Breckenridge

Breckenridge

It has become a bit of a tradition for us to go skiing over New Years. For 2018, we planned another road trip to Taos but, unfortunately for us and Taos, they barely got enough snow to open a major run. Considering the 11 hour drive time, hotel, ski rentals, and lift tickets, the hike to Taos was simply not worth the effort for one ski run. But of course, we couldn’t go without our ski trip, so we decided to look else where for snow! We began our search in Colorado and, after pro-con-pro-ing Vail, Beaver Creak, Copper Mountain, and a few other locations, we landed on Breckenridge.

We loved the ski-in / ski-out resort luxury that we had in Snowbird, Utah (I mean, who really wants to lug their equipment all over town) so we tried to narrow our hotel search to those close to the slopes. We found the Beaver Run Resort at the base of one of Breckenridge’s ski lifts. It was ski in / out, had hot tubs all along the runs for after-ski relaxation, looked great, and the price was right, so we booked it!

The flight from DFW to Denver was a little over 2.5 hours. We had bulk head seats so Ryan could stretch out his 6’2 legs, and we were feeling pretty good after some wine and a light dinner at Vino Volo in the airport. I have to say, airport food is getting much better and Vino Volos goat cheese, chicken salad is definitely a winner!

We landed in Denver around 8 PM and hopped on the Summit Express shuttle for the 2 hour drive to our resort. The shuttle was warm (thank gosh!), and we stopped at a gas station half way through to grab some snacks and energy drinks before we got to the resort since they were $5 on property! We always bring some Quest Bars for a mid-ski day snack too, so hitting a store before reaching the resort was a must. Highly recommend!

The shuttle took exactly 2 hours and our driver, Charlie, was super nice. I have to say, Breckenridge at night is gorgeous with all of the snow and twinkle light covered pine trees! The Beaver Run Resort had a bunch of glittering pines to greet us as we pulled up. We were exhausted and quickly checked in to head up to our room. At first, I was a little nervous about the room since the bed room was super cramped upon entry, but then I saw that we had a massive tub area, mini-kitchen, and huge living room. In the morning, we opened the blinds to uncover a beautiful view of the slopes / ski-lift. Total win on our part!

After an early wake up, we walked to the Coppertop Café and got some to-go breakfast tacos to enjoy by the fireplace. It was such a relaxing way to start the day.

Breakfast tacos in Breckenridge, Colorado

We then set off to the rental shop to get our gear. Someone who was supposed to look / book this stuff in advance did not do their job prior to our trip … so at 12:05 AM I started looking up rental places and we found that the shop at our resort gave 15% off if you booked in advance. Apparently, I could still do so at 12:05 AM on the day of our rental-need, so we not only saved a bunch of money on rental gear, and it was ready and waiting for us when we walked into the ski shop. Travel tip: Always book in advance. The further in advance you book, the more you will most likely save too.

We were quickly fitted and ready to roll! The ski lift was right next to the rental place, so we were up and away in no time. We started with some green slopes and got our ski-legs back quickly. Breckenridge slopes are actually pretty easy. After 3 green trial runs, we were ready for some blues. Breckenridge is a series of 5 peaks and you can ski from peak to peak, using the various runs to travel wherever you want to go. Our hotel was at Peak 9 on the far left side of the mountain, but we found that our favorite blues were on Peak 8 and Peak 7.

We skied until around 10:30 and went to one of the base run restaurants for some water and Quest Bars. The key to a good ski session (not to mentioned feeling at all OK on the mountain) is hydration. Breckenridge had hydration stations all over the place so we drank lots and lots of water.

The Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado
The Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado

We took back to the mountain for another hour and a half before getting peckish again. This time, we went to the restaurant at base 8 called Vista Haus.  The food looked great and Ryan and I decided to share a pizza. On a cold day when you are burning tons of calories, a warm, cheesy pizza really does the trick! We had quite the company while enjoying our pizza as well. The 4 people next to us were all part of a 70-year-old plus ski group! The oldest member of their clan was 96! Can you believe that? They travel the world together skiing and we had quite a conversation with a NYC couple who were gushing with stories of their 50+ years of worldly ski adventures. Talk about relationship goals!

After saying goodbye to our new friends, we took off to the slopes for a few more hours. We were actually pretty happy with our runs. Skiing is really all about confidence. As soon as you start to lose that, you are bound for a yard sale!

Skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado

Our legs were starting to give out on us so we made our way, slope by slope, lift by lift, back to Beaver Run. We were totally pooped. It’s one thing when Ryan needs a nap for recovery, and totally different when I need one too – I am usually the energizer bunny! We slept until 5ish and got ready to explore Breckenridge’s town. Another perk of the Beaver Run Resort is that they have a free shuttle system with over 20 pick up locations all over town. We called down for a shuttle and one arrived to take us in no time. Little did we know, town was only .04 miles away so we totally could have walked it!

We heard about the yearly snow sculpting competition and had to check it out. We walked down Main Street until we saw the various counties participants flags – it was so cool! The statues were massive and each country had a different theme that their sculpture was trying to portray. Just the detail alone was incredible. The sculptures had to be done by the next day, so they were busy at work finishing their master pieces.

Ryan’s favorite was China’s work which was a monkeys face with a hand holding an apple coming out of the snow. I have no idea how much architectural planning went into that piece as all of the legs had to hold the heavy monkey’s head in place. The detail on the face and fingers was pretty incredible as well!

About half way through our trek, I saw a hot coco stand with do-your-own toppings and just had to get some! There is nothing like hot coco to warm up your hands and soul on a cold day!

We finished up the show and decided to walk main street and explore the shops. There were tons of cute boutiques, Colorado souvenir shops, restaurants, and knick-knack places. Ryan bought a new beanie and we couldn’t say no when we passed the Mountain Top Cookie Shop. We got the cookie dough, cookie sandwich and a toffee cream sandwich to save for an after-dinner snack. Yummmmmm!

Eventually, we got hungry and wandered around to various menus until we came to Flipside. It had a very cool vibe and even better burger-aroma when you walked in. The burgers on the menu all sounded divine and I ended up with the Red Door burger that had brie and bacon fig jam with truffle fries and a glass of red wine. What a great dinner!

Behind Flipside was a little grocery and liquor store. Ryan wanted to get lunch / breakfast stuff since we had a kitchen at the resort and I was all in, until I realized they didn’t have or were out of a bunch of things we had in mind. Ryan ended up getting strawberry toaster strudel, raisins, and Gatorade and I decided to stick with the resort’s breakfast tacos. (If you know me, I cannot resists tacos in general, so that is always my go-to option!). With bags in hand, walked back to the resort. It was a short walk and, at our usual elevation / incline, would have been a breeze, but it was steep and we basically almost died huffing and puffing back up!

To cap off the night, we decided to hit up the outdoor jacuzzi by the slopes. It was surrounded by snow-capped pine trees and we had the giant hot tub all to our selves – very romantic! We relaxed in there for a or so before freezing our way back inside and warming by the fireplace.

We got back to the room, took a warm shower, and decided to share my chocolate chip cookie dough sandwich as a night-cap before heading to sleep.

Breckenridge Day 2 –

We gave ourselves a little later wake up this morning at 8 AM. All we had to do to get on the slopes was walk downstairs to grab our gear and then another 10 feet to the door! Waking up was made so much easier since it was snowing too! We got ready in not time and ate the strawberry toaster strudel that Ryan bought us for breakfast the night before. We grabbed our boots and our skis and were on the slopes by 8:30.

My legs were pretty shot from the day before. Knowing that skiing is all about confidence, I tried to “positive self talk” my way down the mountain, but all of the fresh snow made skiing a little more tricky.

There were some blue runs on the far left side of the mountain, so we made our way over there one lift up, and strategic run down to the next lift. We ended up skiing around slopes 6 and 7 for a few hours, even accidentally trying a blue run that should have been label a black!

Even with all of the squats and lunges I did in preparation, my legs were dying and my skiing was getting a bit sloppy. We decided to head back to the hotel, one slope at a time, and I ended up catching my ski on something, got turned around, skied backwards for a few seconds, falling on my back, and hitting my head hard enough to hear a crack in my helmet. Thank gosh I was wearing one! I was so winded and it took all I had to raise my hand up to alter Ryan that I wasn’t dead! Thankfully, I was ok and was able to ski back to the resort, but I knew I was going to be sore and needed a good deep tissue massage ASAP!

After another dip in the hot tubs and a freshening up, we headed back down to the ski town to check out the final results of the snow sculpture competition. It was amazing to see the transformation of some of the finished work and sad to see some of the others that didn’t hold up over the final night of creation! The ballet one we loved the day before didn’t make it – the before and after is below:

After the sculptures, we decided to grab some wine and charcuterie at an adorable little shop, and then we headed to the Blue Stag Saloon for some delicious smoked salmon dip and venison pot pie.

 

Breckenridge Day 3 –

Our last day on the slopes was amazing. While the sun was out, it was only 9 degrees, but we had lots of great slopes and our bodies are ready for a full day! While my epic wipe out gave me some serious whiplash, I was cruising down the slopes with ease.

We decided to stay on slope 9 which closest to our hotel since we had not attempted those runs yet. There was one particular blue run at the very top of the mountain that looked like it would be the perfect long run to cap off our ski day. On the map, the first part of the blue mirrored a black and looked pretty steep, but we foolishly said it wouldn’t be tough! The joke was on us! We got to the top and our blue run was the only blue around – but it was literally three separate levels of long moguls and we were not mogul people! The reason I say “were” was because we somehow made it down with only one minor fall! We were so proud of ourselves and the picture below does not do the steepness of the slope justice.

 

We made it down the moguls on peak 9 in Breckenridge, Colorado

Talk about a great way to end our ski trip!

After we returned our rental gear, we hit the spa for one last time. We had our own private hot tub and it felt great against our sore muscles while we watched people ski down the slopes.

After the hot tub, we walked down to town and found the perfect dinner spot – a Vietnamese pho place. I swear, pho soup on a cold day can relieve any stress cure any illness (*note I am not a physician so it probably wont do anything but warm your soul and taste delicious!).

Breckenridge, Day 4 – 

Today was “D-day” aka departure day. We had a few hours before the Summit Express shuttle was picking us up and, with the state of my whip-lashed neck, a deep tissue massage was all we needed. We made an appointment for a couples massage at Simply Massage, just a quick walk from the resort, and had one of the best massages of our lives. Not only was the place decorated like something I would Pinterest for our apartment, the staff was great and very knowledgeable. My masseuse gauged my neck’s range of motion before the massage and knew just where to apply pressure. I felt a million times better afterwards. I highly recommend their services and they are much cheaper than the $150 massages on resort property.

After our massage, we went back to the hotel, got picked up, spent 3 hours on the shuttle to the airport, and were up and away back to Texas.

Breckenridge, Colorado

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Denver To-Do List

Denver To-Do List

As I am sure you have heard, there is so much to do in and around Denver, Colorado! From the thrill of skiing to the amazing views found on the trails, exhilarating white water rafting to relaxing at a brewery, there are so many options and nailing down your exact itinerary can be a little overwhelming, which is why this post is here to help!

There are two main types of Denver vacations – warm and cold weather. If you are going in winter to ski outside of Denver, I recommend renting a 4-wheel drive car, planning for extra-traffic through the mountains going to the airport on our way home, and checking out my ski-trip packing list and skiing 101. If going in warmer weather, check out the below:

Things to do in downtown Denver:

  • Breweries, breweries, and more breweries – There are 4 of the top 50 breweries in the US located in Denver and many breweries within walking distance of each other. We went to Hogshead and the Denver Brewing Company. Not only did the Denver Brewing Company have an awesome patio and great beer, they were having a block party when we went. There were tons of games, other vendors and food trucks giving out freebies, and tons of adorable dogs since the whole place is very dog friendly.

Denver Brewing Company

  • Go to a Rockies baseball game at Coor’s Stadium – Coor’s Stadium has a super cool top deck bar area great for socializing, grabbing some drinks, and enjoying the game in a “sports bar” type of vibe but at the stadium itself! If you do not want to go into the stadium, check out Viewhouse – a huge bar across the street with a giant rooftop patio, outdoor lawn game area, cabanas, and awesome food and drinks.
  • The Denver Modern Art Museum – The Art museum is 5 floors and spans over two buildings connected by a sky bridge. It has a diverse mix of modern and historical artifacts and you can spend about 2-3 hours there easily.

  • Shopping – Feeling in the mood for a little shopping but don’t want to spend such a nice day indoors? Check out the Denver Pavilions outdoor mall in downtown for an open, outdoor shopping experience.
  • Check out the food co-op for lunch or dinner – Trying to find a restaurant with indecisive people or ones with conflicting opinions on cuisine can be tough. Luckily, Denver is home to the Avanti Food Court which has 7 different eateries, 2 bars, and indoor and outdoor seating, to greatly satisfy any wants or needs!

Things to do within an hour of Denver:

  • Red Rocks Amphitheater – The Red Rock Amphitheater is a concert venue tucked into giant red rock outcroppings about 45 minutes away from Denver. Not only can you see awesome concerts there, you can do yoga in the theater and there are tons of awesome hiking trails that provide insane views!
  • Go for a hike – Day Hikes Near Denver is a great resource for finding the perfect hike for you. It outlines the trail maps, details what the trails are like from difficulty level, time it takes to complete the trails, elevation changes, scenic stops, and proximity to Denver city. You can even see George Washington’s sleeping face (See below)! Additionally, check out my recommendations for a hiking packing list to keep you prepared wherever you go.

Arrowhead Golf Course in Littleton, Colorado

  • White water rafting & ziplining – Just about 35 minutes away from downtown Denver, there are multiple place to raft down the exhilarating rapids and zipline in adventure parks.
  • Stand up paddling or kayaking – There are quite a few manmade lakes, reservoirs, and ponds with beaches to relax on and water to sport in. Check this out to for the top 10 places to water sport outside of Denver.

With so much to do, especially a bit outside of Denver, I recommend renting a car so that you do not rack up a huge ride-sharing bill. You will have a lot more flexibility to go to and from your points of interest with a rental car but, of course, if you are doing a lot more partying in downtown and are not venturing out too far, drive responsibly or get a ride-share.

There are so many options for fun in Denver, what will you choose?!

Hiking through Roxborough State Park, Colorado