A new bike park, a new zip line, and some decadent mini donuts are just some of the season’s peak treats.
Photo by Mark Fox
Frisco Adventure Park transforms pine-beetle blight into biking nirvana.
Two years ago, things looked pretty bleak at the southern end of Lake Dillon: a rampant pine-beetle infestation had decimated yet another gorgeous grove of pines. But the bugs didn’t get the last laugh. Rising out of the ashes—or rather, out of the heaps of branches and needles—left in their wake comes the newly minted Frisco Adventure Park.
»Opened last summer (and operated as a tubing hill, terrain park, and beginner ski slope this past winter), the one-of-a-kind mountain bike park is now in high gear. The literal two-wheel playground consists of a series of dirt jumps and ramps with four runs suited to beginner through advanced riders, a downhill pump track, a flow track, and a dual slalom course. And unlike lift-accessed downhill runs on the nearby slopes, the course here is free to anyone who has a bike and wants to play.
“Frisco is on the leading edge in the bike park industry,” says Frisco Adventure Park operations manager Josh Olsen. “The riding community is blessed to have something like this at their fingertips. People have been waiting for this since they were children.”
Riders of all ages are welcome to rocket through the course; in fact, you’ll even find adult and youth bike camps offered by the Frisco Recreation Department. And if flying a kite, having a picnic, or playing ball is your preferred park pastime, the larger Peninsula Recreation Area accommodates with fields, a baseball diamond, and a day lodge serving snacks and beverages. The peninsula also has a complete disc golf course, a skate park, a number of hiking and biking trails, and a campground.
The infestation may have thinned the forest a bit (you’ll want extra sunscreen due to the lack of shade), but the horizon is full of new toys. Take that, pine beetles!
Copper Mountain's best little donut shop
From gargantuan halfpipes to knee-wobbling bungee jumps,
Copper Mountain is all about going big. Unless, that is, you happen to be talking about Jasmine Listou’s new turquoise-hued Sugar Lips eatery in Copper Mountain Village, where the mini donut looms large.
Cookie-size and fried to order, Listou’s petite dough rings get served piping hot and drizzled with a mess of sinfully good toppings, like a house-made strawberry sauce studded with graham cracker bits, a tart lemon curd, or good ol’ Nutella. Each order comes with a half-dozen donuts, but take our word for it: you’re going crave a dozen. And don’t expect to be alone—since getting her start at Denver’s Highland Farmers Market back in 2008, Listou has gained admirers from the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and the Huffington Post.
It all suggests that the next big thing in local power breakfasts will actually be pretty small.
Sugar Lips Mini Donuts
275 Ten Mile Circle
Hike This Now
at an elevation of 13,739 feet, Ptarmigan Peak offers everything a high-country trekker could wish for in a climb (although it won’t succor those afflicted with the fourteener fever). The six-mile, 3,407-vertical-foot journey weaves through shimmering aspen groves, stands of hardy lodgepole pines, spruce and fir forests, and sagebrush meadows ringed with eye-catching wildflower blooms. Near the summit, on a vast stretch of open tundra, omnipresent cool winds howl; throw on another layer, because the view at this exposed spot is worth reveling in. On clear days, you’ll spy just about every peak in the region, including the entire Gore and Tenmile mountain ranges, and you can look down upon Lake Dillon as if it were a mere puddle. If you’re lucky, you’ll share the panorama with the resident elk herd—and no one else.
From I-70, take the Silverthorne exit and head north on Hwy 9. Turn right at the first traffic light (Rainbow Drive) and take the first right onto Tanglewood Lane, then go right on Ptarmigan Trail, which turns into dirt. Look for the parking lot on the right. The well-marked trail begins farther up the dirt road on the right.
Most gold-mine tours send you spelunking underground.
Summit County’s new Top of the Rockies Zip Line (topoftherockieszipline.com), on the other hand, lets you soar above several of the state’s prolific glory holes.
Set to open this summer, this new zip-line tour located near Leadville charts a gravity-defying course through 2,000 private acres loaded with alpine splendor—think rushing creeks, waterfalls, and more than 50 historic mines—and never dips below 10,000 feet. But don’t just look down: views of 14,000-foot peaks like Mount Democrat, Mount Massive, Mount Arkansas, and Mount Elbert (Colorado’s highest) abound. Plus, the facility’s unique dual lines allow riders to glide side by side, a setup that can provide a sufficient modicum of comfort to the faint of heart.
One more bonus: the zips at Top of the Rockies are hands-free, meaning that when you catch sight of the abundant wildlife such as elk and deer, you can give them a neighborly wave hello.
Skiing magazine hypes a Keystone fixture.
From the Mangy Moose in Jackson, Wyoming, to Le P’tit Caribou in Quebec, North America claims some of the world’s most legendary après-ski bars. And thanks to Skiing, Keystone’s Snake River Saloon now ranks among them: this past April, the Boulder-based mag named the “Snake” one of the 10 best ski bars on the planet. (No hard feelings, Goat diehards.)
Of course, the Snake is no stranger to Summit County skiers. First opened as the Loveland Pass Bar back in 1975, it’s as much a part of the mountain as the bowls and glades of the Outback. If the log-cabin walls here could talk, they’d regale snow lovers with tales of fire-breathing bartenders and epic late-night live music shows from in-demand bands like Funkiphino, whose members refer to the Snake as a “home away from home.”
Sure, today you can find the occasional cosmo drinker in the crowd and spot escargot on the menu, but this late-breaking celebrity doesn’t curdle the Snake’s down-home charm. As of this June, burgers still go for around 10 bucks, and Thursday beer specials feature icy cold Budweisers for $1, alongside a full roster of ski-boot-scootin’ live tunes.
As for a seat at the bar? Now that you might have to fight for. Nobody said this fame thing was gonna be easy.