Spring break 2019 came just in time for a gargantuan blizzard. The entire state of Colorado was crowned with an enormous amount of fluffy white snow. In less than 24 hours, the sweet town of Breckenridge was bombarded with 24 inches of fresh powder and man was it blissful.
In fact most Colorado resorts and ski areas are expecting for the season to stretch well into may so pack your bags…you’re goig skiing!
Just before the epic snow fall our family (plus one) had three amazing days of sunny skies and skiing. The mountain was covered and the blue sky was a warm back drop to a crisp 39 degrees at the base.
While the local news and media were covering the “Colorado Hurricane”, thankfully we were totally safe and sound. Cloudy and snowing never dampened our joy or our time in Breck!
For my ski clothes and packing list please click here The FITting Room: SKI EDITION
We flew from DFW on American Airlines direct flight to Denver International Airport. From there we hired a private driver to take us to Breckenridge, which is about a two-hour drive without stops. Call Mike and Christa Spitale for a free quote on airport transfers to any ski resort. 720-648-3148 (720) 648-0582. The SUV’s were clean and the service was EXCELLENT! Other options include rental car or shuttle services. This was our first year to fly and in my expert opinion from Dallas, Texas we only saved about 4 hours by air travel.
We checked into the every so grand Grand Lodge on Peak 7. This ski in and ski out lodge is a MINT and the perfect place to stay for a family ski trip. It’s nestled mid mountain in front of lift 7 and the service is way above-board. We used the vendor partner for ski rentals (which is next door.) Simply go online make your ski package selections and in less than 15 minutes you are fitted and out the door. Botta bing botta boom!
Like the locals, once we were unpacked and situated in our one bedroom, one and a half bath condo, see pics below, we hit the grocery store in town to stock up for our week away from the grind. Listen to this…The Grand Lodge on Peak seven doesn’t do room keys. They issue plastic durable wrist bands with an electronic sensor. It’s a genius concept and I wonder why every hotel in America doesn’t do it. We were instructed to call the number on our wrist band for the lodge FREE shuttle. BTW the wrist band also acts as your hotel key and key to get inside the access gates to the storage lockers and spa. (why isn’t this a mandatory procedure?) What a concept!
In the high mountain altitude hydration is a necessity. We loaded up on water, Gatorade, Fireball and cold beer.
The only time I ever allow hard liquor near my lips is when I’m on a ski lift. Taking an occasional swig of this cinnamon whiskey keeps me warm and agile.
When skiing, I think it’s imperative to meal plan! I mean like really plan and strategize the meals. I wasn’t trying to get trapped spending $115 a day on a top of the mountain lunch. A typical burger and fries with a bottled water and a cold beer was $30 plus. That’s one burger!!! Heavens no…we would be eating breakfast and lunch in our deluxe ski in and ski out condo.
I’m usually not a big breakfast eater (coffee and protein bar) but skiing is a different beast. Every morning I would load up on some type of protein (boiled egg or salmon) coupled with a light carb like a rice cake, steamed rice or an English muffin with honey. A little something substantial to ignite my metabolism and keep me fueled for the next three hours. In my ski jacket I always pack nuts and a Quest protein bar for quick healthy snack.
Mr. Chicken Fry and I typically made our way to the room for a quick afternoon delight…aka a homemade lunch. Avacado toast and turkey for me and a double ham and turkey grilled cheese for cute guy!
For the teenagers, I made a big batch of my infamous healthy Hobo Stew and Turkey Chili that kept everyone satisfied and warm. Our condo had a robust kitchen with all the cooking essentials. For breakfast, I served omelets and bacon with all of the side accoutrements and we also grilled burgers on the patio for supper.
On the first floor of our condo is an attached restaurant and bar called SEVENS! This is a great hip-joint which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a prime apre ski happy hour patio spot facing chair lift seven.
Now…about the CONSTANT exercise.
From our room to the ski locker area was a good quarter-mile. From there we had a 20 yard walk/ hike in our ski boots to assemble our skis and fire off to the lift. This treck, twice or more a day was my cardio. With the high altitude and thin air, I was huffing and puffing plenty.
I willingly admit, that it takes me several runs before I feel like I’m in a groove. As a once a year skier, it’s a natural adjustment to clunky ski boots and multi layers of puffy clothing. I’m accused of constantly fidgeting for the first thirty minutes with my goggles, buckles and zippers to make sure all is secure.
But y’all, it paid off… at age 45, I had the best ski trip of my ever-loving life. I tore it up! I’m not sure if I’m just in PEAK condition, or if I rented stellar equipment or if the stars and snow aligned for a wonderful experience. No matter what it was, I felt like my ski game was on point minus my lower ankle and shin debacle.
By the second day the top part of my ankle / lower shin felt excruciatingly bruised. Like unbearable pain when I tried to walk in the Herman Munster like ski boots to the locker room. Besides Advil, I combat the pain and swelling with Blue-Emu cream and Blue-Emu lidocaine cream. These two key products keep me loose and almost pain-free.
I figured out what was causing my lower shin bone to bruise and swell. It’s do to my first day lean back issues. When I first start to ski, I catch myself leaning back instead of forward and as a result, my shins become intensely aggravated. Once in a rhythm, the pressure is totally off my ankles. (More about this is my next article “Knees over toes”)
Also – the ever so purposeful BLUE-Emu cream was crucial in abetting my under eye bags from tight goggle marks. Does anyone else experience this? I had red/ purple like double bags of fluid that appeared under my eyes. I started slathering on the Blue-Emu cream and in hours the inflammation was 5 times better.
Basically when I ski…I’m playing follow the leader and keep close behind Mr. Chicken Fry. Where he leads I go. We skied all that Breck had to offer. Lights out, from sun up to sundown and skied almost every run at least four or more times in five days. The mountain has a way of making us feel like giddy teenagers although we are NOT out to kill ourselves on steep mogul double black runs. We both enjoy the challenge of nice groomed black run but neither of us incautiously care to break a bone or blow out a knee.
The laughter and the skiing doubled as my exercise for the week and Mr. Chicken Fry chalked up several years worth of workout in a single week…
WHAT TO DO BRECKENRIDGE?
Breckenridge, Colorado is a precious doll house town on its own right. Breck has vibrant shopping and dining to suit your fancy. We enjoyed an early dinner at the all kid/ family friendly Eric’s. Also known as Downstairs at Eriks...this under ground arcade and game room is like a step back in time. Burgers, pizza, mac and cheese, nuggets and wings on the menu so everyone will be happy.
Charming vibrant gingerbread shops and restaurants line the twinkle light town.
We also found a fabulous eatery (and breakfast joint) a new restaurant called Tiki Mana. The orange pineapple juice was on point and their breakfast was straight from the islands. As we were leaving the Aloha burgers being served looked fit for a Hawaiian King. I was told Tiki Mana has a killer happy hour that doesn’t disappoint.
We enjoyed a little after ski break at Mi Casa one late afternoon. We were in dire need of a Mexican food fix and oxygen. Mi Casa is a happening hot spot for happy hour. A free nacho and salsa bar with daily drink specials. The wait for this place was surreal. People lined the hauls waiting up to two hours for a table. Reservations are highly recommended.
There is snow mountain biking tours, snow mobile tours and cross-country hiking available. Ski school, tubing, dog sledding and horse snow sledding adventures to be had.
One fine day (the second to last run I made a suggestion that we try WANDERLUST which is a double black diamond run just to the left of home base. I think I was super attracted to the name so with gusto I flew off the lift and polled my way over to this obscure run. From the onset this tree loaded steep edge looked confusing and unappealing. “How could this be WANDERLUST?” I thought that once I dropped in and took the windy blind curve it would eventually open up and I was soooooo wrong. Just before I went over the edge, I waved Mr. Chicken Fry over. Once I was in, I was stuck. I gingerly dodged the trees and looked back hoping to see Mr. Chicken Fry’s reaction. I didn’t see his lime green gumby like ski suit self appear so I figured he abandoned ship. I had my fingers crossed hoping I didn’t have to face this alone. I scooted a little further down into the danger zone with no sign of Chicken Fry. At this point I was giving myself a pep talk.
“It’s just a mountain. It’s just a steep hill with snow. You can get down this slope now get your mind right sister.” Just as I was gaining confidence I heard the sounds of another idiot skier and it was in fact my hero, the Mr. Chicken Fry. Before he could even say a word I was shouting apologies for getting us into this colossal mistake. This was not an ordinary ski run. It’s a one person at time skinny twirly steep off course like run. I told him that I would owe him for LIFE if he would just please find us a way out of the devils den I would be forever in his debt. I sat down. He skied away and I lost sight of him. Just as I stood back up I saw him coming toward me. He said, well that way is “wonder-screwed” so let’s see what’s going on this direction. I laughed but let him scout a way down. I sat in the snow, adjusted my body and skis the opposite direction and tried to follow close behind him mimicking his Spiderman like maneuvers through the brush. There was not another human in sight In fact the more I thought about it the longer I realized I had not seen a person even moving in this direction. After what felt like forever….finally he lead us to a clearing only it was full of moguls up to our ear lobes. Every time we would stop and converse, I was profusely apologizing for this stupid idea. We were cackling and heavy breathing at my bad idea. I was thanking him for not abandoning me. As it turns out, I missed the actual groomed run and was attempting to ski this Wonderlust run out-of-bounds and beyond the ropes. Aiyieee yieee!
Thankfully, Chicken Fry found our way back to what was the original run. Apparently I had by passed it and was totally off the main grid. This would be the LAST time I ever try to lead.
Colorado hasn’t changed much over the years. The classic rock music and laid back easy feeling is always in the air. Everyone is happy and helpful. No one is rushing around or in a hurry.
Apre ski happy hour was me and Mr. Chicken Fry making our way in robes to hill-side hot tub or the grande grotto Soothe Spa!
Don’t laugh…everyone does it! Anytime of the day you will see hotel guests or owners in plush spa robes headed toward the steaming jacuzzi tubs. With day light savings in effect the day time sunset and Colorado classic rock cladding in the background this was a perfect spot after a day is hard and fast runs.
Also in our hotel is the coolest co-ed water grotto located in the Soothe Spa. All hotel guests are encouraged to use the spa facilities including an eucalyptus steam room, dry sauna and candal lite water fall hot tub. Inside the grotto you are greeted with cucumber water and lavender cold towels. The whole experience was outstanding and a perfect way to end every evening.
I remember when I was younger, the risky slogan of the late 80’s was “Ski Naked”. The once racy/ raunchy T-shirt slogan has since been replaced with what is now legal…marijuana jokes!
I think I prefer ski naked !
Good bye Colorado until next time! Special thanks to Mr. Chicken Fry for the wonderful memories and a trip of a lifetime.