Dine at the Highest Elevation in North America

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area's Il Rifugio at Snow Plume offers comfort food for skiers and snowboarders
Il Rifugio 1 24

Photography by Ian Zinner

Sitting pretty at the summit of Arapahoe Basin, you’ll find Il Rifugio at Snow Plume. At 12,456 feet, it is the highest-elevation restaurant in North America. Following extensive renovation, the European-style bistro is now larger and features additional windows showcasing multiple views of the stunning beauty of the surrounding terrain. “The breathtaking views offer guests a dining experience reminiscent of those found in the Italian Alps,” says Christopher Rybak, Director F&B/CEC of Arapahoe Basin. “On a clear day, visitors can enjoy a sweeping view of the Continental Divide that stretches for about 100 miles as the crow flies.”

Il Rifugio 1 16

Diners may select from wine and charcuterie pairings featuring imported and local-to-Colorado meats and cheeses. Lobster bisque, sandwiches and salads, flatbread pizza and espresso drinks are also available to satiate the hunger of the most ravenous skiers and snowboarders. To get to Il Rifugio, guests can take the Lenawee lift to the summit. There is no foot passenger lift service down the mountain, so guests must be able to ski down with the proficiency and skills to comfortably descend at a blue-slope level.

Il Rifugio 1 8

The building, a former warming house, was expanded, upgraded and decorated with Italian porcelain tiles and hand-painted murals. Sustainability upgrades to Snow Plume help create minimal waste with composting restroom facilities. The building is powered by the highest solar array in North America installed on the roof.

Arapahoe Basin ski area is ranked among the top ten ski resorts in the mountain west for its affordability, snowiest terrain, and local flavor. It is also ranked first for the most challenging terrain in Colorado. With over 1,428 acres, the resort boasts seven distinct mountain areas that provide adventure, challenge and beautiful scenery. Novice to expert skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the experience they seek, and intermediate to expert skiers and riders can find variable, spicy backcountry-style skiing and riding in addition to some of the steepest in-bounds runs.

Il Rifugio 1 2

By limiting the sales of unrestricted season passes and daily lift tickets, Arapahoe Basin experiences less crowding, shorter lift lines, easier parking and more space in the resort’s dining facilities. The powder sticks around longer too.

Il Rifugio is now open five days a week from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm. The restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Categories: Mountain Travel