Skiing Breckenridge Colorado on a Powder Day

By: Ben Kelly

With over 300 inches of champagne powder falling on its slopes each winter, the Breckenridge Ski Resort certainly sees its share of powder days. However, if you're unfamiliar with the mountain and its terrain, you probably won't be locating any secret stashes on such days unless you're spying on the locals as the duck into the trees in search of fresh turns. If you're headed to Breckenridge this winter, worry no more. This is your guide to skiing Breck on a powder day.

Breckenridge's upper lifts don't fire up along with the lower mountain's, especially after the resort get buried by a snowstorm. Head to the Beaver Run Superchair on Peak 9 for the day's first chair. Here, take a few warm-up laps through the Peerless trees or drop into the Needles, located off of Volunteer on Peak 9's north flank. These runs are sure to warm up your legs for the steeper, deeper terrain on the mountain's upper reaches.

Peak 10 is also a popular early morning destination, with runs such as The Burn, Mustang and Dark Rider providing glade skiing with serious powder turns. Look for natural jumps with fresh landings on Peak 10's South side. Be sure to keep your speed up near the bottom of these runs, as the long cat track back to the lift can be an agonizing on deep days.

As the day progresses, you're likely to hear ski patrol conducting avalanche control on the upper mountain with various explosive devices. This is a good sign that it's time to head for the T-Bar, 6 Chair and Imperial Express lifts. The Imperial Express offers the highest skiing in North America, topping out at an elevation of 12,840 feet above sea level. Here, take in wide open powder turns in above the tree line in open bowls. The nature of their shape collects plenty of freshly fallen snow. Pay a bit of attention to which way the wind has been blowing to find the slopes that have been covered most generously.

A favorite locals' run is to ski from the top of the Imperial Express to the bottom of Chair 6, a line that provides steep bowl skiing as well as access to some of Breckenridge's best glades. Arrive at Chair 6 prior to its opening, as Breckenridge residents will be lining up for their turns well before it opens. The lift is accessed via Frosty's Freeway from the Peak 8 SuperConnect or the Colorado SuperChair.

Finish your day with a hike to the Windows in search of unskied snow late in the day. The Windows are a 10-15 minute hike from the top of the Mercury SuperChair and offer bowls, chutes, glades and steeps. Drop into runs such as Broadway, Twin Chutes and Double Barrel for untouched powder turns and secret glades. Beware the creek crossings as you reenter the tree line and be sure to stay above the streams while traversing back to E Chair for another lap.

As you wind down the day recounting phenomenal turns over a few drinks with your friends, be sure to watch for clouds rolling in to freshen up the slopes for tomorrow. Take a hot tub to loosen up your muscles for another amazing day of skiing and plan the next day's assault on Breckenridge's champagne powder.

North America Destinations
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on North America Destinations