Posts Tagged With: family skiing

Top Ten Family Best of Breck Tips

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Ames learns to snowboard

Breckenridge, CO   Don’t put your skis or snowboard away just yet. Two feet of fresh powder just hit the Summit County.  And Breckenridge Ski Resort is open at least through April 24th. Spring skiing doesn’t get more ideal than this. Breck is more than a massive ski resort, it’s a town. Like so many Colorado ski spots, its colorful history is rooted in mining from a century ago. Breck offers skiers 6 peaks (almost 3000 acres) in one resort. There’s more to do than take advantage of quintessential awesome Rocky Mountain snow on skis or a board. It’s so big it might seem daunting at first to know what’s not to miss. I recently visited with my 9-yr old son, Ames and compiled our top ten Family Best of Breck Tips. 

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Beaver Run’s 2-bedroom suite steps from the lift

1) Best Digs for Convenience  You can’t beat Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center. Located at the base of Peak 9 Super Chair, away the more crowded Peak 8. With a multitude of room options, you’re likely to find a vacancy to fit any size group. Ski lockers are situated just steps from the lift.

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Painful reminder about ski boots

Tip: Store your boots in your hotel room and walk down in shoes you can leave in your locker. The locker room is semi-heated but not warm enough to keep ski boots (especially brand new ones.) Let my bruised foot serve as reminder of what happens when you try and shove your foot into a cold, stiff ski boot. It took the aid of two men in what felt like the opposite of the Jaws of Life to get my ski boots on. Ouch! When you’re staying right on the slopes, it’s nice to stay put and cook in your room (ours had a full kitchen) or grab a pizza from the Skywalk Market and enjoy in the comfort of your lodge. Treat yourself to Beaver Run’s Spencer’s restaurant for breakfast. The Southwest Eggs Benedict with chipotle hollandaise sauce warmed the palate and the belly.

 

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The view from our room at The Lodge at Breckenridge

 2) Best Room with a View  Perched a mile up and on the other side of town is The Lodge at Breckenridge with stunning, panoramic views. A dedicated lodge van shuttles guests into town or to the slopes. The Lodge’s Traverse Restaurant serves up a complimentary hearty breakfast buffet. We opted to avoid the crowds in town and had dinner there too.

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Our 2-bedroom mountain view suite

3) Best endorphin high  The Gold Runner Alpine Coaster is a must do year-round in Breck. In Winter, dress in your ski garb with hat and gloves as you’ll be whizzing down 2,500 feet of coaster track through the forest at breakneck speed (or slower if you prefer, as you control your two-seater coaster car).

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A screaming good time

4) Best peak to avoid crowds   They say a black diamond (advanced) run at Breck is a blue (intermediate) at other resorts. Knowing this, we looked at the trail map and ventured over to Peak 10. With only  black runs, it intimidated the masses, leaving the groomed blacks practically all to ourselves. Still nursing injuries from an auto wreck, we found Peak 10s “expert runs” pretty confident-boosting.

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Peak 10: Eenie-meenie-miney-moe,

 

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Living proof we saw BigFoot

 

5) Best family-friendly ski spot New for this year is a slower-paced Bonanza Family Zone where you won’t have to worry about your little one being mowed over by more aggressive-paced skiers/boarders.

6) Best place to be a kid  There are plenty of kid-friendly tree skiing spots where adults must be accompanied by a child. Keep your eyes peeled for Bigfoot!

 

 

 

 

 

7) Best people watching   The Vista Haus Restaurant on Peak 8 has ample outdoor seating right by an Epic Mix Photo station where you can sip hot cocoa and watch the parade of people pose for photos. All photos snapped by an Epic Mix photographer are linked to your ski pass (via RFID). Simply use the Epic Mix app to share on Facebook with friends.

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Cheers to people watching

8) Best Fest   Breck is one big series of festivals with one going on almost every week of the year. As luck would have it, we happened to visit during the Ice sculpture fest. And if you catch the town in between formal fests, you can still revel in its year-round festive vibe.

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Our fav from the ice sculpture fest

 

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Ames (middle) with pals, Alex and Ella Schiavone

9) Best local deal   Colorado K-5th graders score big at Vail Resorts’ Epic School Kids Pass offering 4 days free at each of the Vail resorts in Colorado including Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek plus one never-ever full day  group lesson (includes equipment and lunch.) My third grader who is an avid skier took advantage of a never-ever snowboarding lesson at Breck with some of his buddies.

10) Best time to visit   Now. Lodging and lift tickets are at bargain prices. So load up the car or hop a flight. It’ll be the best thing you’ve done for yourself this Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jet-setting with Johnnyjet.com

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I’m honored to get to be a contributor to one of the world’s leading advice and travel deal websites, johnnyjet.com. My story, 10 tips for maximizing a family ski trip at Keystone Resort, Colorado published yesterday. If you only follow one travel site (well, two if you count mine), Johnnyjet.com is well worth adding to your newsfeed. John is one of the handful of travel writers whose day job is travel writing and he’s traveled  some 150,000 miles a year for over a decade.

His website offers a wealth of tips and is loaded with travel tools to help you become a travel expert yourself. He’s appeared  on TV from The Today Show, CNN, MSNBC to The Travel Channel, BBC Travel and Ellen, heard on a variety of radio travel shows and featured in Travel & Leisure, Forbes, USA Today, Outside Magazine and countless others.

I first met John when he was speaking on a panel of travel experts at the Los Angeles’ Times Travel Show around 2000. I approached him afterwards to ask how I could get into travel writing and he suggested Book Passage’s annual Travel and Photographer’s Conference in Corte Madera, CA. My first assignment there, “Scared Shitless on Safari”  landed in Traveler’s Tales’ best-selling travel anthology, Sand in My Bra & Other Misadventures: Funny Women Write from the Road. It was always a pleasure to share a table with John at travel press luncheons when I lived in Los Angeles.

John’s number one travel tip (especially when flying)  is to simply be nice to everyone. If you’ve met John, you’ll know without a doubt, that’s no act. You’ll find my story next to John’s piece on his recent trip to “Shingles Hell“, a passport stamp I’m unfortunate to also share. Thanks for the writing opportunity John and well wishes on a speedy recovery.

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‘Tis the season to check out a new season pass.

As fairly recent transplants to Colorado, it feels like we’ve only begun to scratch the surface on local ski resorts. Prior to parenthood, my Colorado ski experience included Purgatory once and Vail a few times. My son and I skied Beaver Creek our first ski season here, just before I bought our first house. (The rest of the ski season was spent unpacking and learning what the term, “house poor” would come to mean. The following year’s ski season was spent on the sidelines, after a truck hit us, resulting in surgery and a lengthy physical rehab. Just as soon as I got the green light from my doctor the following ski season to ease back into exercise, I went with Winter Park ski passes as it was the closest destination resort to us.

We certainly got our money’s worth out of our season passes at Winter Park, putting in a whopping 27 days. This year, the lucky roll of dice is Keystone/A-basin. A friend said Keystone is great for families (and A-basin is the bonus add-on ski hill that comes with our passes.) There are epic passes which include an epic-long list of resorts (at an equally epic price tag) but picking one resort and getting to know it inside and out seemed the smarter approach.

So Keystone is where we’ll launch the 2015 ski season. It’s exciting to discover a new ski spot and doubly so with my son alongside me. He’s comfortable on blues now with the occasional bragging rights to an easy black. What motivates my son is knowing his ability is just about to surpass mine.

Ames is 8 now. I learned to ski at age 10 when my family moved to Germany. In the four years we were stationed at Patch Barracks, we were fortunate to get to ski all over Europe, from Germany and Austria to France and Switzerland. Some of my fondest childhood memories include going to Swiss Ski School with my dad and countless other destinations with our ski club, the Sitzmarkers. (A sitzmarker is the German name for that wipe out mark you see on an otherwise pristine hill beneath two perfectly woven ski tracks.)

And so this ski season, Ames and I will carve out fresh tracks at a new ski resort, Keystone. Oh, and A-basin.   The Christmas decorations have been put away and we await the blackout dates to pass so we can make our first fresh tracks of the season.

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