Saturday, March 7, 2015

BRECK’en Powder

Powder; Loose, fresh snow that is not granular, wet, or packed. Makes for epic ski conditions!

Epic ski conditions is right! Russell and I, with seven other friends, made our way to Breckenridge, Colorado at the end of January. We piled into our shuttle provided by Powderhound Transportation for the two hour drive from the Denver Airport to our “decadent” home that was found on airbnb. (If you have a minute, you’ll have to read the description of this home. It is pretty unique to say the least.)

After a hectic stop at the local grocery and liquor store, which our driver Andres kindly brought us to both places, (Tip: Do not shop for food with 9 hungry people) we were ready to get our vacation started! Our group took a short walk to the bus stop, and caught the local shuttle to head into town to rent our skis at Carvers. (Next time we will be sure to rent our equipment on the mountain. It was a hassle returning our skis on the last day.) The town of Breckenridge is adorable. For me, it’s the epitome of a quaint ski town, with local shops, bars, and twinkling lights lining the trees. You need to remember this city has one of the highest elevations in the US, at 9,600ft (close to 13,000ft at its peak.) Don’t forget the Dramamine!

For the first night, we decided on the local pizza joint, Downstairs at Eric’s. Obviously very popular, the wait had us hanging out in the bar for a bit, which is no complaint for us! I don’t think you could go wrong with any of their pizzas, but the Meat Lovers and Arugula & Prosciutto were our favorite.  

Like kids on Christmas morning, each of us were up and ready to go hit the slopes early. Quickly realizing this is a huge mountain, we decided to stick to Peak 8 on day one. There are many green runs to choose from, and we were still trying to get our feet under us. I’d have to say “Swinger” was our favorite. Back at the house, the hot tub was superb! Since it was Super Bowl Sunday, the Rardons (who organized this awesome trip) made their famous chili…even the spicy and bean hating eaters love it! It was the perfect way to wrap up our first day, staying in at the house with football, chili, beer, and great friends.
Now back to the slopes…this mountain has something for everyone. There were plenty of intense black runs for the more adventurous (and insane) people in our group. The American on Peak 9 is an “easy” black, and the “Bowls” on Peak 8 offer steeper terrain and moguls…so I am told. I stuck with my friends that enjoyed the nice and simple, wide blues. Peak 7 was by far my favorite full of all blue runs (no greens for the beginners though.) It also had my favorite spot to eat, a restaurant called Sevens…fitting name. This is one of their more upscale mountain dining options, with a variety of light and health entrĂ©es as well as delicious pizza and burgers, and I cannot forget to mention their delicious sweet potato fries that our table devoured.  

Another lunch stop for our group one of the days was at Vista Haus at the top of the Peak 8. This was ideal for the skiers that wanted to get in and out back on the mountain. For me, who enjoys relaxing for a bit and having a spiked hot chocolate (or two), this would not be my recommendation. I prefer the restaurant atmosphere over a cafeteria.

There is still so much of the mountain left to explore! I didn’t get to Peak 6, and only hit a few runs on Peak 9. There is a Peak 10, but that’s one I’ll never get to given it looks to be all black runs. I’ll leave that to my husband to explore one day!

Our last night in Breckenridge we celebrated our buddy Jake’s big 3-0 birthday in town at Hearthstone Restaurant. It was as if you were stepping into someone’s elegant, Victorian home. The service and meal was impeccable. Many ordered the elk, which was delicious, and I fully enjoyed my rack of lamb. I’m pretty sure you couldn’t go wrong ordering anything off their menu. We concluded our dinner and trip with a birthday song to Jake and cake and ice cream back at our house. 

The final morning we were woken up to the most snow I've ever seen, which was beautiful, but worried us about getting back to the Denver Airport in time. Fortunately, Powderhound provides an app that allows you to track where your driver is en route...helping to calm our nerves.  Our driver, Andres had us to our flight just in time. 

Already looking forward to our next trip to continue exploring the charming town and sprawling mountain of  Breckenridge!