Breckenridge, CO: Skiing and Snowboarding

Before you stop reading with a “I know, I know, skiing in Colorado is far better than anything we have back East” pout, you have to skim through the photographs below (much of the content will be geared towards those visiting or curious about doing so). Riding up the lifts, midway through a run, and at the top of peaks that were way too rich for my blood, I snapped photo after photo amazed at what lay before me.

On the first day I picked up my skis at Blue River Sports located right in town walking distance from Peak 9 base (where we set up camp several days). This place is one of the best and cheapest (per my extensive research) and I was definitely a satisfied customer.  I registered on-line beforehand for a discounted rate and was in and out in 5-10 minutes. They were friendly, helpful, and even exchanged my boots and tweaked my bindings at the end of day one when my mighty, grape-stomping designed feet, were too wide for them.

We spent 4 of 5 days skiing at Breck for a variety of reasons- a big one being that we were staying there- and we really couldn’t have picked a better week.  The first day was a bit rough on my part as I hadn’t skied in quite a while and needed  to get myself together. I spent most of day 1 on Peaks 8 & 9- both servicing beginners and both more crowded than others. The green runs on Peak 9 are among the easiest you will encounter so they’re a great place to start if you’re a newbie or getting your groove back. The first day I fell in love again. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…I kept stopping and taking it all in and giving gratitude for being there, truly.

Above all I have to recommend the Ski & Board School at Peak 8. Monday morning we woke up to 9 inches of fresh snow. POWDER DAY! I ventured over to Peak 8 (via the Gondola at Breckenridge Transfer Station) and met up with the instructors. I had registered for a group lesson but only one other person matched my level so it ended up being a semi-private.

We discussed our goals with the instructor and headed up on the mountain. To be honest, I was nervous- to be corrected, to be in a lesson at all…but to be honest, this was one of the best days of the trip. Something happened under the instructor’s supervision- little timid me was going over moguls (and falling), following him down steeps, hoping over small jumps and making decent turns…all during a steady snow that layered an additional 8 inches on the mountain!  I left the day feeling so good and wishing I could afford another one the next day.

After being introduced to Peak 7, I couldn’t go back. Peak 7 is all blues and honestly  my new happy place. The runs are wide, long, and pretty free of crowds. There was something so special about looking behind me and realizing I was the only one on that particular stretch. “Angel’s Rest” if fantastic as well as “Monte Cristo” and “Wirepatch” ( a little steeper).

 

L spent a lot of time on Peak 10 (all Blacks/Advanced) and raved about it. Also I’ve heard the back bowls aren’t too shabby either especially after a fresh snow.

We loved navigating from peak to peak to see it all. It’s all very easy and clearly marked which made the days smooth, relaxing and exactly what we needed.

Now, if you’re in town for a bit you just have to take the Summit Stage (Black Swan Mountain  line) to A-Basin (Arapahoe Basin). The drive itself (about 40 or so minutes) is worth it with some of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen and the mountain is something out of your dreams. The resort is the kid of your childhood- small, friendly and offering inexpensive food options. We loved it here…we loved it so very much.

 

Take note that the runs are significantly more difficult here. The Blues are no joke…They are incredibly steep in comparison to Breckenridge, for example, and should be navigated with a little care. Even still I of course decided to head up to the very top after a few practice runs. After I got over my nerves at the site of what I was required to navigate, I had a blast. L headed to Montezuma bowl (I headed over just to take some pictures as my instructor specifically advised against it this time around) and reported that it was an incomparable experience.  This day was so special… I successfully hit the glades for the first time and flew over fresh powder gracing the runs. We ran into each other at Black Mountain Lodge and decided to have lunch together. The sun was shining so very brightly and we savored every minute.

 

Need to Know Tips:

* Altitude sickness is REAL. I found that drinking lots and lots of water, eating hearty meals and snacking, and taking an Advil a day very helpful. Even still, when we were at the highest elevation (A-Basin) I started getting a headache so I descended for a bit and took a break.

*Sunscreen is essential. We brought SPF 30 but it wasn’t enough. L bought 50 SPF or so on the mountain and that did the trick. Oh and don’t forget your lips!

*meals at Breckenridge are expensive. We brought sandwiches from a local cafe every day (~$8/pp) and we were so happy we did. A-Basin is much more reasonable and worth it.

 

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