Eat, Drink, Play: Beat the heat at 9,000 feet
Ryan Summerlin June 24, 2012
Temperatures in Denver are shattering records, sending many Front Rangers heading for the hills. Though the High Country can be counted on to be the balmy rarely-above-80 refuge most visitors are looking for, the sun can still be intense at 9,000 feet. Fortunately, in a high-altitude playground like Summit County, finding ways to stay cool is no chore.
The valley-based towns in Summit County lag about 20 degrees behind Denver pretty consistently throughout the year. But the peaks are even cooler.
In Breckenridge, the resort has already done all the work of out distancing the heat, offering summer chair lift rides to the reliably refreshing top of Peak 8. By June, the punishing wind the resort is notorious for in the winter has become a pleasant breeze, while guided hikes, mountain biking trails, wildflowers and incredible views sweeten the deal.
Activities on Dillon Reservoir, the lake at the center of Summit County, provide another great option to escape the heat, especially at certain times of day. In the evenings, shaded, breezy decks at the Tiki Bar in Dillon and the Island Grille in Frisco make for perfect hot-day hideaway. For early risers, there are kayaks. Mornings on the lake are beautiful, peaceful and cool. On clear days, the lake is calm and offers 360-degree views of the Tenmile Range, the Continental Divide and Buffalo Mountain. Kyle McKenzie, of Kayak Lake Dillon, offers a great 2.5-hour morning tour that departs the Frisco marina at
8 a.m. and provides everything from the boat to life jackets.
Bitter cold temperatures in Lake Dillon would prevent most people from swimming in the reservoir even if the owner, Denver Water’s policies didn’t. Since Summit County is short on outdoor public pools, most locals turn to the nearest inviting body of water when the urge to swim hits. Green Mountain Reservoir, located several miles north of Silverthorne, is smaller and warmer than Lake Dillon, though still cold. It’s a great spot for boating and water skiing for those with the right equipment. For those without, there is a popular cliff diving spot as well.
A healthy alternative to the normal summer staple – ice cream – is frozen yogurt, a democratized snack that is becoming a rising trend in Colorado. In Summit County, yogurt shops like Cameez, in Frisco, offer a fun, laid back atmosphere, and a panel of self-serve yogurt options that do not sound healthy at all. The fruity flavors are especially refreshing, particularly when paired with fresh fruit and guilt-free. For those not looking to skimp on calories, there are plenty of just-plain-yummy topping options as well. Cameez offers everything from gummies to chocolate to cereal and is open until 10 p.m.