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Breckenridge Ski Trip

We took our annual snowboarding trip during the last week of March; to Breckenridge, Colorado this time.

Getting There

Flew into Denver, which works really well for us. It is a quick, cheap, non-stop flight from Austin. We liked the CME shuttle van to Vail, so we booked that again. Luckily, rates are cheaper to Breckenridge than to Vail! Once in Breck, there’s no reason to have a car, so we just walked around and used the hotel shuttle (more on that later).

Lodging

Decided to make use of my Hilton timeshare at Valdoro Mountain Lodge. I can book up to 9 months in advance, so I booked ASAP last year when it opened, as ski timeshares go fast. It is not technically ski-in/ski-out, unfortunately. While very close to Peak 9, it is not close enough to hoof it. That’s where the shuttle comes in. It’s free, although you’re pretty much expected to tip every time, which adds up. They will take you anywhere in the village and pick you up as well. We never had to wait more than 5 or 10 minutes, usually much less or not at all. It does take a bit longer during the peak times when the lifts open and close.

Service was excellent. Everyone was genuinely friendly and helpful without being fake or being too nice (Fairmont at Whistler). The room was great and had a HUGE bathroom. This is probably because of the included jacuzzi! Since we had that, we didn’t bother going to the sauna. One thing that annoyed me was the constant running water noise in the master bedroom for the heating system. Note, it wasn’t *our* heating system since we had it off. I was told it was the pipes that supply heat/water to the rooms above and below. I have a feeling it’s like this for all the rooms, though, not just our ‘column’. It bothers me enough that I might not stay here again.

Food

As with all ski resorts, food is not terribly cheap. However, Breck is an actual town, not just a resort. So there is much more to choose from, and there is plenty of good food that’s not too pricey. Euro Deli, Mimi’s Fried Pies, and La Francaise were my favorites and reasonable. The Doubletree next door to the Valdoro is midrange. Surprisingly good. Northside Pizza was decent. Steak and Rib: We had a couple of staff recommendations for this but didn’t really like it. Obviously it’s more expensive too. The Brewery is pretty good. The Blue Moose has good breakfast, but pricey. The Crepe cart was not worth the wait, IMO (hard to miss, look for the long line of people).

Mountain

If you order your lift tickets online, be sure to do so 2 weeks in advance to allow time for the Peak Pass to get mailed to you. They can reprint there, but it’s just a bit of a hassle. The lift tickets use RFID now, which is awesome. Just stick it on your person away from metal, and you are good to go. We ski mostly blues. I consider Breck’s blues to be easier than Vail’s. The base was only non-existent in parts of Breck, but it seems it doesn’t take much to make for an enjoyable ride. It was really was amazing. I mean, there are chunks of terrain where there is no snow at all, so the base was a just a few inches, if that, but it was still perfectly useable.

The altitude was tough. I’ve never been so out of breath. I’d suggest to stay overnight in Denver or maybe stop at the oxygen bar. A cheaper suggestion is to get some coca tea. That seemed to help.

Keystone

The lift pass includes Keystone so we took the free bus over there to check it out. We did not ski it, but checked out the tubing and took some photos at the top. Great views, but conditions looked pretty lousy.

Photos

None. I don’t take my SLR on ski trips normally. So, I just had my pocket camera. Unfortunately the battery had been mostly drained previously in the month on our zoo outing. I had forgotten about that and assumed it was charged. Oops! But seriously, there comes a point where it’s almost useless to bring a camera on a ski trip. Just go to my SmugMug account and look at the photos from the previous trips. It’s all about the same. Ok, fine. Here’s one from Keystone I took with my cell phone. Keystone seems to be well positioned for some nice sunrise/sunset photos.

Summary

I really liked Breck, except for the altitude. I would like to go here again someday, but I would try to stay someplace on the mountain so we don’t need a shuttle.

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