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Mountaintop dining

By Claudia Carbone, Examiner.com

Lots of restaurants in Colorado boast inspired cuisine, international wine lists and impeccable service. But when you get it all above 10,000 feet in the midst of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, dining out just doesn’t get any better than this.

Whether you ski in for a sit-down lunch or ride a snowcat, gondola or horse-drawn sleigh up for a romantic dinner, you’ll find dining at these mountaintop eateries to be an unforgettable and unique experience and, yes, even an adventure. On-mountain restaurants feed you the most spectacular eye candy in the state. They are the ultimate treat for a holiday vacation or special occasion. Night time is the best time, when fires glow in the fireplace, candles flicker on the table and lights of the resort twinkle far below against a black sky. Plan to spend some bucks and be sure to make reservations well in advance.

Game Creek Club at Vail
www.gamecreekclub.com

Mountain clubs are ski resorts’ answer to golf clubs. At Vail, Game Creek Club is such a place. But non-members can taste the good life – or shall we say the good food – at the club’s Game Creek Restaurant, for dinner at least. In the richly appointed main dining room with upholstered chairs, savor wild game and fresh seafood dishes served with award-winning wines. The restaurant is hidden in Game Creek Bowl. From Lionshead, ride the gondola to Eagle’s Nest from where you’ll be shuttled by snowcat to the glowing lights of the lodge.

The Outpost atop North Peak, Keystone
www.keystoneresort.com

This gastronomic escapade begins with two gondola rides over the slopes of Keystone to The Outpost atop North Peak, the massive timber home of Alpenglow Stube at 11,444 feet. Inside North America’s highest fine dining restaurant, trade your boots for comfy slippers before entering the Swiss-style dining room. Under the eye of Executive Chef Skip McCarthy, award-winning chefs prepare exquisite (and expensive) seven-course prix fixe dinners. Or choose from the a la carte menu of the chefs’ favorite creations. Finish it off with cognac or port in front of a roaring fireplace.

Allred’s at Telluride
www.tellurideskiresort.com/allreds

The timber and stone building housing Allred’s perches on a cliff 1,800 feet above Telluride. To reach it, board the gondola, the historic town’s umbilical cord to chi-chi Mountain Village. As you rise upward on your ride to the midway station, the twinkling lights of the tiny town become distant as the snowy 13,000-foot San Juan Mountains engulf you. Inside, cozy up for the night with small plates and cocktails or enjoy fine dining from the à la carte menu. More than 250 wines from around the world complement the gourmet food.

Zach’s Cabin at Beaver Creek
www.beavercreek.com/zachs-cabin

Zach’s joins Beano’s and Allie’s Cabins at Beaver Creek as elegant yet rustic romantic sleigh-ride dinner destinations. This one is named for Zach Allen, father of Beaver Creek’s first female resident Allie Townsend, for whom Allie’s is named. With vaulted ceilings, a massive stone fireplace and huge windows for dazzling views of the Gore Range, 13,000-square-foot Zach’s is hardly a cabin. But its secluded location in an Aspen grove between Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch give it a cozy cabin feel. Sleighs leave from the Ritz-Carlton for dinner Thursday-Saturday.

Hazie’s at Steamboat
www.steamboat-dining.com/Hazies

The Werner family brought fame to Steamboat with three Werner kids sharing Olympic glory. It is fitting, then, that their mother Hazie is immortalized with a restaurant named in her honor. The alpine bistro sits halfway up Mount Werner in the Thunderhead Lodge. Ride the gondola, watching the twinkling lights of the Yampa Valley grow smaller as you reach the top. The dreamy ambiance temporarily fades walking through the terminal building—until you sit down for dinner. The set-priced Continental meal is as romantic as the ride.


RANDOM POSTS

Music is not a career for Ziggy Marley, it's his life — a life that has led him to spend more than two decades forging his own path through reggae music.

With the release of his newest album “Fly Rasta,” Ziggy has embarked on a national tour that pushes boundaries while also showcasing his distinctive reggae sound, which is infused with elements of psychedelica, rock, funk, soul and pop.

“I try not to limit myself to any genres in terms of what I feel can be put into what I do,” Marley said over the phone during a break from his tour. “I find that keeps me interesting and interested in the music and that open-mindedness makes me want to explore, to incorporate different elements that pushes the music forward or pushes it in a different direction to not just be living in the past.”

Possibly one of the biggest names in the Free Summer Concert Series lineup, the seven-time Grammy winner, philanthropist, singer, songwriter and producer will take the Howelsen Amphitheater stage later Wednesday evening. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

“The music is so positive, uplifting and powerful, it's hard not to enjoy yourself,” said Brian Alpart, also known as DJ Also Starring who will open for Ziggy. “I think his music is different than his father's even though it's absolutely inspired by it, but being a reggae fan you can hear the difference. With Bob's songs you can hear and feel those roots, but so many things have evolved from when Ziggy hit the stage. And yet he still passes on the same great vibes Bob intended.”

The oldest of reggae legend Bob Marley's 11 children, Ziggy has released 15 albums — 11 with his siblings The Melody Makers and five as solo albums — to critical acclaim. At 10, Ziggy became immersed in music while sitting in on recording sessions with his father.

The band Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers formed in 1979, and Ziggy and his siblings released over 11 albums with hit songs that garnered three Grammys. Ziggy has released several solo albums since 2003, including “Dragonfly,” as well as his Grammy Award-winning song, “Love Is My Religion,” “Family Time,” which won him his fifth career Grammy, and the Grammy-nominated song “Wild and Free.”

Ziggy is also a major supporter of a wide range of charitable causes such as Little Kids Rock, Amnesty International and U.R.G.E. (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a nonprofit organization he founded that benefits efforts in Jamaica, Ethiopia and other developing nations.

Despite his long list of accomplishments, the greatest in Marley's estimation has nothing to do with international acclaim or award-winning titles.

”Understanding love and how it reflects in the music, because love is the key,” he said. “It's everything. Love is the message, love is my religion, that's why I'm here.”

Having Ziggy Marley as part of the Free Summer Concert Series line-up raises the bar for quality acts that come to town with the series, said Coleman Cook, Free Summer Concert Series board president.

“This is along the lines of what we as a board are trying to achieve bringing higher level acts to town,” Cook said. “We want to continue to take it to new levels with higher quality acts while also sparking interest in up-and-coming acts.”

Although most concerts typically fall on Fridays and Saturdays, Cook said the caliber of musicianship and name recognition that comes with someone like Ziggy Marley justifies a weekday show similar to the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show, which occurred on a Thursday night in 2011.

“Reggae to me is about having fun, enjoying the summertime outside, having a good time,” Cook said. “That epitomizes the Free Summer Concert Series and is a great way to tie in everything we are about. I think people young and old will enjoy the show he will put on. I, personally, am so excited.”

Reggae music, with its underlying messages and culture that dates back to Jamaica in the late 1960s, is part of who Ziggy is and is inspiration that propels his music forward.

“Reggae music is consciousness of the world, that is the reputation we have, that is who we are,” he said. “The challenge with moving in a different direction is that some just want what has been, not what could be. Reggae is pushing boundaries; it's not the same old thing anymore.”

Never at rest, Ziggy said music is a constant learning process that requires openness and acceptance of something new, but he added that it's also important to always stay grounded.

“I've learned from my experiences and I am exploring my own universe, asking myself what do I see, what do I want and if I am satisfied and how can I continue to stay true to what is inside of me,” Ziggy said. “It's a work in progress. You may get closer and closer everyday but you never stop learning. It's all about learning and the journey and finding what does that journey really teach you.”

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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