Unless you've been skiing under a rock for the last few decades... you're familiar with the term aprés-ski. In fact, you probably partake in this time-honored tradition as the closing ceremony to any long day on the slopes—as you should! But what about avant-ski—the preparatory ritual for those who enjoy a hearty fueling-up before hitting the slopes? For champions of breakfast (and brunch), it's just as important to the alpine routine as aprés, and with the delectable dining options found around Colarado resorts and ski towns, it's equally worthy of celebration.
Here's a round-up of avant-ski dining spots in and around popular Colorado ski destinations:
1. The Powder 8 Kitchen and Tap by Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a breakfast favorite located directly in front of the resort's combination lift—minimizing friction between your plate and planks. Don't want to step off the snow? No problem. Beaver Creek's 8100 restaurant serves up fresh, house-made Belgian waffle sticks slopeside for skiers/boarders to fuel up before walking just steps to the lift.
2. Trying to make first chair? Northside Kitchen Grab & Go is known for tasty burritos and coffee before 8 a.m., getting you to the lift line with time to spare. That is, if you can forego their legendary doughnuts and pastries.
Giant doughuts from Northside Coffee & Kitchen.
Copyright: Northside Coffee & Kitchen
3. Looking for on-mountain brunch that's over-the-top? You'll find it at the Four Seasons Resort’s Flame restaurant. Choose from a “create-your-own” parfait station, made-to-order custom omelets and a "Powder Day" menu packed with filling sweets (think gourmet pancakes and waffles) that will keep you charged up for a full day of stash-slashing.
Don't pass up Flame's signature Haut Chocolat that's every bit as decadent as it sounds—served in a French hot chocolate pot and presented on a silver tray. Made with melted Valrhona chocolate and steamed milk, it's churned table-side and poured over homemade chocolate marshmallows, topped with a dark chocolate lattice. You'll never look at a packet of Swiss Miss quite the same.
Flame Restaurant's signature Haut Chocolat.
Copyright: Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail
4. Sometimes there's no time for stopping (i.e. a powder day). Viceroy Snowmass has a uniquely delicious solution, serving up burritos-to-go slopeside from any hotel ski concierge. Stock up for the gondola ride and save valuable time for skiing. These are gourmet, freshly made burritos from the kitchen at NEST Public House.
5. Looking for affordable in Aspen? You'll find it at Poppycocks Cafe, a popular downtown spot serving breakfast 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and best known for their old fashioned oatmeal buttermilk pancakes.
6. When in Breck, do as the locals do and start your day off at Columbine Café. Favorites at this little café include vanilla coffee, the Florentine egg white omelette (made with ghost pepper cheese) and pancakes the size of your head. No kidding.
7. Estes Park is a hub for AT enthusiasts, and before heading out for a tour in the backcountry, the The Donut Haus Estes Park is the perfect place for a quick stop. Wafting with the smells of fresh pastries and breads daily, this place has been fueling powder-chasing Coloradans for more than 30 years. Just be sure to show up early, because when they sell out (and they will), that's it. And few things can make up for missing their favorites like the buttermilk cake donuts or fritter patties.
Don't be here when hungry strikes.