Last Autumn Duncan Newbury was the lucky winner of an all expenses paid ski holiday to Breckenridge, thanks to Vail Resorts at the screening of “Light The Wick”, the new Teton Gravity Research film. Here’s how he got on…
I got hooked on Teton Gravity Research (TGR) ski and snowboard films back in 2005 when I first saw Tangerine Dream. So, when I heard that their latest release, Light The Wick, was going to be premiered at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire last Autumn I grabbed a ticket straight away.
I genuinely couldn’t believe it when I was lucky enough to win a competition at the film screening for a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado, thanks to Vail Resorts and Ski Independence. The chance for my girlfriend and I to head out on an all expenses paid trip to some of the places I had seen in many a TGR movie was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Ski Independence team were fantastic at getting everything sorted for us and in early April we were heading out on a very comfortable British Airways flight to Denver and then on with the Colorado Mountain Express transfer service to The Great Divide Lodge, just a few metres from the Breckenridge lifts. Having left mid-morning, and with the time difference in our favour, we got to the lodge the same evening and, after a hearty breakfast, were ready to head up the mountain on the first lift the next day.
The first thing you notice in Breckenridge is the altitude. At almost 3,000 metres, the village is as high as the top of many European resorts. However, our rep advised us to drink lots of water and fuel up with Powerade, which did the trick and kept us going. I had heard that Breckenridge was a good resort for beginners, so was expecting pretty mellow terrain. So, I was surprised and pleased to quickly realise that the resort has something for every level of skier and snowboarder. The lower runs have some easy going areas to find your feet and between every run is some more challenging tree skiing, which is fantastic fun. When you head high up the mountain (to almost 4,000 metres!) the bowls open up and provide access to some seriously steep pitches.
By the end of the first day we were more than ready to try out some of the fantastic food from one Breckenridge‘s many extremely friendly and welcoming restaurants, along with some revitalising beers from the excellent Breckenridge Brewery.
We could have happily skied Breckenridge for the whole week but as our passes also included Keystone and Vail we couldn’t pass up the opportunity give them a go too. The free Summit County bus took us over to Keystone which was a real contrast to the Breckenridge experience and definitely worth the trip. Keystone had much more of a European alpine feel with lots of tree lined runs and varied terrain. Getting to Vail was also extremely easy with our rep organising an away day with Fresh Tracks. We were lucky enough to get to Vail on a bluebird powder day and quickly headed towards the back bowls for some amazing powder and tree skiing. Vail’s worldwide reputation is well deserved, it’s a huge and truly amazing place.
Back in Breckenridge, I was keen to check out its snow parks and was blown away by what I found. I knew that Breckenridge, and the other Vail resorts have a global reputation for freestyle skiing and snowboarding, but I wasn’t prepared for the genuinely massive features! This is a place where you are likely to be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Shaun White, who trains in the Gold King half pipe, and only the gnarliest of riders should think about hitting the largest kickers, which doesn’t include me! Luckily, there are various different parks and sizes of jumps, letting you build up your confidence safely before pushing yourself further.
We really couldn’t get enough of Breckenridge’s fantastic ski area and, as our transfer home wasn’t until the afternoon of our last day, we even managed to get in an extra half days skiing in the morning before heading home tired and happy! I’ll definitely be heading back to Breckenridge as soon as possible, and next time I’ll definitely hit those big kickers in the park….maybe.