Waking up to the sound of avalanche blasting echoing far off in the mountains is never a bad way to start the day. The loud artillery sound not only shoots you out of bed fast, it signals the sweet anticipation of a pow day. Breckenridge was only forecasted to receive an inch or two overnight, and that seemed about right considering it was a clear night, but we soon found out the weatherman was wrong. It had dumped over a foot over most parts of the mountain, and the upper bowls had closer to two. Not a bad intro to a place I'd never been.
Breckenridge is a legendary spot in ski and snowboard circles, and a couple runs down it was clear why. Not only does it have a cream-of-the-crop terrain park, host to many video parts over the years, the freeriding here is primo. Sure, fresh pow and bluebird skies helped swing that decision, but picture this: mild Colorado temperatures, trees and glades for days, and hike-access alpine bowls that are loaded with deep snow.
After lapping some lower glades in the morning, it was time to check out Lake Chutes and Snow White — a short hike from the top of the Imperial Express chair and an area shredded daily by Breck locals. After patrol opened this area, we were some of the first to rip it up. The top peak stood at 13,000 feet and held an expansive view of the valley and town of Breckenridge below. Some locals said it was common for first-timers to experience altitude sickness in the area.
I rode the lift with a pro patroller who had been working at Breckenridge for over 20 years. He said Colorado storms are a regular occurrence, and he was still skiing lines he'd never done before.
The terrain was steep and the snow was some of the driest, cold smoke powder I've ever ridden. We lapped runs off the ridge line and down into Contest Bowl, Horseshoe Bowl and Cucumber Bowl until our lungs were burning, quite literally from lack of red blood cells in the system. The Imperial Express chair is the highest high-speed quad lift in the world.