The new Il Rifugio Italian Bistro is located on the Continental Divide atop the Arapahoe Basin summit, in the Snowplume building. Sitting at 12,456 vertical feet, this new restaurant takes the cake as the highest restaurant in the United States. Telluride’s Alpino Vino had previously held the title.
Visitors of this new European-style bistro are rewarded with breathtaking 360 degree views of the mountains. This restaurant is only accessible via skiing or riding – you have to take the chairlift to get up and either ski or ride back down the mountain. The new restaurant is open 7 days a week from 10:30 am – 2pm. They are focused on quality food and continuing to practice environmentally friendly operations, meaning minimal snowcat runs of about twice a week for supplies. They also use reusable dishes, cups and cutlery, which get loaded onto the Lenawee for washing at the lower elevation, Black Mountain Lodge. This results in less paper and plastic waste. This building works without running water, and it uses solar panels and composting toilets.
The menu is reasonably priced considering the location and they serve up items like hearty meat and cheese charcuterie plates, soups, salads, flatbreads, espresso and desserts. Alcohol is expected to soon be on the menu as well, with an impressive wine list. This small restaurant isn’t the only new feature of the mountain, the new Beavers Chair Lift and an additional 468 acres of terrain, opened earlier this ski season.
Keystone Resort also boasts some high-altitude restaurants, including the Alpenglow Stube and Der Fondue Chessel, which both sit at 11,444, but not quite as high, clocking in 1,012 feet less elevation than the new Il Rifugio. Knock high altitude dining off your bucket less on your next Keystone Vacation!