Breckenridge celebrates 30 years of snowboarding

Snowboarding legends and current pros converge in Breck’s infamous Freeway Terrain Park to celebrate Breck’s 30th Anniversary of snowboarding with the fourth annual Spring Fever Throwback Throwdown, March 28, 2015.

Presented by Mountain Dew, this throwback halfpipe competition is a chance to watch pro snowboarders from every era of the last 30 years compete for a $17,000 prize purse and take on a two-fold challenge: competing in our 22-foot halfpipe and then a specially constructed 6-foot mini-pipe that is an exact replica of the first one built at Breck in 1985.

Tricks no more than 540 degrees of rotation will be allowed, so each rider will have to get creative with straight airs, alley oops, huge slow spins, and hand plants. The competition takes place on the Superpipe at the top of Freeway in the morning and at the Minipipe in lower Twister after lunch.

Confirmed legends include: Chad Otterstrom, Chris Pappas, Mike Troppman, Todd Franzen, Meg Pugh and a special appearance by Steve Fisher. Current pro riders to watch: Zack Black, Arielle and Taylor Gold, Dylan Bidez, Benji Farrow, Broc Waring and Silvia Mittermueller.

In addition to the contest, the T-Bar Restaurant at the base of Peak 8 will be hosting a throwback party sponsored by Bud Light. Guests can wear their best throwback onesie or retro ski gear for a chance to win a VIP prize package for Spring Concerts, Burton hard goods, and some Helly Hansen apparel.

This Season Marks 30 Years of Snowboarding at Breckenridge Ski Resort!  Breckenridge was one of the first major resorts to allow snowboarding in the 1984-85 season and to host one of the initial major snowboard competitions in the industry, The World Snowboarding Championships, or “The World’s,” in 1986.

Breck solidified its place as the very pinnacle of freestyle snowboarding when it became the first first-ever resort to have a permanent halfpipe then supersized it to a permanent Olympic-sized 22-foot superpipe in 2010, which anchors the resort’s award-winning Freeway Terrain Park on Peak 8.

With four terrain parks, including the top-ranked Freeway Terrain Park and SuperPipe and the Park Lane Terrain Park, a park progression system for beginners and intermediates, Breckenridge remains on the forefront of the industry in both facilities and talent.

See some classic snowboard moments from Breck’s snowboard history on Breck’s You Tube Channel under “Breck Classic Moments” and learn more about some of Breck’s most famous snowboarders and the its rich history of athletes on the Breck Blog.

Breck’s Spring Fever Festival, the largest spring skiing party in the Rocky Mountain region, begins the weekend of March 20 with the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge.

The fun continues through closing day with a series of signature events including competitions and kids’ events in addition to the Bud Light FREE concert series.

Breck Spring Fever 2015 Signature Events include:
•               The Bud Light Concert Series, with national acts performing live on April 11, 12, 18 and 19 on a specially-constructed stage on the mountain, at the Peak 8 base
•               GoPro Big Mountain Challenge on March 21
•               The 19th Annual Imperial Challenge – bike, uphill and downhill triathlon on April 11
•               The fourth Annual Spring Fever Chili Cook-off on April 4
•               On-mountain Easter egg hunt on April 5
•               First Annual Winter Edition of the Kids Adventure Games on April 5

For the latest news and details on all the events taking place or how to participate, visit

Join the Biggest Party in the Rocky Mountains for as low as $129!
Lodging options start at $129 weekday; $149 weekend from 3/23 – 4/19 with a two-night minimum length of stay. Rules and restrictions apply. Offer exclusive to the official lodging sponsors of Spring Fever.

Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship at Vail

The month of March is off to a strong start at Vail Mountain with seven inches of new snow reported Wednesday, 14” in the past 48 hours, and more than three feet in the past week!

In addition to fresh powder, guests visiting Vail this week can also catch some of the world’s best snowboarders live in action at Golden Peak during the 33rd Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships.

The Burton US Open, which first took place in 1982, is the longest-running snowboarding competition in the world and draws the best riders to compete for a coveted US Open title.

On the heels of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, snowsports enthusiasts can get their fill of world-class, Olympic-level slopestyle and halfpipe snowboarding competitions in Golden Peak by day, and enjoy free concerts from names including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Moon Hooch, Girl Talk and more by night.

For more information visit or

Keystone to host Burton Mountain Festival Feb. 20-22

Keystone Resort will host the final stop of the 2015 Burton Mountain Festival, an on-snow community snowboarding festival for families, friends and riders of all ages to enjoy.

From Friday, Feb. 20 to Sunday, Feb. 22, the three-day event will feature free snowboard demos, contests, and après entertainment. Based in Keystone’s Mountain House Base area, the 2015 Burton demo fleet featuring boards, boots and bindings will be available for free trials from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. All events are free and open to the public.

For the youngest of shredders, the Keystone Burton Riglet Park offers riders as young as three-years-old the opportunity to enjoy snowboarding. The innovative Riglet program gives young children an introduction to snowboarding in a learning park built specifically for them.

Burton will provide free snowboards, boots and bindings for the tykes to use, with free access to Keystone’s Riglet park where kids can utilize mini-features such as boxes, ramps and rails from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Riglet lessons are also available daily throughout the season at Keystone’s Ski&Ride School.

On Saturday, Keystone’s A51 Terrain Park will host a stop on Burton’s 2nd annual Party in Your Park snowboard contest series, a grassroots tour celebrating the fun in contest snowboarding.

Featuring a unique setup in A51 designed specifically for Party in Your Park, riders will be added to one of three teams who will work together during the event.

Prizes will be awarded to the winning team, while the best individual riders will be invited to compete in the West Coast and East Coast finals. The contest takes place from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and there is no registration fee for riders. Registration takes place from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday in the Burton Lounge Tent at Mountain House Base area.

Keystone’s Last Lift Bar, located in the Mountain House base area, will host après entertainment from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, featuring live music from “The Swing Crew” as well as tons of free prizes.

As one of the closest ski resorts to Denver, Keystone is the ultimate location for families to enjoy the allure of the mountains; be it on snowboards, skis, ice skates, snow tubes or horse-drawn sleigh rides – Keystone is truly a mountain of possibilities.

To purchase lodging, lift tickets, rental equipment, or for more information about Keystone, visit or call (877) 204-7889. Follow the resort at @KeystoneMtn on Twitter or at

For more information on the 2015 Burton Mountain Festival, visit or and follow #burtonmtnfest and #PartyInYourPark.

Skiing Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort

Photo courtesy of Durango Mountain Resort

Photo courtesy of Durango Mountain Resort

By Bob Goligoski, Correspondent

Durango may not have the glitz and glamor of Vail, Aspen and other major Colorado resorts but this down-home, under-the-radar playground for skiers and snowboarders is one of those special places that we rave about long after we have left the slopes.

First off, lets get the name of the place straight: Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. The resort, some 25 miles from the lively, historic railroad town of Durango, is now in its 49th being sold this month to a new, expansion-minded owner.

In late January, I joined a group of fellow ski writers (members of the North American Snowsports Journalists Association) on an exploratory trip to the sun-drenched Four Corners area of southwestern Colorado – the home of Purgatory.

The Purgatory numbers are impressive: 10 lifts, 88 runs, 2,029 feet of vertical drop, 21 feet of annual snowfall, 1,360 skiable acres, five terrain parks and 20 kilometers of groomed nordic trails.

Photo courtesy of Durango Mountain Resort

Photo courtesy of Durango Mountain Resort

There are a fair number of bunny runs and black-diamond thrillers, but this is mainly an intermediate cruising mountain. Purgatory had the best snow that I have skied on this season (and six more inches fell the day after we left) and the grooming was first class.

When God invented this mountain, he added a distinctive feature. There are natural rollers or risers, some call them whoop-de-dos, on many runs, somewhat like a bunch of steps that keep going down. These are quite entertaining and add a challenging element to the day.

Purgatory gets good snow because of its high elevation. Its base elevation of 8,750 feet stretches to 10,800 at the top. Surrounded by a number of 14,000- foot peaks in the San Juan Mountains, Purgatory can take your breath away – both because of the scenery and the altitude.

If the altitude bothers you to sleep that high in one of the 300 plus beds at the base, head downhill to Durango where its 17,000 residents sleep soundly at 6,500 feet. If you need a little boost on the mountain, there is an oxygen bar at the base.

The world is starting to take notice of Purgatory. Over the last two years, TripAdvisor has rated Purgatory the top value ski spot in North America. Various magazines have piled on the praise including National Geographic which declared that Durango was a “Top 10 Emerging Ski Town.”

In an era of $100 plus lift tickets, the $79 adult ticket here is a bargain. On Thursdays, the fare drops to $49.

The U.S. Forest Service is expected this month to approve the sale of Purgatory to James Coleman, a 47-year-old Durango resident who owns two smaller size ski resorts in New Mexico and is in the process of acquiring Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff, Arizona.

Looking over his new snow-clad slopes at Purgatory, Coleman said, “My plan is to add new terrain every year for the foreseeable future.”

There is a scattering of bars, cafes, shops and condos at the base. But big changes are potentially coming. Coleman has approval to add 2000 housing units (probably houses and condos) in and around the base area.

Numerous winter activities in and around Purgatory include dog sledding, ice climbing, tubing, snowshoe tours, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowbiking, snowmobiling and snowcat tours into the back country for skiers and riders.

Our three day trip did not quite allow enough time to wander around Durango. But we did discover a handful of breweries, wine tastings, two chocolate factories, three new marijuana outlets, amazing regional art at the Sorrel Sky gallery and several mind-blowing southwestern dishes at various restaurants such as El Moro, Chimayo Stone Fire Kitchen and the Palace.

Durango has a rich, restaurant vibe. The town has attracted some high-
image chefs. Michael and Birgitte Lutfy at Chimayo formerly were executive chefs for Minchael Andretti’s Indycar racing team and owner-chef Paul Gelose at the Palace formerly cooked for Oprah.

The town was founded in 1881 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. It boasts one of the country’s premier transportation museums (heavy on railway history) and visitors can still take sight-seeing trips offered on the Durango & Silverton narrow gauge railroad.

Plan to spend some extra time in Durango. There seems to be an eating, drinking or music festival almost every weekend.

The town is relatively easy to get to as three major airlines, including United, fly about 12 flights a day into the nearby airport.

Blue Sky Basin marks 15 years at Vail Mountain

Since its opening 15 years ago on Jan. 6, 2000, Blue Sky Basin has become a legendary area on Vail Mountain and a favorite amongst locals and guests from around the world.

This outer-most area of the resort offers a distinct backcountry feel, complete with glades, cliffs, steeps, and often plenty of powder and fresh tracks within 645 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain!

In honor and celebration of Blue Sky Basin’s 15th anniversary at Vail Mountain, following is a list of the 15 things we love about this legendary area of Vail Mountain!

  1. A Powder Day!

It goes without saying that Blue Sky Basin powder days are the best days! An abundance of powder, fresh tracks and secret stashes await skiers and snowboarders here after recent snowfalls.

  1. The Backcountry-Like Feel

Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy all the ambience of the backcountry, including barn-like structures, gladed terrain, cliffs and steeps, all within the safety of the ski resort boundaries. The NSAA even awarded Vail with the Silver Eagle award in 2000 for excellence in visual impact.

  1. Its Size

With 645 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain, Blue Sky Basin alone is bigger than many individual ski resorts around the United States! That’s a lot of terrain to explore in addition to the rest of Vail’s more than 5,000 acres of terrain.

  1. Gladed Terrain

Known for its amazing natural gladed terrain, Blue Sky Basin, offers fantastic tree skiing in places like Champagne Glade, Steep and Deep, and Resolution.

  1. Groomers, too!

Intermediate skiers and snowboarders don’t be shy, Vail Mountain’s snowcats still make the seven-plus mile journey out to Blue Sky Basin each day to groom trails like Big Rock Park, Grand Review and The Star.

  1. Grilling at Belle’s Camp

Pack up the burgers and brats, and head out to Blue Sky Basin’s Belle’s Camp for the ultimate on-mountain barbeque complete with expansive views of the Sawatch Mountains and Ten-Mile range.

  1. The Views

Blue Sky Basin’s terrain isn’t the only thing that takes your breath away in this outer-most area on Vail Mountain. Panoramic views of surrounding mountain peaks and of Vail’s legendary Back Bowls are just as impressive as the sheer variety of terrain.

  1. Lover’s Leap

Whether you take the plunge solo, or with a partner, Blue Sky Basin’s Lover’s Leap is sure to get your heart pounding as you slide up to the edge of the cornice and take a leap of faith onto the steep snow surface below.

  1. Choose Your Own Adventure through Big Rock Park

No two runs are ever the same when skiing and snowboarding down Big Rock Park. Stick to the main-groomed trail, weave in and out of tree islands, pop into the trees for fresh powder, and make this run all your own!

  1. Dawg Haus

Break for a brew and a brat at this trail-side hot dog stand in between laps on Pete’s Express Lift (#39). It’s the perfect quick lunch stop for hungry skiers and snowboarders who don’t want to break from their powder laps for too long.

  1. The Name and Historical Connection

The name of the area honors the Ute Indians, the original settlers of the Vail Valley, who were referred to as the “Blue Sky People.” The tribute, combined with Colorado’s brilliant blue skies inspired the name Blue Sky Basin. The area also pays tribute to Vail’s founders in the names of two of the three Blue Sky Basin chairlifts – Earl’s Express Lift (#38) and Pete’s Express Lift (#39).

  1. While the Snow’s Away, the Wildlife Can Play!

As part of the approval for Blue Sky Basin, the U.S. Forest Service implemented a Supervisor’s Closure on the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin to protect elk calving habitat from early-May to the end of June and no organized summer activities are allowed.

  1. The Fireplace at Belle’s Camp

Head inside Belle’s Camp to warm up by the fire on a snowy winter’s day.

  1. The Snow Stake Cam

Your best source for live, up-to-the-minute snowfall totals in Blue Sky Basin. Check out the online camera at to see for yourself how much snow fell in the past 24 hours.

  1. Last, but certainly not least, that one particular line in that one particular place on an epic powder day – you know the one!

What do you love about Blue Sky Basin? Share your favorites with Vail throughout the month of January by tagging @VailMtn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and using the hashtag #BlueSkyBasin.

For more information visit, stop by the Mountain Information Center, or call (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).

EpicMix Guide allows guests to ski Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts announced that EpicMix™ Guide, the fifth generation of its award-winning, free, multi-channel app which will re-imagine how skiers and snowboarders will maximize their time on the mountain this winter, is now available for download for iPhone or Android operating systems.

EpicMix™ Guide uses guest input to generate a customized, step-by-step navigational guide to experience Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge or Keystone in Colorado, Canyons in Park City, Utah, or Heavenly, Northstar or Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe like a long-time local.

“With EpicMix Guide, skiers and riders are able to input what kind of skiing they like to do, what kind of terrain they want to explore and how much time they have available, and the app provides a custom itinerary to help them navigate the mountain in a care-free way, maximizing the fun they’ll have that day,” said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts.

Guests need only download the EpicMix app from the iTunes Store or Google Play for the Android Market, then activate their free account via the app or at using their pass or lift ticket number.

They then log into any one of the various EpicMix channels (app, mobile web, desktop) and answer a variety of questions including: desired resort, starting location at the resort, terrain difficulty desired, and length of time available.

EpicMix Guide then automatically generates the optimal route for that guest on that day. The online version is perfect for those who want to plan their trip in advance, while the app is the best way to track real-time progress.

“EpicMix Guide is like handing you 20 years of experience at that resort on your first visit there,” said Lynch. “We’re putting this power at the fingertips of every one of our guests.”

The EpicMix development team sought the insider knowledge of each resort’s most experienced Ski and Ride School instructors to build itineraries which would let guests explore each mountain in a unique way that is appropriate for the corresponding skill level.

Guests can experience beginner routes such as “Schoolmarm Cruiser” at Keystone or intermediate routes like “Dipper Explorer” at Heavenly, or challenge themselves with advanced routes like “Ricky’s Ridge Adventurer” at Vail.

These are just a few examples of the 350 possible routes spread across the eight mountain resorts (excluding Park City Mountain Resort).

Once an itinerary is completed, skiers and riders can share their itinerary, along with photos and other stats about their day, on social media through Facebook and Twitter.

“We’ll give you all the assets you need to share the story about your epic day,” said Lynch.

Twelve days of Christmas at Keystone Resort

With nearly five feet of natural snow falling in November, Keystone Resort enters December with a plethora of great snow, open terrain, exciting events and Holiday cheer. Here are twelve good reasons to visit Keystone this month:

Twelve Santas Smiling
Santa Claus visits Keystone twelve times during December, providing plenty of time to get those Christmas lists submitted and say “Hi” to the big guy. Various dates and locations throughout December.

Eleven Children Climbing
Keystone’s season-long Kidtopia programming begins with the grand opening of the Kidtopia Snow Fort, the world’s largest snow fort. Ribbon cutting at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 atop Dercum Mountain.

Ten Noses a Knowing
Keystone Executive Pastry Chef Ned Archibald utilizes 8,000 pounds of imported chocolate for the Keystone Chocolate Village, complete with various winter scenes. Free to attend, located in the Keystone Lodge and Spa from Dec. 19, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015.

Nine Trails a Glowing
Delay the après with Colorado’s longest ski day as Keystone provides 11.5-hours of skiing and snowboarding fun. Dec. 5-6, 12-13, and 19-31 Keystone is open from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Eight Cooks a Cooking
Skip the cooking, cleaning and preparation needed for hosting a Christmas dinner and enjoy a delicious meal at one of Keystone’s signature restaurants. On Thursday, Dec. 25, the Alpenglow Stube, Der Fondue Chessel, Dinner Sleigh Ride, Keystone Ranch, Ski Tip Lodge and Bighorn Bistro & Bar all offer a Christmas menu. Reservations are required, 800-354-4386.

Seven Revelers Ringing
Live music, dining specials and fireworks are some of the great ways families can celebrate New Year’s Eve at Keystone. There is skiing and riding to be had too of course, guests can enjoy the slopes until 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and begin New Year’s Day with first chair at 8:30 a.m.

Six Families Brunching
Bighorn Bistro’s new family brunch provides kids and adults their very own buffets. Children will enjoy games, entertainment and a fun atmosphere with free supervision provided, while next door adults will enjoy a classic brunch including mimosas and a bloody-mary bar. Located in the Keystone Lodge and Spa on Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Five Golden Rings
Okay, not really. But during the 12 Days of Keystone guests can win prizes such as a season pass, snow cat tour, lift tickets and Keystone swag by posting ‘countdown’ photos to Instagram and tagging @Keystone_resort. Winners will be chosen daily from Dec. 1-12.

Four Free Clinics
Keystone’s Ski and Ride School will provide complimentary one hour clinics for first-timers or guests looking to hone their skiing or riding skills. Two-days, two-clinics – skiing or snowboarding, offered Dec. 13-14 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. atop Dercum Mountain during Get to Know Keystone Days.

Three Peaks Open
December provides excellent early-season skiing and riding conditions, with access from all three of Keystone’s mountains; Dercum, North Peak and The Outback.

Two Nights Only
“Keller & His Compadres” will be performing at Warren Station Dec. 19-20; doors open at 8 p.m. Keller Williams will also perform a solo set each evening. More information and tickets available at

And; many a Kidtopia Activities
Ripperoo’s Village parades, Starquest and Fireworks round out an eventful December at Keystone.

Ripperoo’s Village Parade – featuring Keystone mascot Ripperoo and friends at 4 p.m. in River Run Village on Dec. 13, 20 and 27.

Starquest – Keystone Science School provides a unique exploration of the universe. Free to attend, meets at Kidtopia Headquarters in River Run at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 26.

Fireworks – free firework display visible from River Run and Lakeside Villages at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13, 20 and 27.

Bigfoot Adventure Walks – A free adventure-filled nature walk. Meets at 6 p.m. on Dec. 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30 at Kidtopia Headquarters.

Vail Mountain to open on Friday at 9 a.m.

Vail Mountain, one of the largest ski resorts in the world, will open for the 2014-2015 season on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 with access out of both Vail Village and Lionshead as well as return routes to both base areas.

“We know that we’ll be opening both base areas, but we’re going to give our snowmakers, groomers and patrollers one more night to confirm exactly what we’ll be able to open on Friday morning for Vail’s opening day,” said Chris Jarnot, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “Stay tuned for an update tomorrow.”

Vail Mountain lifts will open at 9 a.m. throughout the early season to accommodate early-morning operations. Skiers and snowboarders are asked to observe all posted signs and closures, especially during the early season.

American Airlines announces flights to Vail for next ski season

American Airlines has just released a new flight schedule between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Vail/Eagle County Airport (EGE) for the 2014-2015 ski season, making it easier than ever  to ski or ride Vail and Beaver Creek with seamless connections.

Vail/Eagle County Airport is located only 45km from Beaver Creek and 56km from Vail, with door-to-door transfers to your lodging in Vail or Beaver Creek available in private, chauffeured four-wheel drive vehicles and shuttles with Colorado Mountain Express.

Daily non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Vail/Eagle County Airport will operate from Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 through Sunday, April 5, 2015, maximizing accessibility to Vail and Beaver Creek over the Christmas/New Year break, January school holiday period  as well as the March Easter break.

The new flight will depart Los Angeles International Airport at 8:45 a.m. With a 12:05 p.m. arrival to Vail/Eagle County Airport, skiers can now ski on the same day they arrive. On the day of departure, snowboarders can maximize their holiday with a full ski day, departing Vail/Eagle County Airport at 6:45 p.m., arriving in Los Angeles at 8 p.m.

For those choosing to complement their ski holiday with a visit to other U.S. destinations, American Airlines also offers daily, non-stop flights from Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 through Sunday, April 5, 2015 between Vail/Eagle County Airport and New York Kennedy, Miami, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Chicago Airports.

Spring Fever Festival and great skiing at Breckenridge

With over a foot of new snow falling in Breckenridge since Sunday – and more in the forecast – spring skiing is at its best as Breck’s Spring Fever Festival enters a fourth week of events, offering more of the Bud Light Concert Series and plenty of Easter festivities!

The Bud Light Concert Series continues on Friday and Saturday with two festival powerhouses: Colorado’s Yonder Mountain String Band on April 18 and Blues Traveler on April 19 to close out the concert series for the season. Both shows are free to the public and the entertainment is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on a specially-constructed stage facing One Ski Hill Place, a RockResort, at the base of Peak 8.

Sunday will be a family-filled day of Easter events, starting with a sunrise service on Peak 9, then an on-mountain Easter egg hunt on Peaks 8 and 9.  This year, Breck is using compostable Easter eggs for the Easter egg hunt and a new prize redemption process will help reduce waste by making sure fewer eggshells and candy wrappers are left on the mountain.