Cultural Family Festival in FloridaSep 21, 2014
The Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) is taking place in Sarasota, Florida October 15th through 18th.
DAY ONE — I’m floating through six inches of fresh powder. I’m on a Breckenridge Ski Resort Trail that is entirely deserted this morning, except for me and veteran instructor Tommy Banks who is guiding me.
We’re at Peak Seven (Breck has four distinct peaks – 7-10) and have dropped into Lincoln Meadows—just us, fresh snow and the trees. Nice! ”It’s a hidden gem,” says Banks. “A lot of people don’t know it’s here.”
Breckenridge (www.breckenridge.com) is one of the Vail Resorts (www.vailresorts.com) that include Vail, Keystone, A Basin and Beaver Creek in Colorado—each with a distinct personality. Breck as locals call it is famous for its high alpine bowls (at 12,999 feet some of the highest terrain in North America) as well as its authentic historic mining town.
The ski area here is half the size of Vail but has lots of varied terrain. “This is the best place to ski because you have such a selection of what to ski,” says six year old Ollie Day, here with his parents and two sisters from Seattle.
“It’s a nice convivial place,” adds Ollie’s mom Beth.
And this season, with the introduction of One Ski Hill — the newest luxe Rock Resort at the base of Peak 8, a new clientele is being introduced to the mountain (www.oneskihillplace.com).
We’re ensconced in a spacious two-bedroom, steps from the chairlift that doesn’t seem crowded even though my daughter Mel brought along six of her college friends (they attend school in Colorado). I love that the place is small — just 88 units ranging from studios to four bedrooms. I love that so many of the amenities are complimentary—from valet parking to WiFi to a bowling alley (that’s right a two-lane bowling alley) and two movie theaters complete with a library of DVDS. There are two indoor pools and two hot tubs. “What’s not to like?” says Ingrid Bialis Wilson, who just checked in. The kids were already exploring the bowling alley. Her family and another from Charlotte, NC were sharing one three bedroom unit.
The resort is anchoring development here at the base of Peak 8, complete with Alpine Coaster just outside as well as an après ski gathering place –the T Bar—that has become “the place” to gather.
The resort’s motto this season is “Breck Like Never Before!” Besides the new resort, the most upscale ever here, “We’re attracting a different customer,” says Kate Grattan, the general manager. And that includes a lot of families who like the convenience and spacious units and don’t mind paying for them. In fact, she and her colleague David Sudduth who oversees sales and marketing, say occupancy has been higher than anticipated for a brand new property. They were packed for President’s Week and for Spring Break weeks as well.
Apres Ski family style at One Ski Hill: Hot chocolate and whipped cream with your choice of toppings- peppermint, chocolate swirls cinnamon sticks, crushed oreos. Di d I mention that it is complimentary?
Jill and Adam Beck, enjoying the hot chocolate with their three kids say this hotel drew them away from Beaver Creek where they’ve gone for years and they love it so far. The kids aged 10, 7 and 4 reported they liked the ski school better and the parents are excited to explore Breckenridge. “For what you get here, this is fairly priced,” said Adam Beck, from Haverford, PA. “This hotel is awesome.”
Strike! We’re bowling in the mountains—inside, of course at One Ski Hill’s indoor two-lane bowling alley. Next door, some other kids are playing pool and a few doors away, a spirited game of Wii ping pong is going on in the media room. The best part? It is all complimentary!
It is also the weekend of my daughter Melanie’s birthday so we are having a birthday bowling party with some of her college pals who have joined us for the weekend of skiing at Breckenridge and Vail. We’ve brought snacks and drinks down from our condo: the hotel even supplies a birthday cake and candles.
“So fun, mom! She says. Absolutely
My crew loves that there is access to four chairlifts in the winter—as well as hiking, biking and the Peak 8 Fun Park in the summer. It is right at the top of the BreckConnect Gondola so there is access to town as well.
There is a new 22-foot Olympic sized super pipe, anchoring the resort’s Freeway Terrain Park which also is on Peak 8. Did I mention the new alpine coaster?
And if that’s not enough to keep you busy—you can sign on for the new Peak to Peak Challenge— ski or ride all 10 of the mountain’s toughest black runs on the resort’s four peaks.—in one day.
I think I’ll sit that one out.
Next: Family vacations never go as planned