Mountain-top restaurants, either lift- or snowcat-accessed, make ski resort meetings really special. Here are our picks for the top spots in Colorado:
Several suitable eateries are at the Aspen- Snowmass area's four mountains. THE SUNDECK beside Aspen Mountain's Silver Queen gondola offers drop-dead mountain and valley views. Smaller groups join Friday night public dinners, while larger ones of up to 350 can reserve other evenings. Aspen Highlands' divine Alpine-style CLOUD 9 BISTRO accommodates 40 who ski in for lunch or snowcat in for dinner. Groups scheduling a race can book the SPIDER SABICH PICNIC PALACE right at the course. There's a huge deck, but just 50 fit indoors. Snowmass's LYNN BRITT CABIN requires a 30-person minimum for a four-course dinner and entertainment for up to 60. The smaller BURLINGAME CABIN holds 20 to 32. Both are ski-accessed for lunch, snowcat-accessed for dinner. BUMPS ATOP BUTTERMILK, steps from the lift, is open for private parties of up to 100 for dinner.
Crested Butte arranges First Tracks Breakfast or Last Tracks Dinner for groups. Even large groups board the Red Lady Express lift before the ski area officially opens and ski or board down to the PARADISE WARMING HUT for a self-service breakfast. Snowshoe, ski or board from the top of the lift to the ICE BAR & RESTAURANT for drinks on the deck and a private dinner for 40 people max in a quaint A-frame.
Steamboat's spacious THUNDERHEAD LODGE, renovated in 2006, at the top of the gondola accommodates groups of up to 300 for dinner in a commodious third-floor space. Planners can create a match menu of appetizers, salads, entrées, desserts and beverages. The views of the Yampa Valley are priceless.
Skiers and non-skiers reach Sarge's Shelter, a heated pavilion adjacent to MID-VAIL RESTAURANT, via the Vista Bahn chairlift. It's great for an on-mountain picnic lunch with various buffet menus. Indoor capacity is 500. Groups share the outdoor deck with the public. The elegant GAME CREEK RESTAURANT puts on memorable dinners or up to 26 in the private Club Room, 90 fora cocktail reception or 70 for dinner in the charming Bistro, or 175 for a cocktail reception, plated or buffet dinner in the baronial main level. The entire facility accommodates up to 250. Access is via snowcat from the top of the Eagle Bahn gondola. Minimum food and beverage charges apply to all.
ASPEN SKIING CO. // 970.925.1220 / www.aspensnowmass.com
THE SUNDECK // 970.925.1220, Ext. 6971
CLOUD 9 BISTRO // 970.544.3063
SPIDER SABICH PICNIC PALACE // 970.923.0465
LYNN BRITT // 970.923.0479
BURLINGAME CABIN // 970.923.0517
BUMPS ATOP BUTTERMILK // 970.920.0991
CRESTED BUTTE MOUNTAIN RESORT // 800.544.8448 / www.skicb.com
STEAMBOAT SKI & RESORT CORPORATION // 970.879.6111 / www.steamboat.com
VAIL RESORTS, INC. // 970.754.4510 / www.vail.snow.com