There are a few things synonymous with Colorado in the wintertime - things you can count on with absolute certainty.
#1. Your skin will relinquish all it’s moisture and become so dry that you will have to slather yourself from head to toe with emollients three times a day just to keep your fingertips from cracking. It will be so dry that 75% of light switches you touch will administer a shock all the way up to your shoulder.
#2. There will be a day when you can go outside on your lunch break without a jacket, only to return five hours later to brush six inches of snow off your car.
#3. The mountains will be gorgeous and the little clusters of towns they contain will have a new life. Small talk in the office will abruptly change from hiking and camping to skiing and snowboarding
It has been 10 years since I have strapped skis on my feet and hurled myself down a mountain. Truthfully, I was a little afraid that I would have lost my touch - especially after finding out the hard way this summer that yes, you can forget how to ride a bike. Although, on the plus side, the basics of first-aid are something that come right to the forefront of one’s mind when needed!
After a mild amount of sweating and cursing, I clicked into my skis and awkwardly made my way over to the chair lift. Nervous adrenaline coursed through my veins as I rode up to the top. Following a wobbly dismount and a few tentative cuts and snowplows (and more influential - the group of toddlers that whizzed by me in a blur), I summoned up all my courage and just went for it.
Yes, yes, YES!!! To my utter amazement, I did not forget how to ski!!! Smiling down the wide open slopes in the bright sunshine, I barely concealed a giggle. Okay…I didn’t conceal anything. Ah! Far too much time has passed since the exquisite joy of downhill skiing!
Of course, skiing does nothing if not work up an appetite, right? I had been up to Breckenridge once before, about five years ago, and after a day of skiing was anxious to see if my favorite places remained intact.
GIAMPETRO’S PASTA AND PIZZERIA is a nice, small, mom n’ pop place with an attentive staff and comforting Italian specialties. Coming in from the cold to a nice warm bowl of toothsome polenta - with that creamy/saltiness that comes from just the right amount of Italian cheeses! - was completely satisfying. The main course, an eggplant Parmesan sub, had really good sauce (not too thick or sweet, thank goddess) and loads of melty gooey mozzarella. Finally ~ the cannoli! The shell was light and crispy. The filling was smooth as silk, speckled with vanilla bean, and surprisingly yet delightfully lemony. All this plus reasonable prices - especially for a mountain town, no less. Delizioso! http://www.giampietropizza.com/
LA FRANCAISE is an authentic boulangerie and patisserie. Walking in to the small cafe, with their Maurice Chevalier music playing and white-aproned chefs painting batter onto the disk-like crepe griddle, is instantly warming in more ways than one. The case was filled with a large selection of all buttery and flaky things your heart could desire ~ croissants, danish, eclairs, pain au chocolat! Brioche and beignets. Shiny fruit tarts and petite glossy cakes. Crispy pillows of meringues! While the layered moussy desserts are a sight to behold, I think their skill at La Francaise lies more so in the baked pastries. I got a piece they simply referred to as “the triangle.” It was an obtuse triangle of flaky laminated dough with a thin filling of almond paste, gorgeously ruptured crust of meringue on top, and darkly toasted almonds. It wholly satisfied my craving and was the perfect breakfast when paired with a big cup of vanilla bean tea.
While I adore Colorado year-round, despite it’s making me hydrationally-challenged and the sudden white-outs, it’s no secret that the little mountain towns fulfill their purpose in the winter months with experiences such as these.
For more on my Breckenridge trip, please see the Destination Article on the Ocean Summit Travel website. Thanks!