The trip through Colorado kicked off the Vail #epicrace properly. While the conditions were early seasonesque, they were drastically better than my home mountain promises yearly so in relation were really outstanding! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the different mountains and cultures they provoke — or create depending on one’s take on it. I also got to ski with two-time Olympian Kaylin Richardson, who is a ripping skier obviously and absolutely hilarious on the chair lift to boot. She is presenting the Vail Resorts Epic Life Mag section for the race. I also was able to meet dozens of other Epic Racers who are an amazing group of people that are following their feet around the world, as well as tons of locals who were celebrating opening day in costumes that included huge furry suits and alpine horns! Showing up to a new ski area every day, getting ones boots on, skiing all day, then getting out of aforementioned boots to enjoy the Apres ski scene and into comfortable shoes is a divine pursuit and as the days add up a meditative travel bonanza.
Some say that Vail has a Disney feel to its village that centers on skiing and winter culture while others would argue it is one of the only locales to successfully model itself after a European super resort. I like both. Covered parking (that means you can walk around in your socks getting your gear ready), great food, and high-end shops are inspiring and cater to skiers from every walk. And if this is what help to get folks to the slope, I am all for it. It is radical to wander around a place that has been designed to entertain riders and their families during the winter season, and while I personally pick another Vail resort as my favorite Colorado ski destination (stay tuned), I think this place rocks in its own way. The skiing is legit, the service is exceptional, and no matter what I think it is very cool that Vail has designed the village to entertain on a level that is compared to top ski destination worldwide.
If the glitz of Vail is too much and you are looking for a more “authentic” Colorado experience, then head over to A-Basin. This is a locals mountain without the locals only attitude. The terrain is wild, the people are friendly, parking is free, and every weekend riders barbecue on the front line of the parking called, “the Beach.” Folks are not as concerned here with how they look, but more concerned with riding bell-to-bell and having a cold PBR in the parking lot with bros and bro-ettes at the end of the day.
The highest lift access terrain (well 12,800 feet), while exposed to the wind, gives you un-paralleled views and feelings of skiing in the Rockies. With some of the best steep terrain in Colorado and plenty to choose from for intermediate skiers, Breck is my favorite of all the Summit and Eagle county resorts. 155 total runs with 14% beginner, 31% Intermediate, 19% advanced, and 36 % expert means there is something for everyone. The town, located well off the highway, boasts a true main street feel and the lodging on mountain ranges from uber high end to the one room condo I rented that would have been my ideal ski town lodging for a very reasonable rate, thanks to Orbitz. The Breck distillery makes great Bourbon and Vodka and will ship it home for you to avoid the hassle of dealing with it in the airport for those who are into that kind of thing. They also offer free samples in their store located on the River Walk. Check out Mi Casa for happy hour (3-6), which serve 1-dollar tacos and free chips and salsa. The skier in the blue pants and yellow jacket is Kaylin Richardson, 2 time Olympic Ski Team member!