The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
In the early 1900s, a Polish immigrant named Frank “Beano” Bienkowski headed west from Chicago to make his fortune in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. On a small plot more than 9,000 feet above sea level, he carved out a life for himself by growing lettuce to sell in the valley below. Bienkowski’s legend lives on as the inspiration behind Beano’s Cabin, a 37-year-old outpost tucked amid the immaculately groomed ski runs of Beaver Creek Resort. In the cold-weather months, the only way to reach Beano’s is to clamber aboard a sleigh pulled by a snowcat. (In the summer, you can ride a horse or take a shuttle bus.) Once diners arrive, Mackenzie Nicholson, who became the venue’s executive chef in 2022, takes over with a decadent five-course spread. Indulge in hearty specialties such as elk short loin served with coffee parsnip purée, herbed confit tomato, and a cherry wild boar demi-glace and glazed Thumbelina carrots topped with walnuts, dill, feta, and caramelized yogurt.
Castle Creek Valley, just south of downtown Aspen, has played many roles over the years: Northern Ute hunting ground, silver mining hub, and failed downhill ski resort, to name a few. Today, it’s the site of a high-end restaurant, nestled among towering evergreen trees and the ghost town remains of Ashcroft. To dine at Pine Creek Cookhouse—a big, cozy log cabin with antler chandeliers and knotty wooden beams beloved by Roaring Fork Valley residents and tourists alike—guests will need to strap on a pair of snowshoes, click into a pair of cross-country skis, or step into a sleigh hauled by a duo of hulking Percheron or Belgian horses. Those who do are rewarded with sweeping views of the craggy Elk Mountains and a feast of mountain-inspired fare, such as pan-seared ruby red trout and grilled elk, two favorites that are always on the seasonally rotating menu.
After shredding Steamboat’s signature fluffy powder all day, guests should layer a little Wild West flourish onto their ski getups—a cowboy hat and boots maybe?—before heading to Haymaker Golf Course, situated three miles south of the ski resort on U.S. Highway 40, for supper. Then, they can pile into a sleigh and let two elegant draft horses whisk them around the rolling hills (that also double as cross-country trails). After taking in the scenic Yampa Valley for roughly half an hour, visitors tuck into a four-course dinner in the rustic clubhouse. There, they’ll enjoy the view out the clubhouse’s floor-to-ceiling windows, which, depending on the reservation time, stars either a colorful sunset or the Milky Way as dishes such as butternut squash bisque, braised short ribs, and root vegetable lasagna warm the body from the inside out.