Travelers Return to Breckenridge Again and Again
Breckenridge keeps travelers and skiers, like me, coming year after year– but why? What is it about certain places that make a traveler return again and again? Perhaps it’s because it’s so easy to feel like a local, perhaps it’s the magic of the mountain.
After multiples visits to the same mountain, what could possibly be left to discover? The answer may surprise you, there is a lot to discover in Breckenridge.
Whether it’s your first visit, or your fiftieth, Breckenridge keeps travelers coming back again and again.
Going Beyond with Breck Guides
As as skier, I long for the days when I can push myself beyond my own limits and explore new terrain. This is why I chose to try out Breck's new program Breck Guides, Go Beyond.
Breck Guides is a new program set up to customize an individual experience for the skiers. Breck Guides is not a ski school or ski lesson on becoming a better skier, but rather a way to educate, enlighten and enrich the Breckenridge experience. Considering I have skied the mountain on multiple occasions, I found this to be the perfect way to get off-the-beaten-path and experience Breck like–and with, a local!
The Breck Guides experience is custom tailored to the individual skier's abilities and interests. For most skiers, one of the most exciting draws to the program is the First Tracks benefit. First Tracks means you will get up the mountain before the first chair (First Chair refers to the first chair taking groups up the mountain when the resort officially opens to the public). This allows Breck Guides' skiers to be the only one's on the mountain (with the exception of ski patrol, of course)!
Meeting with Ski Patrol
With 5 peaks to discover, Breckenridge is the perfect mountain to link up with an expert like my guide Jenn Losch and find all of the best spots on the mountain.
Jenn (one of Breckenridge's most well-known skiers) and I and met up at Peak 8. We got ourselves up to the top of the Colorado SuperChair approximately 30 minutes before the first chair.
After a few warm-up runs, Jenn and I joined Ski Patrol for the morning meeting. As we watched the meeting take place, I realized how many skilled professionals it truly takes to make a large ski resort function. I quickly made a mental note to appreciate the hard work they all do every time my skis hit snow.
During the patrol meeting, Jenn and I got the inside scoop on what would be open and when. We took a few more runs before heading over and scoring the first chair on the Imperial lift, just as it was opening. The Imperial Express is the highest chairlift in North America, standing at a whopping 12,840 feet above sea level.
The Imperial lift takes skiers to some of the best terrain on the mountain, including Whale's Tail. The bowl is always one of the most exhilarating runs, and only the most skilled skiers on the mountain are in this area. This means, there isn't many other skiers around!
Two of my other favorite parts of the mountain lacking crowds are the bowls off Peak 6 (the newest peak at Breckenridge) and The Windows, which is more tree-lined.
Learning From The Pro
Another part of the Go Beyond course is to learn backcountry skills, such as the types of snowpack to gain an education on avalanches– all while staying in the safe and controlled confines of the resort. Since I am already AIARE Level 1 certified (the first course in avalanche training– which you can read about here), Jenn used this as an opportunity to customize the program for me even further– which is what makes the Breck Guides programs so immersive.
I don't just love to ski–I am happier on my skis than anywhere else. However, I'm always disappointed in myself for not being as fast, fluid, or aggressive as I was ten years ago. Furthermore, prior to this trip I had an appendectomy less than 3 weeks earlier. While I was supposed to be heli-skiing in the Swiss Alps, I was having my appendix out in a Swiss hospital, instead. This is where Jenn tailored the program for me. She knew I was ready to hit the slopes hard, but put a focus on the day to be kind to myself. Each chairlift ride up was like talking to a best friend, but was also an opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge about skiing, the mountain, and coming off of an injury.
Although I've skied Breck countless times over, I was able to discover new areas of the mountain that are often missed by tourists. I left the mountain that day feeling like a local– having discovered new areas to ski, and hanging with my new local friend for the day!
Go Beyond is just one of three Breck Guides courses you can take at the resort. The three programs (Explore, Elevate, and Go Beyond) can teach you anything from snow science, scouting a line in the Lake Chutes, to finding the best snow stashes on the mountain.
Depending on the program you can book full or half-day's, and have anywhere from 1 to 6 people in your ski party.
Women Breaking Boundaries
Another Breck program that was taking place at the same time I was visiting was the Women's Camp. The women's camp is 3 full days of skiing with the same instructor. Lunch and Apres Ski events are included in the program and all levels are welcome, (skiers are divided up by ability).
I joined in on some of the Apres Ski events to learn more about the program, and found women of all ages taking part.
Where to Stay
One Ski Hill Place is one of the premier accommodations in Breckenridge. One Ski Hill Place is an elegant luxury lodge located at the base of Peak 8. The amenities and the attentive staff at One Ski Hill Place will completely spoil you.
Not only does the property offer true ski-in, ski-out access (you literally ski up to the door), they also offer a ski-valet service. You will never need to lift a ski at One Ski Hill, making it easy to relax and enjoy. If your skis need a tune, the ski valet will send them out at the end of the day and have them ready again for the first chair the following morning.
As a full-time traveler, I have learned the devil is always in the details. The staff remembers everyone’s name, and the ski valet was sure to remember each individual's needs. For me, a highly trained staff is almost better than the impressive amenities.
The property boasts a beautiful pool, hot tubs, a movie theater and a bowling alley. The gondola to town is just steps away, and the property will provide a complementary shuttle service to pick you up and drop you off anywhere in town.
By far, a dedicated skiers favorite service offered would be the First Tracks Program. First Tracks allows guests staying in official resort properties to have the opportunity to get out on the mountain an entire hour before the general public (similar to my experience described above with Breck Guides). First Tracks takes place each Friday morning from mid December through March– so be sure to book your stay with that benefit in mind!
Where to Take in the Views
If you are looking for a panoramic view of Breckenridge Ski Resort and the surrounding area, than Boreas Pass is the perfect spot. Generally, to get views this incredible and untouched, you need to hike– but not here!
After a quick drive up, the walk to the area with the view is extremely easy. Even with just two days at altitude and my appendix removed less than 3 weeks prior, there was nothing to it! In the summer, the rest of the road actually opens up allowing you to drive over the continental divide!
The best part– this is a spot that only the locals tend to know about, so you will most likely have the views all to yourself!