The Edge

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

As for a full meal of sushi, Simpson says she prefers Kenichi (533 E. Hopkins Ave.) because, "even though the food's the same at all of them, I like the atmosphere there better." And when asked about Mexican food, she replies, "Do you want cheap or good?" For the former, she recommends the local hangout La Cocina (308 E. Hopkins Ave.), but for the latter, she says Su Casa (315 E. Hyman Ave.) is the best in town.

In the morning, Simpson says she almost always stops by Cafe Ink (520 E. Durant Ave.). "They've got great coffee and pastries and stuff, and it's a fun place to hang out," she says. For a heavier breakfast, though, she heads to Poppycock's (609 E. Cooper Ave.) for pancakes.

And then there's the Hickory House (730 W. Main). "That's the place for a total greaseball experience," she says. "And sometimes that's just what you need on a powder day."

General Information: 1-970-925-1220.
Snow Report: 1-888-277-3676.
Location: 219 miles west of Denver via I-70 and Colo. Hwy. 82.
Opening and Closing Dates: November 22 to April 19.
Hours: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Terrain: 0% beginner, 35% intermediate, 35% advanced, 30% expert. 675 skiable acres with a 3,267' vertical drop. Base: 7,945'; top: 11,212'; longest run: 3 miles.

Lifts: 1 high-speed 6-passenger gondola, 1 quad Superchair, 2 quads, 4 double chairs.

Lift Rates: Adult full-day $59; child 7-12 full-day $35; child under 6 and senior over 70 free.

Rentals: Rental center at base of mountain.
Snowboarding/Cross-Country: Snowboarding prohibited. Cross-country call 1-970-923-2145 for information.

Special Events: Land Rover 24 Hours of Aspen, Dec. 13-14; Revlon Spirit of Skiing, Jan. 9-11; Aspen Mountain Day Wintersksl, Dec. 17; 21st Annual Gay Ski Week, Jan. 24-31; 11th Annual Response Chocolate Classic, Feb. TBA; Second Annual Aspen Women's Weekend, Feb. 6-8; America's Uphill Race, March TBA; Rocky Mountain Telemark Series, April TBA.

Beaver Creek Mountain
Brett Phares figures he has just about the best situation around. "I wanted to live in the mountains forever," he says. "I grew up in Denver, and I always knew that's where I wanted to be, and now I've been able to work it so that I can live here without forsaking my career."

Phares is an art director for Eagle River Interactive, a company that has only five offices, including one in Paris--and one in Edwards. That's where Phares has lived since June of 1996, and that's where he skips out of on powder days to snowboard at Beaver Creek. "As long as the work gets done, no one cares," Phares, 33, says. His office is across the street from the shuttle to the mountains, and while he does go to Vail on "big, big powder days," he spends most of his time at Beaver Creek. "It's more snowboard-friendly than Vail," Phares notes. "When you're in the back bowls there, you just spend so much time dragging your ass around."

Phares doesn't usually go after bumps; he's more of a tree man. One place he tries not to miss for trees is Bachelor Gulch--"It's a blast there," Phares enthuses--and he adds that there's also powder to be had at Pitchfork at Strawberry Park Express Lift. Good cruisers include Grubstake or Cabin Fever, both intermediates, as well as Centennial, a top-to-bottom speedster. Phares says he also likes to 'board Arrowhead Mountain for cruising. "It has some nice, fast areas," he explains. "And there are not as many people there."

When he does feel like a bumpy ride, Phares goes to Grouse Mountain. "Just about anything there can satisfy that need," he says. If the snow is good, he likes Birds of Prey, but "when it's just corduroy, go in the trees to look for more powder." The right side of Red Tail and the double-black tree run Royal Elk are two other spots for stashes, according to Phares, and he thinks Stickline is fun to be in when it's hardpack. "Harrier, too, is a real fun run, an intermediate that turns into an expert," he adds.

Since both his wife, Janice, and his daughter, six-year-old Margaux, are avid skiers, Phares says he looks for kid-friendly places to eat. "Let's see, the Gashouse [34185 U.S. Hwy. 6 in Edwards] is good for burgers and steak," he says. "And it's also a locals' bar." The Blue Moose (45 W. Thomas Place in Avon), too, is a locals' spot, which Phares says has excellent, reasonable pizza. "They have a deal--a couple of slices and a Coke for something like $3.50," he adds. "And people will go to the Gashouse for dinner and then the Blue Moose for a beer afterward."

Another superior burger comes from The Kitchen (1060 W. Beaver Creek Blvd. in Avon), according to Phares, which is also home to his favorite sushi place, Masato's (92 Beaver Creek Place), and favorite breakfast spot, Bob's Place (92 Beaver Creek Place in Avon). "Just your basic eggs and bacon," he explains, "but it's good, fast and cheap." In Edwards, Fiesta's (Edwards Plaza) offers breakfast on the weekends, and Phares says it also offers a good, cheap Mexican lunch. Another inexpensive lunch is available at the base of the mountain at, of all places, the Hyatt Regency (136 E. Thomas Place). "They have a burrito bar at the base," Phares explains, "and they do these killer burritos, like a Moroccan curried chicken."

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