Vail Never Fails and Food Finds in Frisco

Our roving retirement took us to Frisco, Colorado for a week of skiing at a few different resorts, including Vail, using our Epic Ski Pass. We are fortunate to have good friends in Frisco who let us stay with them when we are in town. This time, they were traveling themselves and didn’t return until the night before we left. We spent our time in typical winter fashion for us: skiing, travel planning, blog enhancement, and seeking out good food. I also took the opportunity to check in with my orthopedist.

Visiting Breckenridge

Last year, because I blew my ACL at Keystone the very first day in Colorado. I missed skiing Breckenridge and Vail as well as others. On our first day out this year, we headed to Breckenridge and we were able to find parking in the Gondola lot. That made getting up the mountain pretty easy. The top of Breckenridge is near 13000 feet and Frisco, where we were staying, is at about 9000 feet. So, we don’t go to the top our first day to lessen potential altitude sickness.

As described in This Year’s Challenging Trip to Tahoe and Park City, I ski with a knee and a back brace for about three hours each day. It turns out the back brace is like a corset and sometimes makes it difficult to breathe. Between that and the altitude, I’ve had to catch my breath more this year. That said, we had a nice three hours out at Breckenridge and I lived to tell about it. I must say the day was warm and super sunny, the snow was mostly in good shape and we really enjoyed our time outside.

Skiing Vail

Next, we headed to my very favorite place to ski, Vail. We parked in a lot and walked quite a ways to the lift, which wasn’t so easy, but I really wanted to head to the Back Bowls. I’m not sure when I’ll get to the Back Bowls again, so I was anxious to get there. We headed down some steep, skied-off runs that made me a little nervous. But we found some fun terrain and had a good time.

I began having pain in my leg, so we took a break and then did another run down the front. Another beautiful, sunny day. As usual, Mike skied a few more runs after I stopped.

We went to Vail a few days later and decided to valet park the car right in front of the lodge at Golden Peak. It was $20 more than the lot we went to earlier, but way less work, stress, and walking. Totally worth it in my book. We decided to ski the front, in part because the ortho doc, who has been skiing since he was three, said the Back Bowls without new snow was dangerous. So we worked our way around the front face to check things out. We had a really good time and they had gotten about 3 inches of new snow the night before. It was a special treat for me to be able to get some freshies on the side of the runs since I don’t go in the trees anymore.

Visiting the Doc

Knowing we would be in town, I decided back in December to make an appointment with the orthopedist who did my ACL repair. It turned out to be a really good idea for two reasons. First, my knee had become stiff and swollen, even before skiing. The last time it felt like this there was lots of fluid and also figured it was time for another cortisone shot. So, after our greetings and a cursory view of my knee, he drained it and then put the cortisone in. No more than three minutes and my knee felt so much better!

The second reason was to fix my knee brace ordered through the same office. Over Xmas in Tahoe, the brace was causing knee pain and even pinched a nerve. So, the doctor’s office called the rep for the brace and he came up from Denver the next day to refit it. All of my issues with the brace were solved in about 15 minutes and I’ve had no pain from the brace since. Awesome.

Skiing Keystone

Maybe it is silly, but I decided I didn’t want to go to Keystone. I really like the pitch of the mountain but, years ago, I broke my arm there and last year I blew my ACL there. Call me superstitious, but I’m just not ready to try out that mountain again. Still, Mike went on two of the days I didn’t ski. He said he had a good time, but he mostly stuck to doing laps on the front face.

A couple of restaurants I always liked at Keystone were the Alpenglow Stube and Der Fondue Chessel, neither of which is open this year. That makes it a little less appealing to wander around the top of Keystone. Years ago, we had the most wonderful lunch with the kids at Alpenglow Stube. We took off our boots and put on the slippers they provided and two of us had a traditional Alpine buffet and the other two got the dish of the day. I’m sure it was at least a two-and-a-half-hour lunch and it was so memorable even after 15 years.

Food in Frisco and Breckenridge

If we have access to a full kitchen where we are staying, as we did this year, our usual routine is to go out every other night. We chose to hit a couple of restaurants we tried last year as well as a few new finds.


Aurum in Breckenridge is a favorite of ours. It has small plates with very good food and drinks. Unfortunately, with just two of us we couldn’t get that many dishes but the Korean BBQ Chicken was outstanding.

Tavern West

The Tavern West restaurant in Frisco had a great bar scene and the football playoff game was on, but the food fell short. Mike sent his dinner back twice, but we had a good time anyway.


Our friends told us a great new spot in Breckenridge was Rootstalk. Frankly, we have to agree with them. They had a tasting menu but we opted out of that because we just can’t eat that much. So instead, we had two appetizers and two entrees. The food was fabulous and so were the drinks.


The Relish restaurant was well rated on Opentable but fell short in a bunch of ways. Since I’m not really into restaurant bashing, I won’t go into the details but we didn’t stay for dessert.

What would you do if you visited Frisco, Colorado in the winter?

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