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Ski and Sleigh to Dinner this Winter

Colorado moonlit dinners fill bellies and satisfy winter adventure cravings.

By Lisa Blake

Looking for a fresh spin on dinner? With these backcountry experiences, getting to the table is half the fun. Call on horse-drawn sleighs, cross-country skis and powerful snowcats to deliver you to fire-warmed yurts filled with hearty menus, warm conversation and steamy beverages. You might just discover a new favorite winter tradition.

In Crested Butte, Uley’s Cabin Sleigh Ride Dinner brings generations together for a backcountry French feast. The fine dining mountain experience is named for local legend Uley Sheer, a miner, moonshiner and mountain man. Nuzzled in soft blankets, a snowcat-pulled sleigh carries guests up the mountain to a luxurious cabin for a fireside meal. Chefs pull in Colorado-inspired flavors and add an approachable French flair to craft a memorable menu.

Situated on the historic Aldasoro family ranch, Telluride Sleighs and Wagons treats guests to a special piece of Colorado land settled by farmers from Northern Spain’s Basque Country in the early 1920s. Guests are picked up in town and brought out to the ranch for a hot beverage before hopping on the snowcat-towed sleigh. A homemade family-style dinner in the woods awaits, starring Colorado-sourced beef, chicken, lamb and more. Two rides are offered nightly; an earlier ride geared toward families, and a later ride for adults.

Head to Steamboat Springs for a fully enclosed snowcat journey to one of the area’s top-rated Italian restaurants. The Four Points Snowcat Dinner invites groups to take the ski resort gondola up the mountain where a heated snowcat is ready to chug uphill to the five-course culinary experience. A full-on Northern Italian spread unfolds at 9,716 feet in four courses (think cheeses, meats, olives, salad and soup, ravioli and a full entree course with options like salmon piccata and veal agrodolce) followed by gelato and fresh-brewed espresso.

Frisco’s Two Below Zero winter dinners call on a mule-team-driven sleigh shushing to a backcountry camp under the vast Colorado night sky. Thick flannel blankets and hot cocoa accompany the 20-minute sleigh ride and servers welcome guests with Southwestern soup and rolls in a lantern-lit heated event tent. Menu selections include top sirloin and grilled marinated chicken sided with baked potatoes and veggies, along with warm apple pie and Peppermint Schnapps-spiked cocoa for dessert. Live music rounds out the Western-themed scene.

At Tennessee Pass Cookhouse near Ski Cooper (just down the road from Leadville), patrons earn their fine-dining experience by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing the mile to the backcountry yurt. The setting is true off-the-grid Colorado, with a woodstove pumping out heat, candles flickering and an outhouse for convenience. The four-course meal features seasonal chef’s whims, including Colorado rack of lamb, stuffed rainbow trout, grilled elk tenderloin and so much more. Not up for the ski or hike in? That’s alright. They’ll scoop you up on a snowmobile and take you to dinner.

Advanced reservations are required for all dinners. Find more winter adventure ideas at coloradoinfo.com/colorado-winter.