Families getting out of the comfort zone above the tree line

Skiing above tree line on new Peak 6 at Breckenridge
Skiing above tree line on new Peak 6 at Breckenridge

BRECKENRIDGE, CO (Last of 3 days) — I’m so out of my comfort zone.

It’s dumping snow on Breckenridge Mountain and we’re above tree line at the new Peak 6 bowls.  Some of the terrain is hike-to expert — some of the most extreme at the big resort — but all of the buzz here has been about the above tree line blue terrain.

It might be blue when it’s a blue ski day but above tree line when it’s snowing hard, the wind is blowing and you can’t see much, it’s a little scary.

I make it down none the worse for wear and once I got into the trees it was beautiful—wide open slopes with just enough trees to cut the wind and provide a little better depth perception.

I’m congratulating myself when I stop at the warming hut at the bottom of the lift when I run into ski patroller Dave Leffler. “This is going to be more difficult for those used to groomers, especially on low visibility days,” he agrees.  “One a blue bird day, it is beautiful but the visibility can go away faster than below tree line and blue skiers may not be used to it.”

Scott Wannamaker, skiing her with his 16-year-old Jonah, certainly felt that way.  “Much nicer when you get down those first 200 yards,” he conceded.

Of course Jonah and his friend Chris Sangiuliano, both snowboarders, disagreed that it was too difficult. “Being above tree line was a really cool experience,” said Jonah.

“My favorite run on the whole mountain,” added Chris.

For all those Blue intermediate skiers tempted by the chance to try bowl skiing that doesn’t require hiking or double black diamond skills, Certainly venture over,  said Ski Patroller Leffler,  but you might want to choose a nice sunny day.

Ski School class at Breckenridge
Ski School class at Breckenridge

Another tip:  Especially if you have kids along, stash a few snacks in their pockets as well as hand warmers.  You can’t buy anything to eat or anything hot to drink or hand warmers and it is a long, cold way back to  the Peak 7 Base.

Ty Erickson, 8, his twin Hailey and older sister Annika, 10 didn’t have food on their mind when they came in to get warm with their mom Susan after their first time ever skiing above tree line—and probably such tough terrain. “I got stuck in the trees!” Ty said.

“Awesome,” agreed his sisters.  “It was hard at the top, but once you got in the woods, it was really cool.”

The Chicago family, incidentally, was thoroughly enjoying  all the different terrain the mountain has to offer — and all the good eats in town.  The kids favorite, despite the huge wait — Eric’s for pizza, and burgers but even better, the huge arcade downstairs.  (Check out www.gobreck.com for more food ideas.)

We also tried something totally different off the slopes too—a stop at the brand new Apres Libations bar on Main Street with more than 30 microbrews on tap  and many spirits from artisanal distilleries. Another tip from a local:  Great vintage cocktails nearby at Modis  made with spirits from artisanal distilleries like Breckinridge’s own distillery which boasts it is the highest distillery anywhere!

As far as being out of my comfort zone, I admit I was pretty pleased with myself for my successful effort

“So much easier than having to take a T Bar or hike to get to that terrain,” laughed Steve Becker, here with his wife and daughter from Chicago. 

I’ll say.  Ill be back—on a Blue Bird Day.

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