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Your Snow Survival Guide to Colorado’s Five Big Ski Towns

A cheat sheet to maximizing your skiing endurance, from the best superfood smoothie in Vail to Olympic alpine skier Caroline Lalive’s favorite post-ski yoga class in Steamboat Springs.

You don’t have to train like an Olympian to handle back-to-back powder days at Colorado’s top ski resorts. The secret behind first-to-last chair tenacity lies in fuel and recovery. Start your day with healthy, protein-packed breakfast options now plentiful in athlete-filled mountain towns. Delay that après ski cocktail until after a proper stretch session at a local yoga studio. And prepare for the next day with a spa treatment specially designed to revive the most in-demand muscles.

Aspen

Fuel Up: “Take the gondola up Aspen Mountain and ski to Bonnie’s, mid-mountain, for breakfast. It’s the best way to start the day,” suggests freestyle skier and Aspen native Torin Yater-Wallace.

Stretch it Out: This February, 02 Aspen debuts newly expanded digs on the Cooper Avenue Mall, where instructor Arielle Shippe’s Yin Yoga Stretch class is slow and mellow, with a focus on connective tissue (think ligaments and tendons that you’ve worked all day on the hill). Expect to hold poses from anywhere from two to five minutes.

Decompress: If you’ve come from sea level, adjust to the 8,000-foot elevation at the St. Regis Remède Spa oxygen lounge, then experience a different kind of Rocky Mountain High with a CBD Healing massage, which uses CBD hemp oil to decrease inflammation and alleviate muscle tension.

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Breckenridge

Fuel Up: The made-from-scratch ethos at Amazing Grace, a homey spot just off of Main Street, has earned it a loyal following with locals. Food-allergy friendly breakfast items include delicious gluten-free breakfast tacos.

Stretch it Out: After tackling the high terrain of Breck’s Peak 6, your body will need some TLC. The 4:15 pm Après Ski Align and Flow class at Meta Yoga Studios builds heat through breath while lengthening taut muscles with flowing postures.

Decompress: Blue Sage Spa is known for unique therapies, like its hot stone facial treatment that helps unblock sinuses. If you’ve overdone it on the slopes, the Chinese Sports Massage will release muscle tension while increasing circulation so you won’t feel achy the following day.

Crested Butte

Fuel Up: The Guild Café opens at 7 am daily so you can get a healthy start to your ski day with coconut chia porridge and a honey cayenne latte with house-made almond milk. 

Stretch it Out: Lizzie Hartson’s 6:30 am Pre-Ski Ashtanga class at Yoga for the Peaceful ensures you’ll start the day in correct alignment, while an Après Ski Restorative session will soothe mogul-weary muscles. Decompress: The Ski & Sport Leg Massage at Creekside Spa combines pain-relieving arnica oil and stretching techniques.

Steamboat Springs

Fuel Up: Locals swear the Popeye Protein Bowl, a medley of scrambled egg whites, spinach, peppers, onions, black beans, greens, and avocado, from Freshies can fuel them from first chair to last.

Stretch it Out: "I have never been a huge yoga-type, which is probably due to my joints' inability to bend after countless surgeries. I have so enjoyed my classes with Shannon Crow and the energy and knowledge she brings, says two-time Olympic alpine skier," Caroline Lalive. "Plus, I don’t think there’s a more picturesque studio in Steamboat than Out Here Yoga."

Decompress: With 150 geothermal hot springs nearby, skiers have no shortage of options for soaking sore muscles. Strawberry Hot Springs has some of the nicest facilities and offers Watsu Massage, a gentle water massage performed in a private heated pool.

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Vail

Fuel Up: Green Elephant Juicery delivers creative combinations of superfood smoothies, shooters, and juices to your condo or hotel. Skiers can stop by the Lionshead Village outpost en route to the gondola for a cold brew and a breakfast burrito stuffed with yams, black beans, tofu, and turmeric.

Stretch it Out: Local skiers have been known to skip après ski cocktails and instead head straight from the slopes to the 4:30 Slow Flow yoga class at Vail Vitality Center. Sequenced specifically for athletes, the practice focuses on opening up the hips, quads and hamstrings.

Decompress: The Sports Enthusiast Body Recovery Massage at the RockResorts Spa at the Arrabelle is the antidote for a day spent shredding Vail’s legendary Back Bowls. Therapists use a dry brush to stimulate lymphatic flow and a muscle melt cream to relax tight muscles, so you’re back at 100 percent the next day.

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