By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Eldora, which opens November 22, is known for its beginner-friendly slopes and lessons for first-timers, but Greene prefers some of the ski area's most extreme offerings. "I'll start my day off right by hitting Corona Bowl, Moose Glades and Brian's Glades first thing in the morning before heading in to work," he says.
Splurge: "Up just above where you turn for Eldora is the Sundance Lodge. They have a wonderful restaurant, and you can stay there if you're making it more than just a day trip: it has a real private mountain-cabin feel to it," Greene says. "For a nice splurge in town, Westword readers might like to know that we have an inordinate amount of weed shops, which is kind of fun. It cracks me up how many shops there are relative to the tiny population here, but Grateful Meds, Nedicate and the Canary's Song all have great reputations in town."
Ski bum tips: "I recommend stopping in town with the family or your ski date for a ride on the Carousel of Happiness, a restored carousel from 1910 with an original Wurlitzer organ," Greene says. "A local guy named Scott Harrison carved all the animals after the original wooden animals were sold off, and it's really the gem of the town. They run it year-round, and it'll be the best dollar you spend all day." To fill up on the cheap, Greene recommends the $10 Indian and Nepalese buffet at Kathmandu, at 110 North Jefferson Street. Spend $20 at Kathmandu or any local business — including Eldora — and bring your same-day receipt to Very Nice Brewing to get a two-for-one deal on your first round.
Drink locally: "I love the beer selection at the bar at Eldora because they always have really great Colorado microbrews on tap," Greene says. His own operation is still too small to distribute to the ski area, so stop by the brewery to try one of his five flagship beers or an ever-rotating mix of seasonal brews. Greene's especially proud of his "crazy locals" program, brewing up concoctions dreamed up by some of his most colorful customers. And like a true Nedhead, Greene also recommends checking out his closest competitor. "Wild Mountain, the other brewery in town, has smoked wings — pretty much the greatest wings I've ever had — and some great beers to go with them."
"When you come here after school and see 1,000 kids training on Howelsen Hill, it's pretty special," says Jim Boyne, who joined the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club as executive director on October 21, just in time for the club's 100th-anniversary season. "We've got ski jumpers, alpine skiers, snowboarders and freestyle skiers, cross-country skiers training at elite levels, as well as beginners, families and locals on the mountain.... Everybody's doing their thing."
The tiny ski area is named for Carl Howelsen, who founded it in 1913 and built a Nordic ski jump there, starting a tradition that continues today. "It's the oldest continuously operating ski area in Colorado — since 1915 — and we're proud of both our Olympic heritage and our strong partnership with the City of Steamboat, which owns the ski area," Boyne says. Howelsen Hill opens on November 30, and upcoming events this season include a sendoff to the many Olympic athletes with Steamboat roots headed for Sochi, as well as the annual Winter Carnival, February 5-9, when the SSWSC will mark its birthday.
Splurge: "If you've ever wanted to try Nordic ski-jumping, Howelsen Hill is your place," says Boyne. "We have the largest ski-jumping complex in North America, and there are opportunities to give it a try. For food, Bistro CV is a wonderful restaurant downtown, and Sweetwater Grill is right by Howelsen Hill, just across the river."
Ski bum tips: "You'll definitely want to find a good spot to watch all the kids jumping," Boyne reiterates. "They start on the smaller jumps and slowly but surely work their way up to the biggest of them, and it's quite a spectacle. It's the best free entertainment in town."
Drink locally: "We have a great local brewery called Mahogany Ridge, and I'd also recommend a visit to Carl's Tavern," Boyne says. "It's right by Howelsen Hill, was named for Carl Howelsen, and has all kinds of wonderful historic ski photos and memorabilia."
"The way to ski Keystone is to get on the chairs early and get right out to the Outback," says George Blincoe, general manager of the Dillon Dam Brewery in nearby Dillon. "When it starts to get more crowded, come to North Peak, where you can ski without much of a lift line even on weekends, and where you'll find some terrific tree skiing."
Keystone opened for the season on November 1 and is pushing its family-friendly vibe more than ever this season, adding new lesson packages, reserving free front-row parking in the main lot for families, and offering free lift tickets for kids with any two-night-minimum stay. (The resort gave away more than 25,000 kids' tickets under the program last season, according to Keystone spokeswoman Tucker Burton.)
Splurge: "The five-course dinner at Keystone Ranch is a favorite splurge, as is the Alpenglow Stube," Blincoe says. "If you've never done a hut trip in Colorado, I'd also recommend getting away from the resorts with a trip to Walter's Cabin up on Vail Pass or one of the other huts in the area. Check out Huts.org to book through the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association."