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Great escape to Glenwood Springs capped by another Battle Mountain ski title

February 28, 2016, 4:55 pm
The Glenwood Hot Springs.

The Glenwood Hot Springs.

Glenwood Springs, just an hour west of Vail, has a lot to offer as a quick getaway no matter the season.

We spent a couple of days and nights there over our recent mid-winter school break, staying at allegedly the most haunted hotel in Colorado (apologies to the Stanley in Estes Park) – Glenwood’s Hotel Colorado.

They can’t put up a sign claiming George Washington slept there but they can boast that two presidents – one of them fairly notable historically – did sleep there. Teddy Roosevelt, the father of our national park system, and William Taft, who I’m sure did something of note, both stayed at the Hotel Colorado back in the day.

You sense history in every nook and cranny of the rambling Italian villa-style hotel, but we did not encounter any of the spirits said to wander the cavernous hallways – presidential or otherwise.

Infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone supposedly used to hang out at the Hotel Colorado, and during World War II the hotel was used as a naval hospital, with a morgue and crematorium set up in the basement. If that doesn’t generate some ghostly ectoplasm, I’m not sure what will.

Only one member of my family, who shall remain nameless (and no, it wasn’t my ghost and zombie-obsessed 9-year-old), reported hearing ghostly footsteps during the night. Not saying how many cocktails may have been consumed the evening before.

Regardless of how haunted it is, the Hotel Colorado is affordable and a killer location for taking advantage of the very nearby Glenwood Hot Springs pool and a handful of excellent restaurants.

The Pullman, so named because of its proximity to the railroad station, is one of our favorites, although we didn’t hit it on this trip because it was slammed on a Wednesday night – even with Glenwood Canyon a three-hour night-time drive due to a rock slide. By the time we headed home on Friday, Interstate 70 was back open with two lanes of traffic during the day as well.

Instead, we hit Juicy Lucy’s, a fun steakhouse in an historic building that’s even better in the summer with rooftop dining. Even more fun is a taco and hot-dog place just down the street that’s called Slope and Hatch and serves some of the most creative tacos I’ve ever tasted, including calamari, barbecue beef and curry lamb. Be sure to indulge in their excellent margs as well.

And since we were in town for the purposes of attending the Colorado High School Ski Championships at Aspen High School – in which my oldest son Nick was competing as a Nordic racer – we also had to sample some up-valley restaurants.

We tried La Creperie du Village in Aspen – a great little downstairs lunch spot perfect for a glass of wine, a delicious bowl of French onion soup and a plate of meats and cheeses. We also visited a longtime favorite in Carbondale for dinner – Phat Thai – a place that serves some of the most creative and tasty pad tai I’ve tasted on the Western Slope.

To work off some of those calories we skinny skied along the Roaring Fork River on the Rio Grande trail, where a perfectly set classic track winds along the river in the tall pines. It was a great spot to get away from the seasonal hustle and bustle of Aspen but still close enough to Aspen High School to catch all the racing action.

The Battle Mountain boys defended their state ski title in dramatic fashion with a come-from-behind, second-day victory over host Aspen. The Huskies’ repeat Skimeister (best all-around skier in the state) Quintin Cook scored piles of points for Battle Mountain by winning both the giant slalom and slalom titles at Aspen Highlands and then turning in top results in the Nordic as well. The guy literally can do it all on skis.

Nick is new to Nordic but qualified for states and finished both classic and skate events, giving us a great excuse for a mid-winter escape (albeit in spring-like conditions) to the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s inspirational to see all these kids laying it on the line in heated battle with ski-town rivals from Summit County, Aspen, Steamboat, Grand County and the rest of the state.

And it reminds us all over again how great it is to live in Colorado’s high country.

Battle Mountain Huskies state champs 022816 (2)

The state champion boys and runner-up girls Battle Mountain Huskies Nordic team at Aspen High School on Friday (David O. Williams photo).

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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