The Edge

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

More of Losch's favorite ethnic dining: Red Orchid (206 N. Main) for "great Chinese, Hunans, sweet and sours and a killer pu pu platter," and Blue River Bistro (305 N. Main) for Italian. "They kind of do everything, from Northern to red sauce," she says. "Fried calamari, escargot, eggplant parmigiana, chicken fettuccine. All good." For pizza, she goes Downstairs at Eric's (111 S. Main)--she likes the burgers there, too--and for "super subs," her stomach growls for Bear's Soup and Sub Deli (500 S. Main).

For casual but more upscale dining, Losch loves The Hearth Stone (130 S. Ridge). "They do a lot of prime rib, braised lamb, crab-stuffed trout," Losch says. "They're not way expensive--I'd say most of it's around $16.95 to $19.95--but the portions are hearty, definitely not your yuppie portions." She adds that The Hearth Stone also makes fantastic spicy jalapeno-stuffed shrimp. "They're available for dinner and as an appetizer, but at happy hour they're only 75 cents each at the bar." Losch also likes the Steak & Rib of Breckenridge (208 N. Main), although it's "a little pricier," for good steak.

The thing Losch says she can't live without, though, is the green chile for breakfast at The Prospector (130 S. Main). "It's right downtown, small seating and wonderful food," she says. "You can get your basic over-easies with hash browns or home fries, and then there's that green chile. I've got to have that." But when the weather's no good, she starts the day with some pastries and coffee at Mountain Java Coffees & Books (1185 S. Ridge). "They have a little bookstore type of thing," she says. "When you don't have skiing or anything else to do, you can go there and sit down, like on a cold spring or fall morning. It's the best."

General Information: 1-970-453-5000.
Snow Report: 1-970-453-6118.
Location: 104 miles west of Denver via I-70 (exit 203), Colo. Hwy. 9 to Breckenridge.

Opening and Closing Dates: October 31 to May 3.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Terrain: 14% beginner, 26% intermediate, 60% expert. 2,031 skiable acres with a 3,398' vertical drop. Base: 9,600'; top: 12,998'; longest run: 3.5 miles.

Lifts: 6 high-speed quads, 1 triple chair, 7 double chairs, 5 surface lifts.
Lift Rates: Adult full-day $30-49; child full-day $15-17; senior 65-69 $30; child under 4 and senior over 70 free.

Rentals: Call 1-970-453-5000.
Snowboarding/Cross-Country: Snowboarding welcome. Cross-country call Breckenridge Nordic Center at 1-970-453-6855.

Special Events: Disabled Sports USA Ski Spectacular, Dec. 8-13; Breckenridge Freestyle Classic, Jan. 26-Feb. 1; Senior Games at the Summit, Feb. 8-10; Colorado Powder 8 Championships, Feb. 20; Rolex Junior Olympics, March 1-7.

Buttermilk
It took only five days for Ken Mattis to decide he wanted to move to Aspen forever. "I came out to visit my mom and stepfather from Tallahassee," Mattis says. "After five days here I called my roommates in Florida and told them I wasn't coming back. I sent them rent money, quit my job there and got a job here."

That was three years ago. Not long after, a friend introduced him to snowboarding. It took him only two days to decide he wanted to snowboard forever. "I was hooked. I sold everything--my skis and anything connected to them," he says. Now he's a snowboard instructor at Buttermilk--a golf pro during the summer--and this year he'll be the manager of D&E Snowboard Shop in Aspen. And he's enjoying his unfettered life. "The great thing about living here is that you don't need anything," the 27-year-old says. "All the apartments and condos are furnished, so basically all you need to worry about is clothes. You put your summer clothes in storage at the beginning of the winter, and then you take them out again and put your winter clothes in storage. No burdens."

It's also a load off his mind that Buttermilk is so easy to understand. "You've got three main areas at Buttermilk for 'boards," he explains. "There's West Buttermilk, there's the main area, and then there's the Tiehack side." The first one, he elaborates, is mostly blues and greens. "Go there first when you're just learning," he says. "I used to take a lot of beginners over there. It enables them to have a rest on the long, gorgeous ride up."

Mattis says the second area, the main portion of Buttermilk, is "just the big run that goes down the middle. There are a lot of people speeding by you, but it's easy to go slow runs. You can go on little runs off to the left and right, you can do top to bottom--whatever--and it will teach you to navigate traffic." So he maintains that West Buttermilk sets the snowboarder up, main gives them more practice, and Tiehack is where it gets serious. "That's where the black runs are," he says. The trees over there are awesome, like Timberdoodle Glades." He adds that Timberdoodle is especially superb when there's powder.

He also suggests that snowboarders who don't like bumps go over to Timberdoodle, drop in off the 'Catwalk up top, come out on Sterner Gulch, and then board down to the lift. "The trees in there are really nice--there are some good kickers and usually some good powder," he says.

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