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by Rick Mazzola
November 26, 2012
Slow and steady.

Well, perhaps that's even a bit optimistic. But, there is snow in the mountains - albeit mostly man-made and groomed. Decent for introducing ski and snowboard muscles to the new season with wide, lethargic carves. Not-so-good for powder bashing.

Most Colorado ski resorts are open. Some are still waiting for snow. The warm fall has provided beautiful days for the state, but has stunted precipitation on slopes in the mountains that beckon for snow. The resorts equipped for churning out artificial snowflakes are spitting out as much frozen stuff as they can, and have opened half-a-dozen runs of the groomed kind. Those dependent strictly upon nature for their annual snowfall are tapping impatient ski boots on relatively bare ski slopes.

All goggles on Mother Nature, as it were.

Nonetheless, tallying cuts on groomers is not a bad way to spend the day. Especially when a cold microbrew awaits, regardless of the weather.

Below is the current standing of Colorado ski resorts for November 26th, and a suggestion for breweries and brewpubs when the lifts shut-down and the cities light-up.



Arapahoe Basin - Open (10%) / 18" base / 7 runs / Man-made
Beer Nearby: The closest craft beer to A-Basin resides in Lake Dillon, at the Dillon Dam Brewery or Pug Ryan's.

Aspen Highlands - Opening December 8th.
Beer Nearby: Aspen Brewery is your best bet. Try the Independence Pass Ale!

Aspen Mountain - Open (13%) / 18" base / 3 runs / 69 acres / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Again, Aspen Brewery. Or, a twenty-minute drive will take you to Carbondale Beer Works, in Carbondale.

Beaver Creek - Open (6%) / 18" base / 3 runs / 101 acres / Man-made
The "Beav" has expanded a bit, offering 17 additional acres.
Beer Nearby: Beer-wise, Bonfire Brewing in Eagle is to the east, and Crazy Mountain and Gore Range in Edwards are to the west. None are more than a ten minute ride.

Breckenridge - Open (6%) / 18" base / 7 runs / 145 acres / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Breckenridge Brewery, at the south end of town.

Buttermilk - Opening December 15th.
Beer Nearby: Aspen Brewery.

Copper Mountain - Open / 18" base / 15 runs / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Catch the Main St. exit off of I-70 and b-line to Backcountry Brewery.

Crested Butte - Open (12%) / 18" base / 6 runs / Man-made
For those you who don't spend enough time in the air leaping off of cornices and half-pipes, Crested Butte has a zip-line course that operates year-round. Bring your beanie!
Beer Nearby: Eldo Brewery in Crested Butte awaits those desiring a cold beer at the end of the day. Those staying in Gunnison should check out the Gunnison Brewery.

Eldora - Open / 23" base / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery or Very Nice Brewing.

Howelsen Hill - Opening December 1st.
Beer Nearby: Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill.

Keystone - Open / 18" base / 9 runs / 170 acres / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Being just down the way from A-Basin, the suds selection is the same - Dillon Dam Brewery or Pug Ryan's.

Loveland - Open (7%) / 18" base / 8 runs / 123 acres / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs is the closest Brewpub to Loveland.

Monarch - Opening sometime soon. The local favorite with the butterfly emblem is waiting not-so-patiently for some additional snowflakes.
Beer Nearby: In the meantime, have a barrel-aged beer at Elevation in Poncha Springs, or head over to Salida for a chili beer at Amica's or a boot-full of suds at Moonlight.

Powderhorn - Opening December 13th.
Beer Nearby: Head west towards Grand Junction and stop at Meadery of the Rockies or Palisade Brewing. In Grand Junction try Kannah Creek Brewing, Rockslide Brewpub or Breckenridge Ale House.

Purgatory - Open (4%) (Only Friday-Sunday for now.) / 12" base / Man-made
Beer Nearby: One could go either north or south for beer. South opens a wide selection in Durango with - Carver Brewing, Durango Brewing, Ska Brewing and Steamworks Brewing. North offers both Avalanche Brewing and Silverton Brewing in Silverton.

Silverton - Opening December 15th.
Beer Nearby: Easy - Avalanche Brewing or Silverton Brewing, or both!

Ski Cooper - Opening day unknown - still waiting for snow.
Beer Nearby: Backcountry in Frisco and Bonfire in Eagle are the closest.

Ski Granby Ranch - Opening December 12th.
Beer Nearby: Due north to Grand Lake Brewing.

Ski Hesperus - Opening soon.
Beer Nearby: All that Durango offers - Carver Brewing, Durango Brewing, Ska Brewing and Steamworks Brewing.

Ski Kendall - Opening soon.
Beer Nearby: Avalanche Brewing or Silverton Brewing in Silverton.

Snowmass - Open (4%) / 18" base / 4 runs / 84 acres / Man-made
The Aspen titan has 230 new acres of shred potential on Burnt Mountain, and a new, energy efficient, snazzy eating establishment at the top of Elk Camp gondola.
Beer Nearby: If it isn't obvious by now, Aspen Brewing is the closest brewery to all of the Aspen resorts.

Steamboat - Open / 8" base / 5 runs / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Whether racing on Howelsen Hill or shredding in Steamboat, the only choice is Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill.

Sunlight - Opening December 7th.
Beer Nearby: Enjoy a brew at Carbondale Beer Works in Carbondale or Glenwood Canyon Brewing in Glenwood Springs.

Telluride - Open / 18" base / 4 runs / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Smuggler's Brewpub and Grille or Telluride Brewing - both in Telluride.

Winter Park / Mary Jane - Open / 18" base / 4 runs / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Moffat Station Restaurant and Brewery.

Wolf Creek - Open (40%) / 17" base / 500 acres / 40% / Man-made
Beer Nearby: Heading west, Pagosa Brewing in Pagosa Springs. Heading East, Three Barrel Brewing in Del Norte.

Vail - Open (2%) / 18" base / Man-made
The massive resort has a new gondola it refers to as "one". It's fast, holds ten people, and offers Wi-Fi in every cabin!
Beer Nearby: Bonfire Brewing in Eagle.
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