Après-ski 1

Article Meg Simon | Photography Twenty20

/ˌäprā ˈskē/  noun   the social activities and entertainment following a day’s skiing.

 

Colorado is home to some of the best skiing in the world, and with that, accompanying breakfast joints, dinner spots and family friendly festivals. While there are lots of excellent ski resorts and towns all across the state, you don’t need to go far from Denver to plan a weekend away or even just a day. As the winter approaches, we wanted to investigate three of the most accessible resorts from Denver: Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail. Here’s some insight as to where to eat, drink and play for kids—and grown-up kids—of all ages.

Breckenridge

Breckenridge is a family friendly place both on and off the mountain, with terrain for all ability levels, a very skilled ski school staff and food and activities that appeal to all ages. Every beginner and intermediate trail is groomed nightly, making the mountain accessible for those newer to the sport or wanting to enjoy the mountain in a more tranquil way. The town, too, offers something for everyone: shopping, a plentiful number of dining options and festivals and events throughout the year.

First Tracks | Breakfast

In a town where it can be difficult to find options affordable enough to feed the entire family, Columbine Café stands out as one of the most reasonably priced, atmospheric and quaint places to start your morning. With delicious homestyle cooking, this café can draw serious crowds. So, go on an unhurried day or get there early enough to avoid the wait.

Last Chair | Dinner/ Drinks

Mi Casa stands out as one of the best eating (and drinking!) options in Breck. Since it’s opening in 1981, Mi Casa Restaurant and Cantina has been a favorite. Enhanced by Mexican tiles, oil paintings and the aroma of freshly prepared Mexican food, the atmosphere is enticing. The restaurant strives to be family friendly while still offering more than 100 different tequilas, making Mi Casa a place for everyone.

The Bunny Hill | Fun for the Kids

For kids and adults alike, the annual International Snow Sculpture Championship in downtown Breckenridge exudes childlike magic. This year, the sculptors will arrive to begin carving January 24–28th, and the sculptures will be open for viewing January 28th through February 5th. Located at the Riverwalk Center in Downtown Breckenridge, artists travel from around the globe every year to transform uniform blocks of snow into artful masterpieces. The result is magical, for kids of all ages.

Keystone

Keystone Resort offers skiing for every ability level and style. With plenty of lengthy green and blue runs on Keystone’s Dercum Mountain, hike-to access for bowls in the Outback and one of the world’s top ranked terrain parks, there are a number of different ways to experience the beauty of this resort. In addition, the Keystone villages are located right at the base of the resort, so there’s no need to go far for before- and after-skiing fun.

First Tracks | Breakfast

Inxspot Coffeehouse, located in the River Run Village at the base of the gondola, is a wonderful place to grab a quick cup of coffee to drink on the lift or relax and read before the lifts open. Joint coffee shop and bookstore, the store stocks some of the latest titles for your reading pleasure. Breakfast is relatively affordable and can be as heavy or light as you’d like, from “The Alamo Burrito,” with scrambled eggs, pork sausage and green salsa, to delicious and simple granola bowls.

Last Chair | Dinner

Pizza 101 is a great place to order a calzone, pie, salad or plate of wings. The actual pizza joint is pretty tiny, so most people either pick-up their order or take advantage of Pizza 101’s delivery service. A great option for a relaxing night in; the only downside is the price.

The Bunny Hill | Fun for the Kids

In addition to the obvious ski school option, Keystone is home to a tubing hill, two separate outdoor skating rinks, sleigh rides and the world’s largest snow fort, making Keystone one of the most kid-friendly resorts in the world. There’s even year-round “Kidtopia,” events, planned children’s programs for off-snow exploration.

Vail

Vail is an enormous resort and after a snow, its size allows for skiers to find fresh powder long past first chair. For those looking for a leisurely day of skiing or new to the sport, the resort offers some of the longest green and blue runs in the world, allowing everyone to explore the grandiosity of the mountain regardless of skill level. The town is pricier than some neighboring resorts, but for those looking for a luxurious ski vacation, Vail has it all.

Last Chair | Dinner

When in Vail … dine in luxury. And when looking for fine dining, Matsuhisa is about as fine as it gets. While Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has three Colorado locations—Denver, Aspen and Vail—this location is perhaps the most exquisite with outdoor fire pits, stone fireplaces and custom woodwork, not to mention breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains. The experience comes with a hefty price tag, but Matsuhisa’s new-style Japanese cuisine, influenced by his classical training as a chef in Tokyo and also from his time in Peru and Argentina, is unforgettable.

The Bunny Hill | Fun for the Kids

One of the more-unique amenities Vail has to offer is their pint-sized snowmobile rentals, designed especially for kids! Available for kids 6–12 years old, your child can cruise around the Blizzard Speedway snowmobile track at whatever speed they desire. A great way to break up the ski week, these mini-snowmobiles are an outdoorsy kids’ dream.

Shopping in Leisure & Luxury

If Vail is known for anything aside from its skiing, it would be its shopping. With literally hundreds of shops at Vail’s base, you can find everything from jewelry to clothing boutiques, outdoor gear to kitschy souvenirs. From Arc’teryx, Helly Hansen and Patagonia to Bridge Street Jewelers and Artful Sol, Vail, again, has it all.