Winter Celebrated in America’s Highest City
Are you ready for a winter weekend of fun?! Then Leadville, Colorado is the place to be! Of course, Leadville Ski Joring will be center-stage on historic Harrison Avenue, but you also need to know where to get your grub on, the best places to do some day-drinking and some night-time boot-scooting. Starting Friday morning, historic Harrison Avenue will be closed so that the racecourse can be built. By nightfall, the fun kicks up and can be found down Old State Street (aka 2nd St) where DJ Riitmo Sweetz will be spinning the tunes and getting people out on the dance floor at the historic Pastime Bar & Cafe at 120 W. 2nd Street from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The kitchen is open until 10 p.m.
Saturday, March 7
This is always the BIG DAY of Leadville Ski Joring weekend, and it’s jam-packed with things to do! The crowds will be thick and if forecasters are on-target it could be snowy with temperatures hovering around freezing. But this is Leadville, so if you can’t tough it out at 10,152 feet, cowboy, then just stay home on the porch with the dogs!
The Leadville Elks Lodge can help you kick off the day right with their high-energy breakfast pancake breakfast, with proceeds benefiting some local worthwhile programs. Come and get it, both Saturday & Sunday from 7 – 11 a.m. in the basement of The Elks Lodge, which also graciously provides the headquarters for Leadville Ski Joring, so show some gratitude and buy a plate of their delicious grub.
Out on the avenue, the new Silver Llama Market & Eatery will be serving up some incredible meals to get your day going. Located across from the Announcer’s Grand Stand this “sister” business to everyone’s favorite Cookies With Altitude is a great place to start off any day with coffee, a breakfast treat and a menu of hearty options as well. Check them out at the KW Plaza in the Sayer McKee Building.
Right next door is the Treeline Kitchen which will be opening early on both Saturday & Sunday at 11 a.m. and hosting their Annual Rooftop Patio Party during LSJ weekend. It’s a great place to raise your glasses high while you look down on all the course action! You can also find some live music starting at 5:30 p.m. with one of Leadville’s favorite duo, Tim and Kristine Duo.
North on the Avenue and across the way is The Golden Burro. Yes, the Golden Burro. A long-standing Leadville tradition among visitors, this is a good weekend to stop in for a cup of joe at the counter or maybe one of their specialty items. Look for the bright neon sign of that “Brassy Ass.”
The Manhattan Bar will be packed! This is your best quick-beer-in-and-out place for some day-drinking shenanigans. But if you dare to wander in, be ready, know what you want to drink, and for goodness sake, have your cash out! The Hat’s Leadville Ski Joring specials include $5 Bloodys, $6 Hot Toddy’s, Spiked Cider or Coffee and $6 Margaritas. Those are some of the best booze prices you’ll find on the Avenue!
At the corner of 6th and Harrison, please stop by the Leadville Lions Club tent. This philanthropic, non-profit is the real deal. They are the Leadville worker bees making sure that the fireworks happen, that the flags hang on Harrison Ave., and generally giving back in countless other ways, through donations and scholarships. On Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., stop at the tent, grab a brat or just throw a few bucks in the can, it’ll go to worthwhile projects with transparent efforts. Roar!
Don’t forget D’Love’s (located next to Community Threads) always ready to satisfy that snack attack. From coffee and ice cream to pretzels and nachos, grab and go so you don’t miss out on any of the action. It’s also a good time to mention that there is a (small) grocery store on Harrison Avenue as well. El Mercadito can be found across from the courthouse, serving up fresh fruit and other baked goodies. Stop in and support this growing Leadville business.
On that same block, you can find the City On A Hill Coffee Shop which is “always busy” and the Chinese Restaurant, aka Szechuan Taste II on the corner. Psst, they also have a full bar if you’re looking for an uncrowded spot in the heart of the action to grab an adult beverage, this eatery on the corner of 5th and Harrison is a good spot for people-watching, especially if the snow is blowing.
If you’re looking for some tasty Tex-Mex grub then hit up Casa Sanchez, located front and center in the Quincy Building on Harrison Avenue. They serve lunch and dinner with an emphasis on Tex-Mex fare. Take note of another great Mexican Food Restuarant just off the main drag Casa Blanca on E. 2nd Street.
Now, if you’re going to enjoy Leadville’s true Wild West Show, then what better way to stave off the hunger than with a Belly Buster Burger! That’s right, Wild Bill’s Restaurant is back and no doubt that smell of burgers wafting down the avenue is coming from this recently renovated and re-opened eatery on the corner at 2nd Street. Stop in and check out the new digs and grab a burger basket.
If you’re in the mood for a steak dinner then Quincy’s is the place to be, but be prepared to wait. This will be a hot spot on Harrison, but if you find yourself waiting for a table then be sure to cheer on the racers from the Mineral Belt Mayhem! There’s nothing like piles and piles of fresh snow, to get a bunch of fat-tire enthusiasts to the start line. So when you spot all of those headlamps riding down Harrison Avenue this Saturday night, you’ll know it’s just The Cloud City Wheelers, along with dozens of other riders setting out on the next snowy course in the race series. The Leadville Winter Mountain Bikes Series continues this Saturday, March 7 with the Mineral Belt Mayhem, an 11.7-mile loop on the Mineral Belt Trail at night! Registration starts at 4 p.m. at Leadville’s local bike shop, Cycles of Life at 309 Harrison and it’ll cost you $20. The race starts at 6 p.m.
If you’re a foodie and you haven’t stopped into Tennessee Pass Café on the corner of 3rd and Harrison, then make sure you do. Even on a busy LSJ weekend, it’ll be worth the wait. They’ve jazzed up their winter menu recently, offering some new eclectic options as well as their old favorites like those incredible, one-of-a-kind melanzanna rolls. High Mountain Pies on W. 4th Street offers up a variety of pizzas, sandwiches, and salads. It’s a great place to take a load off and re-fuel. HMP is also a long-time LSJ sponsor and often helps re-fuel the guys and gals building the course on Friday.
Back out on Leadville’s main drag, visitors and locals should note that Leadville’s Legendary Silver Dollar Saloon has recently gone through some upgrades inside including a new floor and refurbished bar. Their menu now offers some tasty pub fares in one of the most historic settings in town. Stop in and say hi to Eric and the crew!
If it seems that this is the weekend when everyone goes country! So, if you’re looking to dust off your boots and show off your two-step, then take your pick from the following venues for a Lead Vegas Saturday night you’ll be talking about for days to come! The Elks Lodge Ski Joring dance is on Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. The public is welcome and there is no cover charge. The music kicks off at 8 p.m. and they definitely wrap things up by midnight, which means an old-school rock-slide down to the PT.
What’s the PT? If you’re a visitor or local who’s never been, then be sure to stop into one of the coolest old bars west of the Mississippi: The Pastime Bar & Café. It’s the last operating business on old State Street, Leadville’s former red-light district. The ambiance is pure old west mining town and here’s what’s happening this weekend: Friday, March 6, the kitchen open until 10 p.m. DJ Riitmo Sweetz will be spinning the tunes from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Kitchen open on Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm; Sunday kitchen 12 to 8 p.m. Leadville’s Historic Pastime Bar & Cafe is located at 120 W. 2nd Street, just down the way from Earl’s dispensary.
Saturday, March 7 will also see the return of the Backcountry Film Festival – Leadville at Periodic Brewing. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Films start at 7 pm. Here are some details: The Backcountry Film Festival is produced by Winter Wildlands Alliance as a celebration of the human-powered experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snowsports community. Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization that partners with groups like Colorado Mountain Club at the local level to inspire and educate the backcountry community to protect and care for their winter landscapes. Funds raised at each screening stay in the local community to support human-powered recreation and conservation efforts, winter education and avalanche/safety programs and to raise awareness of winter management issues.
Further up on Leadville’s eastside you can find Freight at 320 E. 9th Street which will be holding a live show with Buffalo Commons starting at 7 p.m. Details can be found on the venue’s Facebook Page.
Sunday, March 8
By the time Sunday rolls around, the cowgirls and cowpokes have been separated out in a last-boots-standing kind of way. And the LSJ action gets rolling at high noon. But if you’re looking for a crowd break, or perhaps even partake, then check out Leadville’s Paintball Biathlon: Skinny Skis and Shooting. If you have an interest in the growing sport of the Biathlon, then head on out to Tennessee Pass Nordic Center this Sunday, March 9 for the Annual Bill Koch Program Biathlon Nordic Race. What is it, you ask? Take cross country skiing and throw in some paintball guns; it’s really that simple. For each race (Kids 1 km, 5 km, or 10 km) you ski three laps. After the first lap, you shoot 5 shots prone (lying down). After your second lap, you shoot 5 shots standing. Then you ski your third lap as hard as you can. If you make a shot, seconds will be deducted from your overall ski time. The fastest skier at the end wins.
Sunday registration is from 9 – 10:30 a.m. at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center. The goal of this event is to help skiers have fun, be outside, and raise a little money. Expect more smiles than spandex and more excitement than electronic timing chips. For more information please call the Nordic Center at 719-486-1750.
If you’re looking to stock up on some suds for LSJ weekend, then stop into Leadville Liquors where they’re having Ski Joring in-store specials. You can find these deals out at the “drive-thru” liquor store by Safeway.
Need some Cannabis loot for LSJ weekend? Then Roots Rx Recreational can help you out. They are Leadville local’s choice and it was standing room only in this dispensary yesterday located at the southern bend of Harrison Avenue off Highway 24. RootsRx offers convenient, easy access with plenty of parking and most importantly a friendly, professional staff. Look for the green cross at 145 Front St, at the south end of town with plenty of free parking!
So, there you have it, that’s your Leadville Ski Joring Weekend entertainment report. Let us know if we missed you firstname.lastname@example.org. And stay tuned to Leadville Today for all your LSJ coverage, including the answers to your questions about this one-of-a-kind, Grand Daddy of ‘em All, Wild West Shows held in Leadville Today. See you out on the Avenue!