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Heading to Breck for the first time in February

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi guys and gals,

My girl and I are heading to Breckenridge next month for a week and I was hoping to get some info from you guys. I'd say I'm an intermediate/advanced skier and my girl is an intermediate snowboarder. What are some runs that are must do's for either one of us? I told her I'd probably do a couple runs on my own, but we're mostly going to try to stay together.

I've never skied out West and I'd really like to hit a bowl. What would be a good one for me to try? I've read that whales tail and imperial bowl aren't too crazy. Besides skiing, what are some other things you'd say we must do? Best après ski? Best places to eat on and off the mountain? Other things that don't involve skiing?

Thanks guys!
post #2 of 26
Currently, the Imperial lift that services Imperial Bowl and the Whales Tail is closed -- there just hasn't been enough snow to make it safe. There were some lines in Horseshoe Bowl that were pretty nice, but I don't think it really is intermediate terrain, particularly with having to pick your way into the bowl. We just need snow -- looks like some might be on the way.

As far as intermediate terrain, there's a ton of it. Peak 7, Peak 8, and Peak 9 all have lots of blue terrain for you to explore. Because of decent snowmaking, the groomers were skiing relatively well, particularly considering how low of a snow year we are having.

I can't really help you on nightlife.

Mike
post #3 of 26

Peak 7 is good for intermediates, and you can go off into Ore Bucket for a little harder tree-ish fun while she skis the blue run next door.

 

I haven't been there in a few years, and just looked at an online Breck map, and it appears that all the blue-blacks have turned into blacks.  Wow, must be a marketting thing.  The runs down the middle of Peak 10 used to be all groomed blue-blacks, which are nice if you like to ski fast on groomers, and maybe not too hard for your gf.  Spruce on Peak 8 is also a nice steep cruiser that's turned black since I was there last.

 

Imperial Bowl is steep but when I was last there it was pretty overused (more marketting, "highest lift" blah blah blah).  Be prepared to hit rocks.  The runs below it off Chair 6 are more fun, IMO, if you want something more challenging than the former blue-blacks.  I've never skied Whale's Tail, it might be bare dirt this year given the snowpack so far.

post #4 of 26

Currently very low snow base on anything that steep and off the groomers.  It's going to take a few feet of snow to get them skiing anywhere near decent and lower the risk of hitting lots of rocks/stumps/debris.  Granted I was there last week and found good soft snow, but you really have to know where you are going and pick your way through stuff.

 

Plenty of intermediate groomers on Peak 7, 8, 9.   Breckenridge used to use the Blue-Black / Advanced Intermediate rating on their steepest groomed runs, but due to liability and safety concerns they dropped to designation to be in-line with the other Vail Resorts.  In addition, due to the typical clientel at Breck, this was causing too many people to get on runs above their ability.   Hit the steeper groomers early in the day as they get skied-off and slick by the afternoons.

 

Typically Horsebowl Bowl off the T-Bar is good for introducing yourself to bowl / high alpine skiing, however with the low snow it is much more difficult than usual since you have to pick your way through some sheared-off moguls, tundra, and rocks.

 

Imperial Bowl is not currently open.  The run directly under the lift is very skiable by advanced intermediates and is less steep than Horseshoe.  The hike-to-routes off the Lake Chutes is legitimate expert terrain.

 

Who knows what conditions will be like, but they are not what they should be for mid/late January, in fact more like early-December at this point.

post #5 of 26

Others have covered the snow situation. 

 

Lots of eateries in town and nearby. A La Cart crepes is always good, it's a little caboose on the main drag, always lines winter or summer. Breckenridge Brewery for local microbrew and good food. Q4U is a nearby mom & pop BBQ joint in Frisco - good meats and good peach cobbler. On the mountain it's pretty much standard fare ski area food, but the view from the Vista Haus is great. 

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbd View Post

Peak 7 is good for intermediates, and you can go off into Ore Bucket for a little harder tree-ish fun while she skis the blue run next door.

 

I haven't been there in a few years, and just looked at an online Breck map, an it appears that all the blue-blacks have turned into blacks.  Wow, must be a marketting thing.  The runs down the middle of Peak 10 used to be all groomed blue-blacks, which are nice if you like to ski fast on groomers, and maybe not too hard for your gf.  Spruce on Peak 8 is also a nice steep cruiser that's turned black since I was there last.

 

Imperial Bowl is steep but when I was last there it was pretty overused (more marketting, "highest lift" blah blah blah).  Be prepared to hit rocks.  The runs below it off Chair 6 are more fun, IMO, if you want something more challenging than the former blue-blacks.  I've never skied Whale's Tail, it might be bare dirt this year given the snowpack so far.

roflmao.gif

 

Yes sort of like their 590" year in 10/11 and the 90" YTD they are reporting this years so farwink.gif

post #7 of 26

The change of eliminating the Blue-Black rating and making them almost all black diamond was safety/insurance/liability related, not marketing.

Spruce on Peak 8 (formerly a Blue/Black and now a black diamond) had the most incidents of any trail on the mountain.

post #8 of 26

I think Peak 10 is great for advanced intermediates.  It is steeper than the blue's on the rest of the mountain and has some nice black bump runs that aren't too difficult, plus the Burn area if you want to ski some trees.

 

As for nightlife, make sure you take your daughter to the Motherloaded (my daughters love it) and get a crepe at the crepe cart for dessert.

post #9 of 26

Was up at Breck on Monday w/my sons.  Agree on sparse coverage...but there are some decent areas. 

 

Peak 7, as discussed is perhaps the easiest blues set of runs on the mountain.  The runs on the right as you look DOWN the hill are better covered.  The runs on the far left near Ore Bucket were a little more sketchy, but still very skiable.  For steeper runs, as stated 10 is great, right down the middle near the lift.  However we also liked the runs between 7 and 8 near the TBAR, Dukes and Northstar.  Ended the day over on 9, pretty good coverage and blues your GF should like.  Spruce, as discussed, was blue/black a few years ago, never saw an evac there, so am surprised it had the most accidents, though being on 8 it would attract less advanced skiers.  We didn't hit it on MLK day, but have liked it a lot in the past as a final run after coming over from 9/10 on the Breck SuperConnect and needing to get back to the base area. 

 

Overall, as stated it's been a marginal year, but decent coverage in what is open, though some icy spots.  As we are day-trippers, can't really comment on the life after dark in Breck. 
 

post #10 of 26

Americana is a great intermediate run with some long gradual greens just to skiers right of it accessed by a different lift. If I recall that is peak 9. The last time I was there I stayed at Beaver Run basically ski in ski out.I do recommend staying off the Whale's Tail if you are not expert level.

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the tips everyone! I'm really hoping they get hit with some snow because it sounds like the conditions aren't great at this point. Would anyone have a recommendation on a good place to rent skis? I'm going to bring my boots, but not my skis.
post #12 of 26

You are going to love Breck! Its a playground for any intermediate skier. Most runs on the lower mountain are very easy except those off E Chair and a few runs under the Peak 8 Superconnect. The 6 chair area is very fun if there is good snow but the more skiers right you go off the lift the tougher they get. There are a few steeps there that are full of large moguls at times so scope the area out first. 

 

Imperial Bowl is short but super fun if there is good snow its great for wind buffed packed powder. The Peak 7 bowls get good powder though. Its an amazing area right after a storm. 

 

Here as good image of the peak 7 bowls right after a huge storm during March 2011:

 

 

 

post #13 of 26

Some good  comments above. I have done a trip to Breck each of the last two years, my first Colorado ski experiences, and am hooked for life. I was there for spring break both times, and my observation is that the base lifts get pretty crowded around 10-2. Better to use the mid-Mountain lifts during those periods.. My strategy was to get out early, first chair, and do an hour by myself ..usually doing laps on Peak 7. Once it got crowded, I would meet up with family on Peak 9 and ski the mid -Mountain lifts --I think its called Mercury. Every once in a while would slide over to the Peak 10 lift when my daughter and I wanted to challenge ourselves (I agree with the comments about Peak 10 -- it had some of the easier Black Diamonds. 

 

Apres ski, Breck is great. We stayed in a condo off the 4 Oclock run that literally runs right into town. We were a short walk from Main St, and there is a wide variety of places to eat and drink,

 

Enjoy Breck. I am planning a trip to Steamboat this year -- not because we don't like Breck, but because there are so many other places to see.

post #14 of 26

I would add the only drawback to Summit county is the elevation. It's gets to some people with the thin air.  

post #15 of 26
Second the altitude. Last few times we flew into Denver and tried to ski all day at Loveland, someone has ended up in a bad way from the altitude sickness. Massive head splitting headache or vomiting. I've been lucky and never ended up that bad. Last few times though I've kept a dull headache. Don't know if its from the altitude or helmet.

Drink lots and lots if water.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Currently, the Imperial lift that services Imperial Bowl and the Whales Tail is closed -- there just hasn't been enough snow to make it safe. There were some lines in Horseshoe Bowl that were pretty nice, but I don't think it really is intermediate terrain, particularly with having to pick your way into the bowl. We just need snow -- looks like some might be on the way.
 

Mike hit it perfectly. The horseshoe bowl is generally a great run for introducing steeps/advanced terrain. However, right now it requires picking your way in and I don't just mean to avoid damage to your skis. I have seen more than a few people tumble over the rock field trying to get in. If you can get in, there is a great rock field right now for learning drops but it's steep and has a sort of no fall zone and is definitely not intermediate  

post #17 of 26

Do you already have lift tickets purchased for breck?  If not, may I suggest alternatives.

 

The main problem with breck is it's "popular"....too popular.  As someone already mentioned...breck is the intermediate's playground.  Lots of grooming and gentle terrain.  If that's what you're into, then there's a lot it offers.  However, the lift lines can get long and while the place is huge, certain spots can still get crowded. 

 

There are plenty of great places to ski around Summit County.  First time out west, you'll have just as much fun in pretty much any other resort there.  Loveland is great because it's cheap, big, and not very crowded.  I think Winter Park/Mary Jane has some great tree skiing and decent groomers.  Copper is fun too and plenty to offer.  Vail is the place to go if you want to ski bowls....the terrain here is more advanced compared to breck, but there are plenty of intermediate bowls to ski.

 

I would highly recommend getting a hydration pack.  It will help with altitude sickness. 

post #18 of 26

I have spent 3 weeks in Summit County every February for the last 6 years and will be out there again this year.  My favorite terrain at Breck is off Peak 8.  I find 7 and 9 mostly boring (too flat) with some exceptions.  And 10 is generally more windblown and scratchy compared to Peak 8 if snow is not plentiful.  Hopefully the snow comes in February like it did last year.  The easiest upper bowl is Imperial, but it will be rocky when it first opens.  Whales Tail is not intermediate, but definitely worth the trip if you are advanced to expert.  I second the recomendation to try Chair 6 to get the flavor of bowl skiing if the upper bowls are closed.  Lots of lines - some fine for an intermediate and some tougher.

post #19 of 26
I agree. The 6 chair is a load of fun and a great place to challenge yourself if you are an intermediate.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortato View Post

As someone already mentioned...breck is the intermediate's playground.  Lots of grooming and gentle terrain. 
I agree with most of the rest of what you said. There is also no doubt that Breck has great intermediate terrain. It does, however, also have some of the best expert terrain in Summit County. The stuff off of E-chair. Most of Horseshoe Bowl. The upper part of Peak 7 reached off of Imperial, namely Sadies, Y chutes, Arte's Bowle, etc. The Lake Chutes.

Lot's of people have an impression of Breck as being flat. I did too until I took a lesson and was introduced to the amazing amount and intensity of it's expert terrain.

Mike
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortato View Post

Do you already have lift tickets purchased for breck?  If not, may I suggest alternatives.

 

The main problem with breck is it's "popular"....too popular.  As someone already mentioned...breck is the intermediate's playground.  Lots of grooming and gentle terrain.  If that's what you're into, then there's a lot it offers.  However, the lift lines can get long and while the place is huge, certain spots can still get crowded. 

 

There are plenty of great places to ski around Summit County.  First time out west, you'll have just as much fun in pretty much any other resort there.  Loveland is great because it's cheap, big, and not very crowded.  I think Winter Park/Mary Jane has some great tree skiing and decent groomers.  Copper is fun too and plenty to offer.  Vail is the place to go if you want to ski bowls....the terrain here is more advanced compared to breck, but there are plenty of intermediate bowls to ski.

 

I would highly recommend getting a hydration pack.  It will help with altitude sickness. 

I haven't bought the lift tickets yet. I was planning on skiing 3 days at breckenridge since we're staying right on the mountain. I was thinking about getting a pack. Do you you guys have any recommendations?

post #22 of 26

Copper is worth going to see but I'm not sure who much getting a back will save you. Breck does get crowded and the main peak 8 lifts are worse then most but the rest of the mountain isn't any worse then others. Blue Sky basin and the frontside at Vail get bad too on busy weekends.

 

I also disagree with the statement that Vails terrain is more advanced then Breck's there is certainly more terrain but the steepest stuff at vail is no where near the steepest stuff at breck.    

post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 

Has anyone been to Breck recently?  If so, how we're the conditions?

post #24 of 26

Haven't been there since MLK but my brother was there on sunday and said things are finally starting to get good coverage. They got a lot of snow last week that helped

post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

Haven't been there since MLK but my brother was there on sunday and said things are finally starting to get good coverage. They got a lot of snow last week that helped

 

Nice. I can't wait to get out there. 

post #26 of 26

I just spent 5 nights in Breck, I spent 3 days at breck (The other two at Vail and Keystone) so I got to really explore the mountain. (I currently live in the front range, but have never had this kind of uninterrupted time there by myself to explore it). 

The snow was still pretty thin, lots of rocks and trees showing, but the snow was still good. I found the best off-piste skiing off of the Imperial chair: whales tail was pretty good and didn't require much hiking. I also hit some of the chutes you that require you to hike off to skiers right from the imperial bowl (lake chutes). Don't be too scared because they are marked as double black and extreme; I found most of the double blacks to be comparable to a single black at most of the other resorts I have skied. The blacks also run on the easier side IMO, but you can ski a few of them first to see how comfortable you feel before trying the double blacks. 

I also enjoy Peak 10 because it is usually less crowded than the base of Peak 9, 8, and 7. It does get windblown and icy sometimes, but it should be fine in the mornings when it gets groomed.

 

In terms of Restaurants on the mountain, try Peak 9 Restaurant. It is the only independent place on the mountain (but their lease ends at the end of next season :( ), and has cheaper/higher quality food than all of the vail owned places. 

 

Also, if you feel like driving a bit, you might check out one of the other resorts in the area (Keystone, Vail, A-Basin, Copper Mountain)

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