Munch your way through the mountain

With at least 30 dining options around Copper Mountain, one of the best things about the ski day is you can enjoy a variety of dining experiences throughout the day.

Skiing or riding the slopes at Copper Mountain burns an average of about 400 calories an hour, so one should not feel the least bit guilty in indulging in some of the resort's tasty fare. 

By my count, there are about 30 different places to get grub at Copper Mountain, ranging from the on-mountain cafeterias Solitude Station and T-Rex Grill (which allow you to maximize your time on the slopes) to the more-upscale sit-down dining in the Center Village (which give your rubbery legs a nice break). 

Great deals abound: For $6, you can get a coffee (or hot chocolate) and a waffle at the Belgian Bean in the Center Village; for $5 you can get a devil dog and a soda or beer at Copper Red Hots in Burning Stone Plaza; and the $5.99 daily special at the Grand Hall Market in the East Village is wonderful. 

You can enjoy live apres-ski music at JJ's in the East Village and cool jazz at the C.B. Grille in the Center Village. 

If you're driving in to Copper from Interstate 70 in the morning, the quick diversion to Sky Chutes Coffee by the Conoco is worthwhile, if only for the melt-in-your-mouth high-elevation crafted Daylight Donuts, a sugary mainstay in Summit County.

For my money, though, the brand-new Storm King Lounge in the Center Village is where it's at. Sushi chefs Johnny and Patrick know what they're doing, and their freshly prepared rolls are fast, affordable and delicious.

Used to be it wasn't a good idea to order seafood in a landlocked state more than 9,000 feet above sea level, but the world has shrunk with regular air shipments, and these Japanese delicacies taste as fresh as you'd get in San Francisco or New York City. 

Try the Copper Philly -- cream cheese, cucumber and avocado topped with smoked salmon and scallions, or the Spyder Roll with tempura soft-shell crab, daikon sprouts, avocado and cucumber, topped with masago, sesame seeds and sweet soy. The miso soup also is worth a try: pleasantly salty broth offset with seared tofu and shiitake mushrooms.

With its modern Asian theme, this place opened up the Friday after Thanksgiving and already was drawing a good weeknight crowd of diners who were just discovering it less than a week later. Expect its popularity only to grow. 

Of course, one of the best thing about dining at Copper is that you can enjoy a variety of experiences throughout the day: Breakfast burritos at Camp Hale Coffee; a slice of 'za at Gustino's in the Center Village or a bowl of chili at the tiny little Flyers Chili Shack on the mountain for lunch; apres ski at Endo's Adrenaline Cafe; and Mexican food for dinner at either the new Casa Sanchez or the venerable Salsa Mountain Cantina. It's worth checking 'em all out.


Fish out of water

Sushi chefs Johnny, left, and Patrick know what they're doing at the brand-new Storm King Lounge in the Center Village.

Copper Philly roll, green tea, sake -- yum!

One of a dozen or so different sushi rolls offered at the Storm King Lounge, the Copper Philly includes cream cheese, cucumber and avocado topped with smoked salmon and scallions. Is your mouth watering?

Chopstick delight ...

Diners at the brand-new Storm King Lounge enjoy remarkably fresh and tasty sushi at 9,000 feet above sea level.

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