As we all know, travel has been quite limited due to Covid-19. For anyone undertaking our style of roving retirement, this environment has been extra challenging. Back in January when we realized that returning to Europe anytime soon wasn’t in the cards, we decided to “winter” in Colorado.
So after Christmas in Tahoe and a week and a half in Utah, we flew to Colorado. Our plan was to spend a few weeks in the Breckenridge/Keystone area, followed by a week or two in Vail/Beaver Creek, and finally to check out Telluride and Crested Butte. All are places where our Epic passes work for skiing.
Breckenridge in Covid
We have been visiting Breckenridge every few years for the last 15 years. While the mountain isn’t our favorite (think Vail), there are lots of timeshare trades available so we continue to return. Besides the usual mask requirements, the resorts all have limited services. Pools, hot tubs, and gyms are by reservation only, if they are open at all. But other than some challenges getting dinner reservations at the best places in town, everything seems pretty much the same as before Covid. The other towns in the area such as Frisco and Silverthorne seem pretty much the same as well.
Unfortunately, Covid did cause the annual international ice sculpture competition to be canceled this year. Teams from all over the world compete in an ice sculpture contest and these sculptures are huge and truly impressive. We were able to attend a few years ago, so we can share some pictures.
Lodging in Breckenridge Valley
As mentioned earlier, there are lots of ski-in/ski-out timeshare properties in Breckenridge but there are none at Keystone or Frisco, which is a 20-minute drive from Breckenridge. There are also lots of hotels and condos that can be rented through hotel and condo booking applications. Our friends own Summit Mountain Rentals for anyone interested in renting a non-timeshare property in the area.
Dining in Breckenridge
There are lots of great places to eat in the Frisco/Breckenridge area, but seating is extremely limited this year, so you must make a reservation. Here are some of the places that we visited and the beautiful, tasty food that’s available.
We enjoyed wonderful cocktails and shared small-plates with some friends.
I’m sure getting to this place isn’t really very difficult but on a snowy night, I didn’t enjoy the ride. This restaurant is in a hotel on the top of a ridge that I’m sure has magnificent views during the day, but at night it is kind of wasted, but the food and service were exceptional.
Like several places in town, Ember has two new glass-domed eating areas essentially in their front yard. While they are heated and look like fun for a group, they are pretty pricy. We ate inside in a mostly empty dining room.
This casual restaurant is about 6 miles south of Breckenridge. Finding the front door on a snowy night was a challenge, but the food and the atmosphere are pretty old-mining-town authentic.
On Main Street, this casual restaurant has great food and lots of good drinks at reasonable prices.
Also on Main Street, while dining outside in the middle of winter isn’t my thing, there were people on the patio. They have loads of interesting cocktails and hearty mains.
Dining in Frisco
We stayed with friends in Frisco for enough time to sample some of the restaurants on Frisco’s Main Street.
Seems to be everyone’s favorite pizza. Pies took between an hour and 2 hours after ordering, that’s how slammed they typically are. But it was the best pizza I’ve had in quite a while.
Local saloon-style dining on one side and sushi bar on the other side. We ate on the saloon side and had a nice meal again with great service.
There are actually two restaurants together on this site. I’m not sure if they have combined them because of the Covid dining restrictions or not, but there was only one menu. Bison short-ribs and steaks seem to be popular all over Summit County. This restaurant included.
Skiing in Keystone and Breckenridge
Everyone has been telling us that snow conditions this year aren’t very good. But since January is considered the early season, we made allowances. As a result, lots of locals, including our friends who live here, haven’t been out much this year. Fortunately, over the last few weeks, there has been some new snow every few days providing freshies on the runs and in the trees.
Burying the Lead
You will notice that there aren’t any new pictures of me skiing. That’s because my ski season ended after 13 days. On our first ski day in Colorado, we headed to Keystone. As we were skiing toward the outer reaches of the resort, I stopped on the side of the slope, slipped backward, and promptly heard a big pop in my right knee. Having popped the ACL in my left knee about 27 years ago, I knew exactly what had happened. So, I got along an uncomfortable ride in a sled to the Urgent Care Clinic onsite. It was a Friday and the place was hopping. But, after an X-ray and about a 3-hour wait, I was told that I had torn my ACL (which I already knew) and given a brace and a referral to an orthopedist.
To make a long story short, over the last two weeks we met the orthopedist, had an MRI, completed ACL/MCL surgery, and started physical therapy. The first 5 days after surgery were admittedly awful but at the one week mark, I’m doing great. Mike on the other had to miss a week of skiing and now has to ski by himself, carefully.
Our plans for the next month or so in Colorado haven’t changed, I will just miss skiing Beavercreek, Vail, Telluride, and Crested Butte. Ah well, maybe next year.
Where do you like to go in the winter?