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Colorado Is Calling

02/25/2016 05:35 EST | Updated 02/25/2017 05:12 EST

Ski bunnies in the know will tell you that the best powder and grooming in the U.S. is in Colorado. Plan on a few trips to this mountain state to shred the slopes and you're best off getting your mittens on an Epic Pass from Vail Resorts, which gives you unlimited access to five resorts in Colorado (not to mention seven others worldwide). Pack those boots, base layers and goggles pronto and conquer Breckenridge and Vail in one trip (the two resorts are just a half-hour drive apart).

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stay: Literally across the street from Breckenridge Ski Resort, the alpine-style Doubletree by Hilton hotel is so close to one of the gondolas you almost feel sheepish for using the ski valet. Small things like the warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in, the requisite cosy fireplace in the lobby and a recently renovated hot-tub terrace that gives you a gorgeous mountain view all add up to making it just-the-right comfy spot to crash.

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sip: More of a "I ski so I can après-ski" type? The carrot at the end of your Women's Ultimate 4 custom ski lesson with three GFs at Vail is a reserved table in a cosy lounge and a glass of vino (plus the lesson's conveniently scheduled from 12:45 to 3:15 in case you have a kid in ski school you need to pick up). Should you be in Breckenridge mid-January during Ullr Fest (the town's annual festival in honour of the Norse god of winter), register to take part in the Ullr ShotSki so you can (1) have a blast with more than 700 locals lined up and down the city's main street and (2) get bragging rights for taking part in the world's longest shotski.

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savour: If you're loving the Denver Broncos' win of Super Bowl 2016, then make reservations at the NFL Hall of Famer and former Bronco quarterback John Elway's restaurant--although the food itself scores a gourmet touchdown. What more indulgent way to enjoy some flavourful Colorado lamb than at Elway's Vail where it's served as lollipops you dip into a rich green chile cheese fondue. In Breckenridge, at Relish the vibe is friendly and casual, much like the historic town, but the seasonally inspired menu, which includes lusciously tender port-wine braised short ribs and perfectly cooked Rocky Mountain trout, is upscale.

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spa: It's easy to forget from one winter to the next how taxing a long day of skiing can be on the body. To recover from all of the runs you've done, and help make sure you're ready to hit the slopes again during your trip, book an apres-sports massage at the RockResorts Spa at the Lodge at Vail. It's designed to help stretch and soothe tired muscles as you breathe in your choice of calming, active or balancing aromatherapy. Post-treatment, put your feet up in the lounge as you savour a refreshing complimentary sorbet.

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strike: Tie on some chic bowling shoes and get set to knock all of the 10 pins down at Vail's Bol. This super modern bowling alley boasts 10 lanes and there's music keeping the place hopping while you wait your turn to bowl. And forget run of the mill pop and beer most alleys serve. At Bol you can enjoy craft cocktails (so many different ones, the menu fills a binder) and wine (choose from 400 different bottles) and delicious gourmet bites such as crisp organic tofu and scrumptious duck with hoisin bbq sauce and slaw tucked into in pillowy steamed bao.

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--Karen Kwan

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