Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Most Miamians claim to have skiied along the East Coast of the United States (upstate New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina), but that is not really skiing until you move west. For some time, our friends and I wanted to plan a big skiing trip during the busiest and most expensive time of year: week after Christmas to ring in the New Year. Not only did we do it once, but we did it two years in a row and in the same place: Breckenridge, Colorado. We picked this location because it had everything for the beginner and more advanced skiier, plus the S's visited the year before all by themselves AND they wanted to do it again with alot more people.
IMPORTANT TIP: To really take advantage of the best deals for this HIGH SEASON time, it is important that you book early. Start looking at options in July or August prior to your trip and book early. There are many non-stop options into Denver for access to most ski resorts and if you go to Vail, there is non-stop flights there as well. As for accommodations, don't just stick with the name brands like Marriott or resorts like the one we stayed at. There are many privately-owned options where you can find roomier and more convenient options. For these options, you can go to Vacation Rental By Owner (http://www.vrbo.com/) or contact a local real estate company like Great Western Lodging (http://www.gwlodging.com/).
We landed into Denver in the evening with the Us. It was cold. The kind of cold that makes your bones hurt, but we were happy to be there. There were about five other families flying in for the same week: different flights, days, schedules, but same thing in mind: ski the Rockies and start creating some memories just like when most of us were kids. One of the best things about traveling in large groups is that each evening one family is selected to host dinner. We all pile into each other's hotel room, cabin, townhouse, or whatever to get a taste of home cooking and good old banter.
Upon arrival into Denver, we decided NOT to rent a car and take a Shuttle Van with Colorado Mountain Express (http://www.coloradomountainexpress.com/) to Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center (http://www.beaverrun.com/). Not to be confused with Beaver Creek (a resort/city in Colorado), this is the less luxurious, but a family-friendly hotel/resort about two hours from Denver, Colorado near the heart of Breckenridge. As for the shuttle ride, it was perfect to just sit back and not have to worry about driving at night in the bitter cold. We even convinced the driver to stop at McDonald's.
As we drove into the night, we wondered what the week would have in store for us. We wondered if everyone was on time. We wondered why we didn't book a beach vacation instead. We quickly remembered the beach is nothing new for us, but barreling down a slope in snow was new to us and the opportunity to experience it with a group of friends was priceless.
Arriving late into the night, we unloaded the tons of bags from the shuttle to the reception area. It was a long way from the reception area, but we finally checked into room 4206. It was comfortable room with one Queen bed a small kitchenette, exposed bath tub, small living area with sofa bed, and a view of the back side of the resort. Frankly, the room was a little dated, more long than wide making it difficult to pass through the room without bumping into others or things, but it would have to do just fine. We made plans for the next day to meet for breakfast and take some lessons.