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East coaster skiing Breckenridge for the first time

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So I am East Coast skier coming from New Jersey (Ski Belleayre in New York State and Mount Snow in Vermont).  I am flying out third week this January to ski Breckenridge on Thursday, January 21 through Saturday, January 23.  Can't wait.  I snow boarded in Vail many years ago in powder but have given up snow boarding in the East Coast due to ice.  I am in my third year of skiing thanks to my girls getting me back into the sport.  I am intermediate level and can ski double blacks here. 

 

Some questions -

 

What Breck trail should we start with?  Maybe a warm up. 

 

What is the easiest peak to drop in off of? 

 

The far out forecast is showing 0 degrees at night and goes up to 21 during the day with 4 mph winds and 9mph gusts.  Do you consider this a cold day at Breck.  Wind is low so I am thinking it should be fine.  We spent last year in NY skiing 7 to 11 degrees with 20mph winds typically - Trying to avoid bringing my super cold weather coat and using sub layers with shell.

 

AND, a very important question - How much are my beers going to cost?  What is best place to hang there for breaks/lunch/après?

 

Soupman. 

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

Another question - I am bringing my skis.  They are 80mm.  Will that be wide enough?  South West has great program that allows you to check 2 bags with ski bag and boot bag counting as one bag so skis are coming out for free.

post #3 of 18

I'm an East Coaster, so I'll let other's comment on the particulars of Breck's terrain.

 

Regarding the weather.  I've skied there on a day when the thermometer was reading 14 below -- at the base, and I thought it felt pretty warm.  Relatively humid east-coast air feels much colder at any given temperature than the fairly dry air you'll find in Colorado.  Given that, you're probably safe leaving the extra-heavy-duty parka at home.

 

That said...  Breck is huge to a scale that is inconceivable to East coasters.  It can take a long, long time to get back to your lodging or car or wherever extra layers are stashed.  i.e., what you're wearing to start with is probably what you'll be wearing all day.  So you'll want to look carefully at the forecast each morning and choose your layering carefully (or ski with a backpack if you want extra layers).

 

Regarding skis...  bring what you have.  If you think you need something wider (i.e., big storm rolls through), well, there's plenty of high-end ski shops in Breck that will be happy to help you demo skis.

post #4 of 18

I have done the trip out to CO on Southwest myself and it is a nice perk not to have to pay extra baggage fees, and then get to use your own gear.

 

Personally I think your skis will be fine for most of what you will take on.

 

I have skied out in CO four times (Monarch, Loveland, Copper) and every time on skis skinnier than 80mm. I would categorize myself as an upper intermediate, and I tend to ski mostly in Central VT and NH.

 

You might run into issues if you are dealing with powder beyond 5 inches or so. The general rule is that below 6 inches of recent snowfall a wider width is not going to get you a lot extra. When the snow starts getting to the top of your boots 80mm will not be as much fun. At that stage demo some nice wide skis, use your own boots, and enjoy the blessed conditions.

 

You will be more comfortable in your own boots and with your own skis. It takes a day to get used to rentals. So, while you are figuring out Breck it makes sense to start with your own gear. If conditions allow it, then you can demo, and still have the luxury and advantage of your own boots.

 

Having visited Breck/Dillon/Silverthorne town area few times you will have fun.

 

The one thing I would suggest is an absolute must for you is to ski Peak 6 off the Kensho chair. Groomers, trees, and cold powder can be found in VT (when the weather is right). But, open bowls is something you will only find out west. Peak 6 advertises to be intermediate bowl skiing. I have never had the chance myself, but every time I have skied Copper or Loveland I have either wished I had the skills (I am a much better skier now) or the conditions (my visits have all been late Dec or early Jan) to try terrain you cannot find here in the East.

post #5 of 18

Peaks 6 and 7 are fun places for intermediates to hang out.  Easy trails below peaks 8 adn 9 are sometimes pretty crowded.  Photos here:  http://www.epicski.com/a/breckenridge-co-a-pictorial

post #6 of 18

Regarding your "important" question, take it easy on the beer. You will need to adjust to the altitude, and alcohol will not help with that.  Everyone is different, but I find it takes me at least two full days.  I avoid drinking (except lots of water) until then.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soupman View Post
 

Another question - I am bringing my skis.  They are 80mm.  Will that be wide enough?  South West has great program that allows you to check 2 bags with ski bag and boot bag counting as one bag so skis are coming out for free.


Welcome to EpicSki!  How much customization have you had done to your boots?  I fly Southwest for ski trips a couple times a season.  Always take my all-mountain skis.  But I carry my boots on the plane.  Since I always have to change planes, I don't want to end up at my destination without my boots.  I don't worry they will be lost completely, but have had times when one piece of luggage doesn't make it until a later flight.

 

When my daughter was little, her ski boots fit in a small rolling suitcase that she could handle easily.

post #8 of 18
80 mm is fine at Breck.

Start on Peak 9 in the morning, Columbia, American, Peerless. The sun hits those runs in the morning and most of the people are headed to Peak 8 via the gondola.

Don't know where you are staying but take the bus to Beaver Run. Less crowds.

I fly Southwest often and always check bags. I have not had a single issue with luggage.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

80 mm is fine at Breck.

Start on Peak 9 in the morning, Columbia, American, Peerless. The sun hits those runs in the morning and most of the people are headed to Peak 8 via the gondola.

Don't know where you are staying but take the bus to Beaver Run. Less crowds.

I fly Southwest often and always check bags. I have not had a single issue with luggage.


You are lucky.  Could depend on which airports are involved.

 

A a couple years ago, my friend who flew in from the midwest landed in SLC with his ski bag but not his suitcase.  He carries always his boots on board.  Since we drove to JH the day we met up in SLC, he was without the suitcase for a day.  SW used FedEx to get it to him in Jackson but it was a pain.  My daughter just flew back to RDU from Bozeman (not Southwest) after a Christmas trip with friends to Big Sky.  Her ski bag made it, but not her suitcase.  Since she was leaving for boarding school the next day, we ended up making a second drive to the airport to get her bag that was on a later flight.

 

Personally, I'm not willing to take the risk when it comes to my ski boots for a ski vacation when flying from the flatlands.  YMMV

post #10 of 18

east coast South Carolinian here.  just got back from breck.  first time there. 

 

first i am 38yo so not sure how old you are but that altitude change made me feel weird.  lost appetite and i never got a headache but definitely felt breathing was different and I run all the time and I am pretty fit.

 

i felt better the 2nd day but never had good appetite the entire trip.  I was out there for about 5 days.

 

i skied all day from 9:30 am to about 3 or 4.  I skied the entire time only taking a rest 45 minutes for lunch and some bathroom stops.

 

i was pretty exhausted at night!  the first day was cold and then it got colder.  It snowed first and 3rd day.  the 3rd day was super cold maybe 5 degrees in the am at the base. i had free the pwder gloves and my fingers were pretty darn cold.  wanted mittens bad.  i had about 4 layers up top and 3 below the waist and i would not say I was warm on the lift.  I think it was below zero up on the mountain in the mornings.

 

we stayed at bottom of peak 9 (village of Breckenridge) ski in and out.  it will take you some time to look at the trail maps and figure out how to move back and fourth.  Peak 6 and 7 are less crowded.  I never tried peak 10. I stuck to mostly blue.  i did not do any blacks as I was skiing by myself.  I liked the runs on peak 7 the best.  kind of long and oscillating.   Upper leahman on peak 9 ish is nice as well and has a difficult bump run that i did but it can be avoided by going around.

post #11 of 18

Since dealing with high altitude (>8000 ft) was brought up . . . here's the EpicSki Article on the subject by an MD in Colorado.

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/altitude-adaptation-and-acute-mountain-sickness

 

Being physically fit has little to do with the likelihood of having altitude adjustment issues.  More complicated than whether or not someone has strong heart.

post #12 of 18

The talk about dealing with the altitude is important to take note of.  I have seen many people's vacations ruined in Breck because they did not heed the warnings about the altitude.  Talk with your doctor if possible and let him/her know you will be sleeping at 10,000' in elevation.  Get Diamox or equivalent if possible.

 

Starting out on Peak 9 as stated by Skier31 is a great plan.  Peak 9 is the least crowded peak.  Peak 8 is by far the busiest.  Peak 7 has some fun long cruisers with nice rolling terrain, just be cautious to not get too much air off some of the rollers :).  Peak 6 has some fun terrain to explore.  Beyond Bowl on Peak 6 is great, it has one short choke point that typically has some bumps in it, but the run out traverse can be tricky for many.

 

For some awesome views the top of the Imperial Express chair (highest chair in North America 12,840' above sea level) is hard to beat.  The ridge line (4 o'clock) is groomed, but it is usually quite scraped off and slick. 

 

For lunch Spencer's Steak house (located in Beaver Run) has a reasonable all you can eat soup and salad bar (I think it is $13 this year).  The salad bar usually includes a couple different soups, two salad green blends, pasta salad, potato salad, cottage cheese, cold cuts, bread, fruit salad, etc....  Another option is to walk through the Maggie building at the base of Peak 9 and go to Quandary Bar & Grill (or Poached breakfast food all day).  The food will be much better at either of these options than most options on the mountain and it will most likely be cheaper, too.  The best food on the mountain at Breck is probably at the Overlook on Peak 9.  I think the Epic burger is something like $14 on the mountain this year.  That only includes the burger, fires are another $6+ and a drink another $3+.  Eating at non-resort (Breckenridge/Vail) owned places is a much better deal with better food and service in a more comfortable setting IMHO.

 

There are lots of good places for apres' and dinner in Breck.  Beers are not cheap here, figure $7-8 for a draft non-happy hour (many places have started ending their happy hours at 5pm :mad).  Breck Brewery is a popular spot for tourists.  Quandary Bar & Grill, Burke & Riley's Irish Pub and Fatty's are some popular apres' locations.  Some higher end restaurants that are very good are Blue River Bistro, Relish and Hearthstone, make reservations most of these place are somewhat small.

 

Be safe and have a great trip :beercheer:!

post #13 of 18

We ate at blue river bistro.... was pretty good but MAKE RESERVATIONS a night or 2 before.  things pack up quick.  We also at at "Twist"  I liked it better than blue river bistro buit they were both good and a tad pricey.

post #14 of 18

You will be fine at Breck with the set up you said you have (80mm), and yes, that will be cold for Breckenridge.  It is an inherently cold mountain as it is, us locals call it BeckenFridge.  The wind is always blowing fairly strong on there,  Breckenridge is on the Ten mile Range which lays North/South.  Wear your layers and you should be fine.  We haven't been getting much snow lately so you will probably be skiing groomers or beat up bumps.  The lower mountain is fairly tame and straight forward, it's hard to get yourself in trouble at Breck.  All the serious terrain takes effort to get to.  Peak 10 has the steeper slopes and the become mellower as you head towards Peak 6.  It's going to be more like your East Coast conditions so get some edges put on your skis.  Hopefully we'll start getting snow soon.  

If you want to keep skiing and not spend a fortune on lunch, hit the Climax Jerky stand on Lincoln and Main St before you head out on the mountain.  Don't give Vail anymore $$ than you have to. Keystone gets a bad rap but is actually a decent mountain as it spreads the crowds out well and you can hide from the weather on the gondola if it's freezing cold! Love that gondola!!  A-basin always has the best snow and you can hop the Swan Mountain Flyer from Breck to Keystone to A-basin, and it only takes 30 minutes each way!!

post #15 of 18

My doctor is a mobile ER guy in Breck (High Altitude Mobile Physicians) and deals with altitude sickness the most.  His 1st and foremost advice is to NOT eat a big heavy meal when you get to altitude.  When you eat heavy meals all the blood (oxygen) rushes to your stomach for digestion and that is a big reason why people get sick right away.  Drink pedialite or gatorade (eloctrolytes) and plenty of water.  Avoid excessive alcohol consumption at altitude as it will kick your butt!  Diamox is a good thing to take prior (at least 3 days) to coming to altitude but it will make carbonated drinks taste funny.  Good luck and stay hydrated.

post #16 of 18

@MastersRacer lives in Breck and posts up some good stuff with pics in the Colorado Weather discussion.  Same with @bounceswoosh.  She also posts up good Breck stuff.

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

Guys:

 

Thanks for all the advice and information.

 

Can't wait to get out there.

 

Weather looking real good - A couple of new inches of snow Wednesday and then 20s to 30s for skiing.

 

Can't ask for more coming from the East.

 

Soupman.

post #18 of 18

More than a couple of inches, we are getting hammered!!

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