After a long stressful midterm week, I was excited to start my Spring break off right, by snowboarding in Colorado! Having been interested in snowboarding since I was a little girl and after years of being on skis, I decided to finally make the switch during my Middle School years and even became a seasonal snowboard instructor. It wasn’t easy and took a year of traversing on my toe side, and falling downhill to many times to count, until I was finally able to get the hang of it. But, as I like to say if you are not falling, it means you are not trying and I definitely took some great falls on this trip. I could barely contain my excitement because I knew that on this trip, not only was I going to ride at some of best resorts in the United States, but I was also going to see some friends, whom I had the pleasure of teaching with at Hunter Mountain in 2013!
Day 1: Transportation, and the Town of Breckenridge
Distance to Breckenridge 103 miles: 1 hour and 45 minutes
After my 8am flight, I was thrilled to finally land in Denver! My flight arrived early, (thanks Delta) and I was a bit annoyed that my shuttle to Breckenridge would not be arriving for another two hours but thankfully, the Colorado Mountain Express was super accommodating and able to switch me to an earlier shuttle. Some people hate long car rides, but I on the other hand am the opposite and love them. For me, car rides are the perfect opportunity to look out the window and take in the landscape, diverse towns and scenery. After traveling through a portion of Europe by car, I feel this trip from Denver to Breckenridge wins in terms of scenery!
The town of Breckenridge exceeded all of my expectations. Expecting a medium sized resort with a couple of shops, I discovered a beautiful mountain town resort with numerous quaint shops, lovely boutiques and restaurants specializing in every culinary delight! Shout-out to Mary’s Mountain Cookies and Ollie’s Pub for some great tasting burgers and cookies (Thankfully, I worked off the calories during the rest of the week!)
Day 2: Vail, Colorado
Distance from Breckenridge, 38 miles: 1 hour.
There is an astonishing difference between skiing and snowboarding on the East Coast compared to the Mid-West, which I experience on my first day out in Vail. Vail, was one of my favorite resorts I visited during my trip. There was something about the openness of the terrain that really took my breath away. Having the opportunity to ride with my friends, Chris and Wendy, who are instructors at the Vail Resorts was also a huge plus, since they knew all the ins and outs of the mountain, as well as the trails with the best snow! I definitely learned a thing or two of ways I can improve my riding from watching some great snowboarders. I also learned tree riding is not as easy as it seems. At the end of the day, we were able to grill up some burgers on the top of the peak, while enjoying a beer. The view along with the weather made the burgers taste 10x better.
Day 3: Loveland, Colorado
Distance from Breckenridge, 25 miles: 40 minutes
Besides the cute name, one of the things I loved about Loveland Resorts was the size. Loveland was not as big as the Vail Resorts, which made it very easy for an East Coast rider like myself to follow the trails. Loveland can be seen as a more residential mountain, so it is quieter compared to other mountains in Colorado, and quite inexpensive compared to the Vail Resorts. A full day of skiing at Loveland will cost $70, which is a bargain compared to the $180 lift tickets, when visiting mountains such as Vail, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Breckenridge.
Day 4: Breckenridge, Colorado
Walking distance to gondola from the center of town, there are also shuttles that pick up from various locations in town.
Waking up in the morning was definitely a challenge since I was so sore, even after going in the hot tub the night before. But, I was not going to give up and pushed myself to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and snow. Breckenridge is a huge mountain with 5 skiable peaks and I was definitely a little intimidated because I was going to be riding by myself, since both my friends were teaching that day at the Snowboard School. It was a great day of riding, even though it took almost 2 hours for me to find Peak 10, where most of the advanced terrain is located. One thing, I definitely recommend is when going to Breckenridge, pack your own lunch. A small lunch at Breckenridge will cost you about $20!
Day 5: Departure back to Denver International Airport
Distance to DIA 103 miles: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Overall, I had an amazing time in Colorado, and consider it one of the most beautiful states in the United States that I have visited thus far. This was a great trip and taught me a lot before I go on other snowboard trips internationally and in the United States. One thing that I would like to do is purchase a season pass the next time I go on a major snowboard trip, to make it a bit more affordable when going for a longer period of time.
Epic Pass Information
The Epic Pass typically costs around $850, and gives you access to some of the top resorts in the United States including Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Wilmont, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Perisher, and Arapahoe Basin. Purchasing this pass also gives you access to some international resorts in countries such as France, Austria, and Switzerland! This pass would definitely be worth it, if you are skiing in the Vail Resort area for more than 5 days.
Pictured above: Epic Mix Application that tracks runs, lift rides, and vertical feet completed.