Ever tried drinking and dancing for hours at 11,500 feet? It’s a tough job. Even raising a glass of champagne to toast the bride and groom can cause a slight shortness of breath. Nonetheless, seems like we managed. A couple of weeks ago Brian, son of friends Tom and Kathy got married to Melanie on top of a mountain at a ski lodge above Keystone Resort. It was hands down the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever attended.
Timber Ridge Lodge is located at the top the of the North Peak and you feel like you are on top of the world. At 4:00 in the afternoon two separate gondola rides escorted us to the lodge with spectacular views along the way. At 11,500 ft, the views are stunning and the interior a cozy Mountain lodge atmosphere.
The ceremony was held outside on a wooden deck with majestic views of the Gore and Ten Mile Range as back drops.
We spent the next six hours with family and friends in glorious celebration.
When the announcement is finally made for last call for alcohol everyone rushes the bar for one more lemon-tini, the DJ starts packing up and as much as you hate it, it’s time to head down the hill. In the dark and I mean D-A-R-K.
Most of us have only been on a gondola on a bright sunny day, encapsulated with jubilant skiers, enjoying lively conversations about runs and moguls while gazing down at forty inches of fresh pillowy white powder. In the dark, you take note of your ominous surroundings. In daylight we hadn’t noticed that those gondolas creak, groan, grind, sway, have no lighting, and for no apparent reason stop periodically to dangle you in silence . And in June when you’re wearing a flouncy skirt and strappy heels, you take note that the dangle is above sheer granite. No powder, no sturdy boots or ski suit to cushion the blow when the cables snap and you plummet.
All of a sudden those cute little comprehensive graphics inside the gondola warning you not to hang legs, feet and head out the door that we chuckled about on the ride up, didn’t seem so frivolous. They also ask that you not jump wildly up and down in order to get the gondola to bouncing in mid-air. At that moment I took a deep sigh of relief that our friend Maralee wasn’t riding down with us.
And what if the thing breaks down? How do “they” get you out and off the mountain? You’re a couple hundred feet in the air and a couple of miles from town…do they get some guy out of bed at midnight to get dressed and run a cherry-picker up the hill while you sit there in the dark? Or do they send helicopters and you have to climb the ladder to safety? And who are “They”? The only people I saw running this operation were 17 years old guiding you to make sure your high heels didn’t catch in the metal mesh flooring as you were running along side the gondola to jump aboard? Ok, I’ve officially exaggerated, it was a brisk walk.
Oh, I suppose somewhere down in the village there’s a NASA type high-tech control room with dozens of men in white shirts, sleeves rolled up wearing black rimmed glasses staring intently at computer screens to make sure tiles don’t come loose as you re-enter the atmosphere.
Maybe I should have had one more lemon-tini before heading down the hill. Alrighty, so let’s talk about food.
On the way back to Denver, we stopped at Sunshine Cafe in Silverthorne. I had breakfast there about 20 years ago and remember it fondly as serving up some flat-out delicious breakfast food. When we walked in the door, I felt I was transported back in time. Nothing about the place had changed. Just picture a modest small town cafe. As you walk in the door, you are greeted with the smell of fresh brewed coffee, maple syrup, the sound of plates and silverware clanging and bustling attentive waitresses balancing generously filled plates of food on their palms while ushering you to your table.
I ordered Chicken Enchiladas nestled in a bed of perfectly cooked crispy shredded hash browns, topped with some of the best green chili I’ve ever had, sided with two sunny-side-up eggs and a beautiful bright avocado. You can order the green chili with or without pork. Mine was with.
Of course I had to try to recreate this at home. It’s a great Sunday Breakfast idea. Let’s take a look.
Just make a big pot of green chili. Dip some corn tortillas in enchilada sauce. Sautee them briefly in a small amount of olive oil in a skillet. They are very fragile at this point, carefully fill them with shredded cooked chicken breast and grated Monterey Jack cheese, top with green chili and bake in the oven until all is nice and warm. Maybe 15 minutes. Serve over hash browns, side with eggs and an avocado.
Enjoy a slide show of Keystone Village in the Summertime, the beaver ponds that line the Snake River, our gondola ride and the beautiful celebration of the marriage of Brian and Melanie.