With our snow-drenched valleys, charming ski towns and cozy mountain resorts, it’s hard to deny: Wintertime is magical in Colorado. Continue the experience well into the evening with dinner at one of these alpine restaurants, which can be reached by sleigh ride or gondola.
The highest elevation fine-dining restaurant in America at 11,966 feet, Telluride's Alpino Vino charms include fabulous views of the Wilson Range, elegant Italian alpine-themed à la carte lunch and five-course dinner menus, and a multi-tiered deck furnished with European teak furniture. Ski in during the day, or opt to be whisked to the meal of a lifetime via an enclosed snow coach.
Oh, you wanted a table with a view? Try sweeping vistas of steep, jagged mountains covered in snow — a scene that comes standard at this mountain-top restaurant, accessible only by gondola above Telluride. Filling, wilderness-inspired dishes like elk short loin and wild salmon are sure to satisfy after a long day of skiing and snowboarding.
If anything can make a night feel special, it’s exclusivity. This private facility in Vail’s Game Creek Bowl is normally reserved for members only, but at night, the restaurant opens to the public. It’s just a gondola and a snow cat ride away to reach this internationally influenced dining destination, nestled among towering evergreens.
A cozy cabin tucked away in Aspen’s snowy mountains, Cloud 9 harnesses all the charm of a Swiss chalet — only instead of the Alps, you’ll get picture-worthy views of Colorado’s famous Maroon Bells. Ride the snow cat here and nosh on warm fondue, flaky strudel and thick European stew.
More “mountain chateau” than “quaint cabin,” this expansive Avon eatery features icicle-adorned eaves, blazing fireplaces, rustic log furniture and exposed beams. To get here, take a snow cat-drawn sleigh ride (naturally) and spend the evening indulging in French-influenced dishes made from tender meats, fresh seafood and gourmet vegetables.
Hop on Keystone’s gondola and glide above snow-dusted trees and powdery runs all the way to the top of North Peak, where you’ll find this secluded AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. The open dining room feels formal and casual all at once, outfitted with white tablecloths, softly glowing lights, colossal log support-beams and antler chandeliers, while the extravagant prix fixe menus showcase contemporary Bavarian cuisine.
What’s a Steamboat winter escape without a little “dashing in the snow”? Bundle up for the trip to this casual restaurant, which includes a nighttime gondola trip, followed up with a snow cat-drawn sleigh ride beneath starry skies. The restaurant’s simple décor sets the scene for homey Scandinavian fare, such as succulent beef filet or flaky puff pastry smothered with seafood and brandy cream sauce.
Take a snowcat ride to the top of Ski Cooper near Leadville for a delicious gourmet meal on the top of the mountain in the crisp night air. Your meal will be a pairing of locally sourced ingredients and local wines, all served in a cozy yurt. These Saturday events sell out quickly, so book early!
Photos courtesy of Jack Affleck; Alpino Vino/Telluride Ski Resort; Jack Affleck/Alpenglow Stube; Allred's/Telluride Ski Resort