Because they don’t call it Loveland for nothing, your tandem romantic adventure begins on the east side of the Continental Divide, at one of the least-crowded ski areas in Colorado. Founded in 1937, Loveland (skiloveland.com) not only delivers a bounty of terrain options, but also almost guarantees lift rides all to yourselves. Start with the Baja Benny breakfast at the Arapahoe Café in Dillon (626 Lake Dillon Ave., 970-468-0873, arapahoecafe.com), then make the 10-minute drive up I-70 to Loveland’s slopeside parking lot, where you’ll feel its trademark mellow vibe wash over you the moment you arrive. Do yourself a favor and get dressed in the lodge instead of your car; you can stash your shoes and boot bag under a chair before heading out, just as they do at mom-and-pop resorts in the Midwest. Warm up the quads with a long run down Drifter or Fire Cut, then head over to Chair 1, which offers the best skiing at Loveland. If you like steeper, ungroomed terrain, check out Cat’s Meow, Avalanche Bowl, and Zoom; if not, cruise down Spillway to Richard’s Run or Waterfall to Nix Nox. Make time to explore the wide-open upper slopes off of Chairs 4 and 8, and don’t be shy about tucking into the trees lower down, since they almost always hold untouched snow. The Basin Cafeteria serves a hearty variety of homemade soups and sandwiches, and the Rathskeller is as cool an après-ski bar—with a wide-ranging craft beer list—as you’ll find at any ski area. Once you’ve had your fill of old-school ski culture, head over Loveland Pass—which until the 1970s was the main route into Summit County from Denver—and down to Keystone. Throw on your favorite sweater and treat yourselves to a date-night dream at the quintessential Ski Tip Lodge (764 Montezuma Road, 800-354-4386, reservations recommended), crackling fireplace and all.
Summit is blessed with five stunning Nordic centers, but only one whisks you through the crown jewel of the county’s public open space, Cucumber Gulch. Drive up Ski Hill Road and park in front of the magnificent new day lodge at the Breckenridge Nordic Center (1200 Ski Hill Road, 970-453-6855, breckenridgenordic.com), with its massive views of the Tenmile Range and an atmosphere befitting its “Oh be joyful!” mantra. Check with the staff to see which trails were groomed overnight, but rest assured you can’t go wrong no matter where you point your skis (or snowshoes). If you’re feeling fit, head up Toad Alley to the Peaks Trail, which connects to New Nordic World and the Siberia Loop, a groomed zone with a backcountry feel. Stop for a quick warm-up at the Hallelujah Hut. After a vigorous morning, your muscles will be ready for an afternoon couples’ massage ($190 for 60 minutes) at local favorite Blue Sage Spa (224 S Main St., 970-453-7676, bluesagespa.com); follow it with craft ale or small-batch whiskey at AprÈs Handcrafted Libations just up the street (130 S Main St., apreslibations.com). Continue the day’s Nordic theme by making dinner reservations with Two Below Zero (970-453-1520, dinnersleighrides.com), which transports you by sleigh to a delicious meal of top sirloin, warm apple pie, and hot cocoa fortified with a complimentary shot of peppermint schnapps.
Today you’ll chase an oldie but goodie when it comes to couples skiing: the essence of slopeside romance that is the double chair. Breckenridge Ski Resort (breckenridge.com) has two of the best in 6 Chair and E Chair, found on Peaks 8 and 9, respectively. Marvel at the 13,000-foot summits around you as the fixed-grip lifts slowly hoist you toward the top. Hit American from the top of E Chair and Adios from the top of 6 Chair. Check out the revamped Peak 9 Restaurant for lunch, then return to your car and boogie over to A-Basin (arapahoebasin.com), where the Pallavicini chair represents everything good about double lifts and, for that matter, skiing in general. When your legs feel as wobbly as they did on your first date, head back down the mountain to an old log cabin at the west end of Frisco’s Main Street: the Blue Spruce Inn (20 Main St., 970-668-5900, thebluespruce.com), and order the Ultimate Dinner for Two: a shared appetizer (baked brie in puff pastry) followed by Canadian lobster tails, double chocolate mousse, and wine served by the intertwined glass.