Black Hawk, CO

April 27, 2015
Prior to our departure, we were routinely checking the forecast hoping it would improve. When we booked this trip with our friends, Jake & Alysha; we figured temps in Denver would be in the 60's - we knew it'd be cooler than home, but we never anticipated how cold it actually got. So much for jeans and flip flops - We needed to bundle up. Black Hawk called for a high of 38 and 3-5 inches of snow. The night before our trip I found myself at the outlet mall in search of a warm jacket. I have a beast of coat that kept me warm during Chicago winters, but it weighs like 20lbs - no joke. I didn't want to lug that around. My Vegas winter coat fits too snug when wearing layers and my spring coat that keeps me warm in San Francisco wouldn't cut it. Unfortunately, the outlet mall was geared toward summer, I struck out at Columbia, but did find a long denim coat at Wilson Leather. It would have to do. I'm so glad I had it.

It was cold.

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When we arrived at Denver's airport, the snow had already begun to fall. I had reserved a midsize vehicle, but at the rental counter we upgraded to 4x4 expecting poor conditions in the mountains. Thank goodness we had the foresight to do so. I think 3" fell by the time we checked into our rooms at Ameristar. The snowflakes only grew and fell faster as the day went on; it quickly turned into a winter storm warning. By morning, 15" fell and they had closed roads in and out of Black Hawk/Central City. We were afraid we'd be stuck, but the roads were cleared and reopened in the afternoon. What a relief!

Our stay was great at Ameristar. The accommodations are comfortable. Staff is very friendly. The casino/hotel is non-smoking but there are nice patio with heaters if you care to smoke.

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We made the most of the winter wonderland. We casino hopped, had snowball fights, built snowmen, and took advantage of free play and dining offers at the various casinos. It reminded me a lot of Laughlin; just frigid, instead of sweltering. The casinos were quiet and happy to have us. We earned free dinner buffets at the Monarch and $80 food voucher at Lady Luck. We didn't pay for any food and drinks were $2-$4 at the casino bars. Only catch is that they only serve one drink every thirty minutes. Responsible gaming... yada, yada. You can't bring your drinks to next casino either, even when connected by an indoor walkway. We're so spoiled by Vegas.
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The Buffet at Monarch dinner offerings were pretty good ($18.99 Sunday-Thurs). They serve whole main lobsters, crab and prime rib nightly, since it was Thursday. They also had Pho made to order. I mainly ate crab and created my own crab fried rice. Jake was the one who enjoys lobster so he had quite the spread. Though, we all left satisfied. All we had to do was earn 20 points after signing up for the player's card. Pretty sweet.

We used our dining vouchers ($20 each) at Otis & Henry's at Lady Luck. We had chicken wings, onion rings, quesadilla, two reubens, fajatas and a philly cheese steak. We stuffed ourselves silly trying to spend our full amount. We didn't expect much, but we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of food and service was attentive especially considering they were short handed since many couldn't come in until the roads opened.

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We had a great time! Frank and Jake enjoyed playing poker, and Alysha and I had a good streak playing blackjack. We made the most of the blizzard. Frank and I were happy we didn't choose to get married there. It was funny enough that we celebrated our first snowversary for our 11th year of marriage. We drove through Central City, but we didn't stop and play. We had enough of the cold and snow by then. I would like to return... in August, perhaps.

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