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Downhill slope: The Rathskeller

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I suspect I would drink at Loveland Ski Area's resident watering hole even if I didn't have a pass to the mountain. That might be overstating it, but I definitely have a soft spot for the cavernous, vaguely German joint. There are near-daily beer specials, good mountain banter, and 50 cent tacos after 2 p.m. on Tuesdays.

"There are only 59 Democrats now -- they lost their majority vote, or something like that," says a girl to her friend down the bar from my stool.

I order a Fat Tire draft ($2.25 on special) and soup of the day (crab bisque).

The beer arrives. The soup does not.

"What's new?" some guy asks the bartender, Dave.

"No snow," comes Dave's retort.

"You gotta go to Wolf Creek for snow."

I order another beer and soup. Dave brings me both this time. I ask him about the Rathskeller's history and he brings me a card with the history of the resort, but not a word about the bar.

"How long have you been here?"  I ask Dave on his next pass.

"On Earth? Since 1957."

"How about here?" I point to the bar.

"Fourteen years. I was a lift operator in 1978 but I don't remember half of it."

Dave walks away. Some flakes begin to fall outside. I finish my beer and gear up for the ride up Lift 1.

The Rathskeller, Loveland Ski Area, 303-569-3203.

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