboat Brewery and Tavern (435 Lincoln Ave.). "You can get great beer, great Scottish, and the porter's great, too," she says. And there's such a variety, like good pizza by the slice, hummus, fish tacos. I sit in the bar and get it fast and cheap." That's where Hillman heads for happy hour during the season as well, especially on "pizza and a pint" Wednesdays. "You get a pint for whatever the going pound rate is," she explains. "The Slopeside's good for happy hour, too; you get pizza for $5, $1 pints."

But her all-around favorite place to eat is Cugino's (825 Oak St.) for Italian. "It's really popular, though," she laments. "You have to wait forever to get in there. It's family-style Italian, pretty small, but their calzones are huge, and they do great specials. Get there at five, though, or you'll wait."

General Information: 1-970-879-6111 or 1-800-922-2722.
Snow Report: 1-970-879-7300.
Location: 157 miles northwest of Denver via I-70 west to Colo. Hwy. 9 (exit 205) to U.S. Hwy. 40.

Opening and Closing Dates: November 22 to April 12.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Terrain: 14% beginner, 56% intermediate, 30% advanced. 2,679 skiable acres with a 3,668' vertical drop. Base: 6,900'; top: 10,568'; longest run: 3 miles.

Lifts: 1 Silver Bullet gondola, 1 quad chair, 2 high-speed detachable quads, 7 triple chairs, 7 double chairs, 4 surface lifts.

Lift Rates: Adult full-day $48; child full-day $28; senior $29; senior over 70 free.

Rentals: Adult conventional $17; adult novice $21; adult performance $30; child $13; child performance $19.

Snowboarding/Cross-Country: Snowboarding welcome. Cross-country call Steamboat Touring Company at 1-970-879-8181, or call 1-970-879-0740 for other businesses and lodges.

Special Events: MTV's Winter Lodge, Nov. 23; Sprint Ski Town USA NC World Cup, Dec. 11-14; 24th Annual Norwest Bank Cowboy Downhill, Jan. 20; Jimmie Huega Ski Express, March 8; Cardboard Classic, April 12.

Sunlight Mountain Resort
Craig Amichaux thinks that Sunlight has the right attitude.
"The people who work there, the setup, everything's just so laid-back, it's a blast," Amichaux, 31, says. "Down-to-earth, no crowds. I love skiing there because of the attitude."

Amichaux grew up in Glenwood Springs, and he's skied just about every mountain around. He left to go to college and then moved to Seattle for five years. "I really wanted to get back to this area," the insurance adjuster says. "I'm so happy to be here again."

And he's especially happy to ski Sunlight. Amichaux started skiing when he was nine, and although he calls himself an intermediate skier, he's also a speed demon. "I just like to go fast," he admits. "I like the big, windy turns, and I just point my skis downhill and go."

For fast rides, Amichaux says he navigates Sun King and Peace Pipe. "They're wide open and have a few small jumps," he says. "Real nice terrain." He also favors Defiance, which he describes as "a little more advanced, very challenging."

For sheer difficulty, though, he says he has to mention Primo. "I ski on 210s, so Primo is a little rough for me," he confesses. "It's major bumps, straight down. You need to be an excellent skier for Primo." Friendlier bumps can be found on Ute. "We're talking about a lower-skill run. It's more for the intermediate, but it's a good one," he explains. "It's about a two-mile run that loops around the hill; you can go consecutively from start to finish and be totally exhausted at the bottom." He adds that the cutoff to Ute offers tremendous tree skiing. "There's an area where you have several small runs, and they all eventually end up connecting to the bottom of Ute. And there's a couple of areas where you can just blast through the trees on big powder days. I've been in there and gotten stuck, though, in serious powder."

A run similar to Primo, but not as "ferocious," says Amichaux, is Zephyr. "That's where you can get the best view of the mountain, just standing up there at the top of Zephyr. You can see the whole valley, the base of the mountain, Four Mile Park. And Zephyr's a black diamond, but it's nothing like Primo as far as bumps. But it's still a high-skill run."

Since Amichaux lives in Glenwood, he hits Daily Bread (729 Grand Ave.) before he heads to the mountain. "They have a good sit-down breakfast and lunch," he says. "They do all the standards, and the quiche is excellent." Another favored lunch is the one at the Eighth Street Deli (207 Eighth St.), which Amichaux says has "fantastic takeout. They serve some unbelievable lunches, with soups, sandwiches, something special every day. You can head up there in the a.m. to get something to take up onto the mountain."

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