Super Bowls and Back Bowls: Watch the Action at Ski Resorts
Over the Super Bowl’s 47-year history, I’ve viewed the game from all the usual TV venues.
I’ve watched it from bars, dorms, homes, motels, hotels, airports and cruise ships.
I’ve seen it at a church with fans cheering the team bearing the Christian-most quarterback. I’ve endured parties where women cackled during plays and men wolf-whistled through commercials, especially those featuring Cindy Crawford. In Ixtapa, I missed Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction because the Mexican network pre-empted halftime with soccer news. I wasn’t so lucky with Pete Townshend’s uninvited exposure.
I’ve lately taken a new approach to big-game viewing. Combining Super and powder bowls, I catch the action at Colorado ski resorts. Short of Jerry Jones’ private suite, I’m convinced that slope-hugging hotels provide perfect game-gazing sites.
After all, by Super Sunday, the snow pack is generally deep, nearly all the terrain is open, and it’s generally uncrowded because the multitudes are viewing the game at some bar, dorm, home, church, airport or cruise ship.
For those thinking of sliding slopes on Super Bowl weekend (Feb. 3 this year), allow me to suggest three personally-tested venues.
Tivoli Lodge in Vail
As one of America’s largest ski resorts, Vail offers something for everyone. It has bunny hills for beginners, corduroy for intermediates, and glades, bumps and back bowls for black-diamond experts.
My target for Super Bowl XLII was the Tivoli Lodge. Racing fans may remember Buddy Lazier, who won the 1996 Indy 500. The hotel is owned by his parents. The recently renovated structure stands quietly at the Golden Peak end of Vail Village.
There, around 20 of us watched the Giants defeat the Patriots on a large-screen TV in the “conference room.” We lounged in leather chairs, grabbed snacks from a buffet table and ordered beverages from the bar.
A trio of young men from New Jersey dominated the cheering. Sounding like castoffs from MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” they whooped and hollered with each Giant success. Granted, it might have been annoying had I not been rooting for the same team.
The Osprey at Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek proffers upscale skiing without feeling snooty or intimidating. Snow is generally good, the grooming great and, at day’s end, they pass out cookies at the base area.
I watched Super Bowl XLIII, Steelers versus Cardinals from the Osprey Hotel. With the Strawberry Park chair a center’s snap away, this luxury hotel provides North America’s closest-to-a-lift lodging.
The Osprey offered two wide-screen TV options for communal game gawking. One sat above the bar. The other stood in the lobby “living room,” where I grabbed a seat for the game.
Ordering from the tapas menu, I stuffed myself with lobster nachos and sweet potato enchiladas. They now also offer a fixed-price, all-you-can eat buffet featuring buffalo wings, chicken fingers, meatballs and more. Every fan seemed to be cheering for the Cardinals, but the birds ultimately lost. Maybe we should have had wings.
The Viceroy in Snowmass
Snowmass, largest of Aspen’s four ski areas, has half its terrain ranked intermediate and another third double-black. It was here that I first learned to downhill ski, discovering firsthand why the beginner’s run is called Fanny Hill.
For Super Bowl XLIV, Colts versus Saints, I stayed at the Viceroy Snowmass, a new hotel with rooms ranging from studios to four-bedroom suites. Forty feature see-through, glass-walled bathrooms, ideal for couples willing to share it all.
A pair of 8-foot projection TVs offered game viewing in the lounge of the hotel’s Eight K Restaurant. Menu options included drive-in burgers, foot-long chili dogs and “who dat” gumbo.
The gumbo must have been good, because cheering indicated this crowd favored the Saints. I noticed a few fans wearing Colts’ attire, but by halftime they had retreated to their rooms. They missed the 8-foot enlargement of The Who guitarist’s 64-year-old naked belly in yet another Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.
If You Go
Tivoli Lodge, 800-451-4756, www.tivolilodge.com. Located at 386 Hanson Ranch Road in Vail, the alpine-style Tivoli offers 62 rooms that range from standards with queen or twin beds to king-bedded luxury suites. Breakfast is complimentary, and there’s free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges and coffee in the rooms. Larger units feature fireplaces, walk-in showers and separate soaking tubs. It’s a one-block walk to the Vista and Riva Bahn Express Lifts. On Super Bowl Sunday, the hotel promises TVs in the bar area for viewing, as well as complimentary appetizers at halftime and drink specials all night.
Osprey, 970-754-7400, www.ospreyatbeavercreek.rockresorts.com. The hotel sits at 10 Elk Track Lane in the main Beaver Creek Village, about 12 feet from the Strawberry Park chairlift. The 45-room property offers quarters ranging from oversized yet cozy lodge rooms to a two-bedroom penthouse that sleeps six. Each comes equipped with robes, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, minibars and high-speed Internet. Larger rooms add fireplaces and walk-in closets. As for Super Bowl Sunday, they say they will have drink and après specials as they did last year.”It’s the third year (we’ve thrown a Super Bowl party) and guests love it.”
Viceroy, 970-923-8000, www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/snowmass. Located at 130 Wood Road in Snowmass Village, the Viceroy offers 173 rooms and suites, ranging from studios to four-bedroom suites. All feature gas fireplaces, kitchens or kitchenettes with convection stoves and mini-fridges, flat-screen HD TVs, iPod docks, Wi-Fi Internet and evening turndown service. One bedrooms and larger have washers and dryers. The hotel even offers a complimentary electric car charging station. Sitting on the slopes of Fanny Hill, the location is literally ski-in/ski-out. For the game, they plan to do a similar setup as before.
Dan Leeth is a freelance writer who lives in Aurora, Colorado. Check out his website, www.lookingfortheworld.com.