Posts Tagged With: ski in ski out

Back to Breck

If you have been following along for awhile, you might remember that we spent last winter (2019) skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado. We loved it so much we returned for another ski season this year.

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We had a another fabulous season until it abruptly ended due to COVID-19. We are living in very strange times these days, right? I haven’t posted anything lately, and it has been hard to even motivate myself to post this because it’s difficult to see these pictures and not feel sad about how much things have changed in our world since then.

After spending the holidays with family back east, we headed out to Colorado to get back to one of our favorite places. Thankfully we had 2 good months of skiing before everything shut down.

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Home Sweet Home

In addition to Breckenridge we skied at Keystone and Beaver Creek. Arapahoe Basin was no longer included on our Epic Passes so we didn’t go there, and we had intended to ski at Vail but never made it there before everything closed.

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We found our “bear cave” from last year, which we now think we should call a “beer cave” due to all the beer cans we saw in there. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Our first day back to skiing we had to take it easy and get used to it again, but it didn’t take long at all for these boys to get back to doing what they do best, the double-black diamond trails. They even talked me into doing The Windows once. Trust me, once was enough!

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Chris did the Needles Eye with them, but I refused. Later they told me I made the right choice. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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At Beaver Creek the kids’ favorite run is 4 Get About It. We did that one a few times this year. I keep trying to tell them “forget about it, I’m not doing that!”, but they won’t take no for an answer. Somehow I manage to keep up with them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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4 Get About It

One day at Beaver Creek Chris had a bad fall just after we took this picture.

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Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t be going down trails for “Experts Only”?

Chris was out of commission for a couple of weeks due to his injury, so the boys and I had to ski without him while he recovered.

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In February we had some epic amounts of snow! Check out all that powder!

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One day Chris & Jake tried to take Fat Cat for a sleigh ride at the campground. She wasn’t amused.

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We love going to Keystone during the week for night skiing. The weekends are pretty crowded at Breck, but we’re usually working during the week so we have to just deal with the weekend crowds. Going skiing after work at night during the week is so much fun!

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Last year we celebrated my 50th birthday at a ski-in/ski-out resort at the base of one of the ski areas at Breck, which was definitely one of my best birthdays ever. We decided to do the same thing again this year for Chris’s 50th. Yes, he’s younger than me, lol! Our birthdays are 3 days apart so we are the same age for 3 days until I become the “older woman” again.

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View from the balcony of our vacation rental

For this year’s birthday celebration we got an amazing VRBO at the base of Peak 8.

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But that is not even the best part! My parents came out to spend the week with us, along with some of the Picariello family (life-long friends). My parents hadn’t skied in 12 years, and we were so super excited to show them and the Picariellos around Breckenridge.

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Meeting up with Mom and Dad at Breckenridge Station

Jake and Jesse showed Gramma and Grampa around town while we got everyone’s luggage moved into the condo. Then the boys brought the Grands for a ride up the gondola to get to the condo.

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Looking at these pictures reminds me of just how super excited we were for this vacation week, not giving much thought to the invisible enemy that was out there, about to change the world as we knew it.

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An epic day skiing with Mom and Dad and the Picariellos

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Grampa, Chris, Jesse & Jake

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My parents… still skiing in their 70s!

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We talked Lauren into trying Devil’s Crotch. I won’t go into details about how that went. Hint, hint… it wasn’t pretty, lol!

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We did much better on Imperial.

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Some of the gang enjoying the hot tub after skiing

Well, all good things must come to an end, right? The night before my birthday we found out that all the ski mountains had to close immediately due to coronavirus. I can’t even describe just how disappointed we were!

However, I am thankful that we at least had a few good days of skiing before that happened. We got to ski on Chris’s birthday, and the Picariellos got all of their skiing in before the closures. In fact, we had just dropped off some of the Picariellos at their shuttle to go back to the airport when we got the news.

My parents were still with us for a few more days, and we had planned to ski some more, but that was not meant to be. We made the best of it and used the empty ski mountain as a sledding hill.

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Sledding instead of skiing on my birthday

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Sitting on the chair lift, wishing it wasn’t closed

After Mom and Dad went home, the only thing left to do in Breckenridge was sledding, so we did that a few more times.

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Sledding with the Schott family, our good friends and next door neighbors for the season

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Eventually even the sledding hills closed, so it was time for us to go. The RV park in Breck is not cheap and it just wasn’t worth spending the money to stay there any longer when everything was closed.

So we headed to my friend Rachel’s campground in St. Louis to hunker down and wait things out. We had plans to spend the summer in Michigan, and St. Louis was close enough to continue on with those plans if things re-opened. However it doesn’t look like that will be a good place to go this year.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with some pictures I took at our RV park in Breckenridge before we left. It’s so beautiful there!

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I’m not gonna lie, it was really hard to leave this winter wonderland. We all love skiing and playing in the snow so much, it was so disappointing when it ended early.

I hope and pray that you are all staying safe & healthy. Let’s hope we can all get back to adventuring and exploring soon!

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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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