A March 2003 trip
to Frisco by Foxboro Marmot
Quote: On a ski vacation, we like to try a number of mountains. It isn't worth paying to stay at the base of one when half the time we'll be driving off to another. Frisco looked like a good base.
Hotel | "Holiday Inn Summit County"
This hotel understands their clientele. Our typical Holiday Inn room had a couple extras--a small fridge and microwave, perfect for skiers on a budget because Safeway is just down the street. The room also had a rack which could hold four pairs of skis for those who didn't feel comfortable leaving them out on the car overnight. The front desk sells discounted lift tickets--at the same price as all the other discounters--and will just add the cost to your room charges, same as if you ordered room service. And there's a small ski shop in the hotel... prices are reasonable, but you can do a bit better at the independent shops along Route 9. We used Antlers Ski Shop for a rental... price was about the same as in the hotel, but we found a coupon giving us 15% off.
The 'Holidome' has an indoor pool with two hot tubs--one warmer than the other--a small exercise room, and a game room. Unfortunately, this area always had a stale cigarette smell about it, probably from teens sneaking a smoke in the game room while the 'rents weren't around.
If you're not looking for luxury or to stay right at the mountain base, but are looking for a family-friendly place at a reasonable rate, you'll like the Holiday Inn Summit County.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 8, 2003
Holiday Inn Frisco Summit County
1129 N Summit Blvd
Frisco, Colorado 80443
You might be able to get some really good information on slopes and trail conditions from people eating here... but some of them will steer you away from their favorite runs. They don't want you churning up their snow!
Pika's proud of their bagels. They claim to be, at 9100' above sea level, the highest specialty bagel shop in the US. While this is great if you want a bagel and local character, if you want more choices for breakfast, try the Butterhorn, just across the street.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 5, 2003
Pika Bagel and Bakery Cafe
401 Main Street
Frisco, Colorado 80443
Restaurant | "Butterhorn Cafe"
Unlike the Pika across the street, which attracts a stream of locals grabbing breakfast and heading out to face the day, the Butterhorn had more of a vacationing crowd. This is a place for people who want to have a leisurely breakfast while skimming the newspaper and planning the day. Not that the service is slow! It's a comfortable spot to hang out and relax with just one more refill on that coffee before heading out.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 5, 2003
Butterhorn Bakery & Cafe
408 West Main Street
Frisco, Colorado 80443
Restaurant | "Breckenridge Cattle and Fish Co."
The restaurant tries for an air of elegance, but somehow falls short. The waitstaff is attentive, yet not quite there when you look for them. The view of Maggie Pond and the Ten Mile Range might be inspiring in daylight, but at night not much more than some hotel and condo buildings are visible. Lastly, the dining room is nice and tries for plush, but falls short without any real character.
Our food was tasty and attractively presented but somehow soulless, a generic "good quality hotel restaurant dinner" similar to what you'd get for the price anywhere. Almond baked brie served with berries, walnuts and dried fig bits had some interesting tastes and textures, but the main courses--salmon and filet mignon--were good, but undistinguished.
For the price, it's hard to rate this place higher than 'somewhat recommended.'
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 6, 2003
Breckenridge Cattle and Fish Comoany
655 South Park Avenue
Mi Zoppo specializes in rich, hearty soups with bread and salads. The eight varieties of soup steaming away during our visit were full of vegetables, meat and fish--no watery broths here! The Cajun seafood chowder was thick and spicy, perfectly offset by the filling but somewhat bland small bread loaf that accompanied it. Mini-bread loaves were big sellers the evening we stopped by; the shop eventually ran out an hour before closing time. Rather than fire up the oven or serve soup without bread, a worker scampered next door to the Safeway for rolls.
For $5 you get 16 oz. of soup, a small bread loaf and a cookie. But wait, my impoverished ski bum friends, there's more! From 4pm to closing, $5.95 buys one quart of soup and two mini-bread loaves. It's a good deal and the food is a lot healthier than those cheese smothered fries from the A&W stand across the street!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 6, 2003
The dining room is calmer and quieter. We tried the Chicken Anasazi, highlighted on the menu as a Bon Appetit Magazine requested recipe. It was fabulous! Boneless chicken breast topped with crab, cream cheese and tomato covered with a chipotle cream sauce... each bite cycled though a number of different yet complimentary flavors and a little spicy kick. We're still not sure how the Anasazi got their crab, but we don't care.
It was a pleasant surprise to find this place on our last night in Frisco. Our biggest disappointment was that we wouldn't be able to return during this trip!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 8, 2003
Silverheels at the Ore House
603 Main Street
Frisco, Colorado 80443
We ski out west each year, but forgot how the Summit County altitude affects us. When you ski the Salt Lake City areas, at the end of the day you head down to the city, elevation about 4500'. If you ski Lake Tahoe, in the evening you come down to 6500'. But if you ski Summit County and stay in Frisco, you come down to 9100' overnight... and this can be a hardship for people who live near sea level! You don't have as much oxygen available at this altitude to fully recharge your body. It's clearly not as much of an issue for folks who live in Denver, but simply turning over in bed occasionally had us gasping for breath.
Frisco was selected one of the best towns for ski bums by Ski Magazine. We took that to mean that prices for food and lodging would be more affordable than other places and there'd be plenty of skiing available. Well, I guess that's true. We also expected there'd be an active night life. There isn't... but it's available 8 miles down the road in Breckenridge.
We were last in Frisco 12 years ago, and the town has changed. Where it used to be a slightly raggy Western town with one main street, a lot of the run down buildings are gone, replaced with generic Western ski town buildings. They're newer and cleaner, but the essential character, the comfortable funkyness of Frisco, is gone. Route 9 off I-70 is showing some unattractive suburban strip malling, too.
But we came to ski, planning to bounce around to a couple of mountains. We'd feel pretty dumb to have a pricey slope-side condo at Keystone then start half our days by strapping skis onto the roofrack and driving away. Better to economize by staying in Frisco and drive out each morning to wherever we felt like going.
Unfortunately, our trip followed a major storm which limited our options. Loveland had problems with power, as avalances took out electric lines to the area. We also stayed away from Arapahoe Basin, since so much of the skiing is above timberline and we needed the protection of the trees. Breckenridge and Keystone were both worth skiing more than once though!