Forget dinner and a show. How about dinner and an adventure instead?
Rather than simply hopping in the car and driving to dinner, you could amp up your winter dining experience by cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, riding a gondola or taking a horse-drawn sleigh to the restaurant. It’s not just the meal that matters, but also how much fun you have on your way there.
Below, a few of our favorite cozy eateries around the state that have a little extra adventure built in.
Beano’s Cabin, Allie’s Cabin and Zach’s Cabin at Beaver Creek Resort
Ski resorts typically use snowcats for snow-making and other heavy duty mountain operations. But the team at Beaver Creek Resort decided to get creative and use these rugged utility vehicles to pull sleighs filled with hungry guests to three luxurious on-mountain restaurants: Beano’s Cabin, Allie’s Cabin and Zach’s Cabin.
These high-end eateries are the ultimate cozy setting for a romantic meal. The only difficult choice you’ll have to make is which one to visit (better yet, make reservations for all three!). Allie’s serves up delicious Northern Italian fare, while Zach’s specializes in Alsatian cuisine. Beano’s, meanwhile, emphasizes dishes inspired by the surrounding Rockies, like elk short loin, bison tartare and duck confit.
On the mountain at Beaver Creek Resort, beavercreek.com. Beano’s, 970-754-3463; Allie’s, 970-754-5545; and Zach’s, 970-754-6575
Perched at 11,966 feet above sea level, Telluride’s Alpino Vino is one of the highest-elevation restaurants in North America. If you come for lunch, you can reach the eatery on skis. But, at night, you’ll need to ride the gondola up, then climb inside a custom-built, heated snowcoach for the rest of the journey.
When you arrive, you’ll be treated to tasty Italian Alpine cuisine and a robust wine list. And don’t forget to soak up all the European-inspired decor, like rustic furniture, hand-hewn wood beams, stone floors, sheepskin throws and a wood-burning fireplace. You might just forget you’re in Colorado and think you’ve been transported to the Dolomites instead!
See Forever Ski Run, Mountain Village, tellurideskiresort.com, 970-728-7560
Pine Creek Cookhouse
Strap on a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis and make your way across the sparkling snow to Pine Creek Cookhouse. Or, for a more relaxed journey, climb aboard a horse-drawn sleigh and let a team of Belgian or Percheron draft horses whisk you through the forested landscape of the Castle Creek Valley while you snuggle under a blanket. In the winter, these are the only ways to reach this beloved restaurant, which is located roughly 14 miles south of Aspen.
Whether you visit for lunch or dinner, you can expect warm hospitality and delicious food, all while gazing out at stunning views of the craggy, snow-dusted Elk Mountains. You can also join a guided cross-country ski or snowshoe tour, rent gear and take a private lesson if your skinny ski skills are a bit rusty.
12500 Castle Creek Road, Aspen, pinecreekcookhouse.com, 970-925-1044
Pack your cowboy hat for a winter road trip to Steamboat Springs. Here, you can ski or snowboard all day at Steamboat Ski Resort, then freshen up for a romantic sleigh ride dinner at the nearby Haymaker Golf Course.
Before you sit down to eat, you’ll climb into a sleigh pulled by two draft horses. As you snuggle under blankets and marvel at the starry sky, these gentle giants will take you on a magical journey across the snowy landscape before depositing you back at the clubhouse. (During the summer, Haymaker is a golf course and, during the winter, it gets groomed for cross-country skiing.)
Once inside, you’ll feast on hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dishes like craft beer cheese fondue, bone-in pork chops and butternut squash soup.
34855 US-40, Steamboat Springs, steamboat.com, 970-871-5150
2 Below Zero
Take your Summit County ski vacation up a notch by reserving one of 2 Below Zero’s lively sleigh ride dinners. You’ll go dashing through the snow on a sleigh, then indulge in a multi-course meal that ends with a slice of warm apple pie and hot cocoa (and, for Mom and Dad, there’s the opportunity to add a shot of peppermint schnapps!).
You’ll also get to enjoy live music during this entertaining evening, which is super family friendly (kids under the age of 3 are even free). If your little ones aren’t up for such a long outing, you can also book a shorter, 50-minute hot cocoa sleigh ride instead.
616 Recreation Way, Frisco, dinnersleighrides.com, 970-453-1520
Tennessee Pass Cookhouse
Located high, high in the Rockies near Leadville—at 10,800 feet above sea level, to be exact—Tennessee Pass Cookhouse offers a unique Colorado dining experience. You can enjoy a tasty lunch or dinner at the cookhouse. But, to get there, first you’ll need to cross-country ski, hike or snowshoe about a mile—and roughly 300 feet of elevation gain—through the beautiful San Isabel forest. (If you’re not able to get there on your own two feet, the staff will gladly give you a ride on a snowmobile!)
The cookhouse is rustic and intimate, with seating for only 40 guests at a time. It’s heated by a woodstove and illuminated by propane lanterns and candles. For dinner, chefs prepare five decadent courses, which you can pair with delicious biodynamic and organic wines. Lunch is a more casual affair, but no less delicious.
You can extend your experience at Tennessee Pass by booking one of the off-grid “sleep yurts,” which feature log beds, wood stoves and everything you need to be comfortable for a night of glamping.
E. Tennessee Rd., Leadville, tennesseepass.com, 719-486-8114