Denver’s Best Place to Skate Outdoors This Winter

A couple of weekends ago, my family had one of our favorite winter adventures in Colorado: We skated Evergreen Lake.

Located just 20 minutes from Denver off I-70, this lake is surrounded by blue spruce, pines, evergreens and is about as close to an authentic Canadian skating experience as you can get in the Denver-area.

Side note: I was raised gliding along frozen lakes and rivers and learned very quickly that pretty much anywhere is skatable and that frozen nose hairs are a fashion statement.

A large portion of the 40-acre Evergreen Lake is Zambonied (a true Canadian verb) into a skating area with several smaller enclaves for hockey. The Evergreen Lakehouse is a stellar place to warm up to some hot chocolate or an affordable selection of food from the snack bar.

Six-year-old Haddie took skating lessons last year but it was 4-year-old Bode’s first time on skates. Several parents had constructed makeshift structures to help their beginners but I did it the old-fashioned way: I strained my back as I leaned over teaching him how to glide. And I let him fall. A lot.

By the end, he was starting to get it and I was ecstatic I am installing one of my childhood passions into my American-Canadian half-breeds.

And enjoying a dose of the best Colorado has to offer along the way.

Tip: Be sure to call Evergreen Lake’s hotline (720) 880-1391 the morning of your visit for ice conditions. If you are planning a weekend visit, the earlier you go the better. The lake gets busier as the day goes on. Plus, if it’s warm the ice will get soft and slushy.

Prices: Tot (3 years and under): free; Youth (4 – 18) : $4.75; Adult (19 – 59): $5.00. Skate rental is $6.

Eats: Run (don’t walk) to Country Road Cafe. Located in Kittredge (just 2 miles from Evergreen), this unassuming log cabin is home to the best breakfast in Colorado (and often has a long wait on the weekends to prove it). With over 100 items on their menu, you can’t go wrong with their nine different kinds of Eggs Benedict or their famous smashed mashes. My husband has never deviated from their gargantuan breakfast burrito and my kids adore the fluffy over-sized stuffed pancakes. This time, I was tempted by their daily specials: an omelet with steak, mushroom, blue cheese, truffle Hollandaise and crispy onions. But the French toast stuffed with lemon-poppy cheesecake topped with almonds was pretty tempting, too.

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