Posts Tagged With: grand timber lodge

Not all Birds Fly South for the Winter

While most “normal” RVers choose to spend winters in warm states like Florida and Arizona, we prefer winters in the snow. So for the 3rd year in a row we headed out to Breckenridge, Colorado just after New Years and spent over 3 months enjoying snow, cold weather and skiing. By the way, it’s a little strange to be writing about winter in June, but whatever! I’m a little behind. 😉

The reason we always head to Breckenridge is because we like to stay at Tiger Run RV Resort which is near four different ski areas that are included on the Epic Season Pass we get (Breck, Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek). It’s nice to have some variety with the 4 ski areas when we’re staying for 3+ months. However, I’ve been looking into other ski areas for next year because Tiger Run significantly raised their monthly rates.

Moose in the site next to us at Tiger Run

Last year we rented a ski-in/ski-out condo to celebrate Chris’s 50th birthday. If you read my post from last year (Back to Breck), you might remember the ski mountains shut down just a few days later due to COVID. That was quite disappointing, but this year more than made up for the early end to last year’s ski season. This past February we rented the same condo and my sister and her husband came out to stay with us.

My brother-in-law Chris trying snowboarding

While they visited we tried out cross-country skiing for the first time. It was fun, but I still prefer downhill skiing.

Cheryl & Chris cross-country skiing
Cute igloo at the cross-country ski area

Whenever we ski at Keystone, we take the very scenic drive over Swan Mountain to get there. I’ve always wanted to stop and take pictures on the drive, but since we’re always heading to Keystone to ski, I would have ski boots on which are not comfortable for walking around and sightseeing. Since Chris is a photographer, I knew he and Cheryl would love to take this scenic drive and stop at the viewpoints. It turns out it’s called Sapphire Point and Cheryl already had it on her bucket list of places to see!

Sapphire Point

Speaking of Keystone, we spent many Friday evenings skiing there. Unfortunately they did not have other weeknights open for skiing this year. I love night skiing, but I did not enjoy it as much on Friday nights because it was so crowded. It seems like Friday nights are when the party crowd shows up for the weekend and they ski a little too recklessly for my comfort level. A snowboarder even crashed right into Jake one night, but thankfully neither one of them were hurt.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having a good time! It’s just that I prefer to keep my limbs intact and not ski with people that may have had a little too much happy hour before hitting the slopes. 😉

Breathtaking view of Keystone Village while night skiing

My favorite thing we did this year was to spend a few days at a ski-in/ski-out hotel at Vail for my birthday in March. It definitely redeemed the disappointing birthday I had last year when the ski resorts chose that day to shut down for the season. One thing that made the time in Vail especially fun was we got the most snow of the season while we were there. Skiing on fresh powder is the best!

Skiing at Vail was awesome!

We stayed at Lion Square Lodge and really enjoyed the pool and hot tub after skiing.

The last time we went to Vail in 2019 we didn’t like it that much. That’s because we made the mistake of going on a Saturday on the last weekend they were open in April. It was hot, the snow was slushy and many trails were already closed for the season. In addition it was super crowded. This time we did Vail right and enjoyed it immensely!

We also enjoyed 2 more ski-in/ski-out hotels this winter. One was at Grand Timber Lodge where we got a good deal to stay for Easter.

Awesome view from our room at Grand Timber Lodge

The other one was Grand Colorado. Last year we had a Dream Vacation Week certificate for a week long stay there, but it was canceled due to COVID. Thankfully we were able to re-schedule it for this year and it was amazing!

The hot tubs at Grand Colorado were incredible, especially this infinity hot tub overlooking the ski lifts.

As you can see, we really enjoy staying right on the mountain. Tiger Run RV Resort is only a 10 minute drive from the Breckenridge ski area, but there is nothing like staying right on the mountain.

It really was a fabulous season, and such a blessing after the way last year turned out. I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures sledding at Carter Park and Frisco sledding park.

Carter Park
Frisco sledding park

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2

As much as we loved staying at Tiger Run RV Resort in our own comfy home on wheels, sometimes it’s nice to stay even closer to the slopes. I’m talking ski-in/ski-out type of close. We had the chance to do that twice during our time in Breckenridge.

First, we stayed in a slope-side condo at the base of Peak 7 in Crystal Peak Lodge. We did this to celebrate my birthday. Not just any birthday mind you, but the big one. The big 50! Believe it or not, I turned a half a century in March. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate that milestone than to spend it at a slope-side condo and ski as much as my heart desired.

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Crystal Peak Lodge at the base of Peak 7

In addition, I had the pleasure of a friend from New England come out to stay with us. Unfortunately her original flight was canceled because there was a huge “bomb cyclone” blizzard going on in Denver that day (Google it, I had never heard of a bomb cyclone). Anyway, she was persistent and thankfully made it to our rental place at 1am on the morning of my birthday.

Like me, she grew up skiing in the northeast and really wanted to try out some Colorado skiing. I don’t think she was disappointed!

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While Lauren was with us we enjoyed the best weather and surprisingly light crowds, especially considering it was spring break. Maybe the canceled flights to Denver had something to do with that.

We also got more adventurous while she was with us and went up to the highest point, Imperial Express which is also the highest lift in North America.

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Top of Peak 8

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Top of Peak 6

One of the expert lifts at Breck is the T-Bar. We hadn’t tried that previously either, but with Lauren we must have felt braver for some reason. The funny thing is that back in New England the T-Bar was on the easy slopes, typically called the “bunny slopes”. It was funny to see that the T-Bar here at Breck is for experts only and goes up to some very advanced trails.

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T-Bar

We have a very funny story about riding up this T-Bar. Jake and I were riding up together and Lauren was behind us by a bit. Jake and I noticed some people a few T-Bars ahead of us fell off (that is not unusual on the T-Bar, it’s difficult to stay on that thing the whole way up). There are signs all over the side instructing you to move off to the side quickly if you fall off. So Jake and I assumed they had plenty of time to get out of the way before we caught up to them. Wrong! They started rolling down the hill towards us! They took out the people in front of us, then continued rolling and crashed into us as well. Once we finally got ourselves under control and got out of the way of the other oncoming T-Bar riders, Lauren rode by and saw a mess of people and skis all over the place. I so wish I had that on video! It was really quite funny and we laughed about it for a long time afterwards.

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Jake started to get really brave when Lauren was visiting and that’s when he wanted to start trying some double-black diamond trails. Lauren pointed out some interesting sounding trail names on the map like Devil’s Crotch and Pergatory. None of those sounded even remotely like something I wanted to try, but we did try a couple of double-blacks with names like Cucumber Bowl and Southern Cross. Those names don’t sound nearly so intimidating, right? About a week after Lauren left though, Chris and Jake found Devil’s Crotch and decided to give it a try. Not me though!

You know, turning 50 is not so bad. I can honestly say that was one of my best birthdays ever!

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A few weeks later we had the opportunity to spend a whole week at another ski-in/ski-out lodge. I joined an RV club called RVillage a few years ago. They gave out gift certificates to some of us who joined way back when they first started. The gift certificates were for a Dream Vacation Week at certain hotels around the country for a greatly reduced price. I thought it was a scam or too good to be true when I first received it, so I discarded it and forgot about it. I received a reminder that it was about to expire in April, so out of curiosity I checked to see if there were any hotels in Breckenridge included in this deal. There were a couple, but I still thought it was a scam so I contacted someone at RVillage to confirm it was legitimate. It turns out it was for real and we enjoyed a fantastic week at Grand Timber Lodge.

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Heated outdoor pool at Grand Timber Lodge

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One of the indoor/outdoor pools at Grand Timber Lodge

The pools were awesome! You could swim under the flap to go to the outdoor part of the pool, and even though it was cold and snowing outside, the pool was so warm. They also had several hot tubs to enjoy!

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Swimming outside while it was snowing!

The lodge has private family movie theaters so we reserved one for an evening and watched The Greatest Showman. What a great movie, and also a great time having this theater all to ourselves!

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We also enjoyed playing some pool.

There were 2 moose hanging out at the lodge that we saw often. Once they were hanging out right outside our window!

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I could have reached out the window to touch this cutie, but of course I did not.

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Sadly, they were taken away by wildlife control while we were there. Apparently there was an incident between the moose and a guest staying at the lodge. I was sad to see them go. They didn’t seem to be bothering anyone as far as I could tell.

I did a lot of skiing with Jake that week and he really challenged me on the double-black diamond trails. By the end of the week I think my skills had improved.

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This trail was so steep! It’s hard to see how steep it is in this picture, but trust me!

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We had a snow storm that week also which was pretty cool to see in April!

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I mentioned in my previous post that we skied at 5 ski areas included on our season pass. We bought the Epic Local Pass which includes the ski areas we went to as well as several others that were too far away including Park City, Whistler and even a ski area in Vermont and Japan! The Epic Local Pass was perfect for us since we were planning to be in the area for 3 months.

I will write about the other ski areas in my next 2 posts, but first a few helpful hints for anyone planning to winter in Breck at some point.

The town of Breckenridge is at 9600 feet. Some people can be affected by altitude sickness. It’s important to drink plenty of water before heading to Breck and while you’re there. We didn’t suffer from altitude sickness, but I did feel out of breath frequently. Sometimes just walking from the truck to the slopes carrying skis felt like such a workout! Everything seems harder at that altitude.

Another way to help prevent altitude sickness besides staying well hydrated is to climb to that elevation slowly if at all possible. If you are flying to Denver and heading straight to Breck you wouldn’t have that option, but if you are driving or RV’ing, take your time with the climb. We stopped in Denver for 3 nights before continuing on to Breckenridge which I think helped a lot.

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It was also nice to stay in Denver for a few days to take care of getting all of our ski equipment. Epic Mountain Sports sells inexpensive kids equipment on a buy-back program. We were able to get the kids skis and boots for $99/each and at the end of the season trade it back in for 50% store credit. Chris and I got seasonal rentals from Breeze Rentals. It was about $225/person for the season which was a lot less expensive than buying equipment, and we were able to return the rentals to the store in Breckenridge rather than take them back to Denver. We really don’t have room to carry around ski equipment year-round, so rentals and the kid’s trade-ins worked perfectly. Also, we learned that by the time we were heading to Breckenridge they no longer had any seasonal rentals so it was good to get them in Denver. Another tip: if you need any other equipment like helmets, goggles, etc., get them in Denver. Everything is more expensive in Breck.

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A small preview of snow in Denver at Cherry Creek State Park

Incidentally, while staying in Denver we met the nicest couple! It just so happens they were dealing with cracks in their RV just like we dealt with last year. We were able to share our story with them about how Heartless Heartland refused to help us. Thankfully their story had a better ending. Their RV was manufactured by Forest River who apparently cares more about their customers than Heartland does because Forest River took the RV back to Indiana and repaired everything for them. It didn’t hurt that they also had a lot of help from their dealer, unlike our dealer (Dick Gore’s RV World in Jacksonville) who did not help us at all. This is my shameless reminder to you to not buy a Heartland RV and be very careful about the dealer you purchase from. It’s so important to have a dealer who will back you up if you need it.

One last tip for getting to Breckenridge. This website was very helpful in planning our travel days: https://cotrip.org/home.htm. We watched the weather and the road conditions to make sure we traveled on a day when the roads would be clear.

I hope you find these tips helpful if you ever plan to make the trip. I’m also happy to answer any questions so feel free to email me.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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