My heart was pounding as the sounds of patrol preparing for the day echoed through the area knowing this was going to be a “full charge” day. I was ready to explore the steeps and extreme terrain with the Breck Guides Program .
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With many years of skiing under my belt, including the position as a patrol director, my curiosity escalated with what the day will entail. I have always wanted to venture out and ski the extreme terrain at Breckenridge; however, without knowing the area and where these little “hidden gems” were it was a hard endeavor, especially in one day. With five peaks and over 2000 acres, including the highest lift served chair in North America at 12,840 feet, I inquired about some of the terrain as visions of my own sugar plums started dancing in my head.
With such a warm greeting on this frigid morning my fears diminished, and my excitement grew even stronger. A woman named Patti Banks with over 30 years of experience is our guide for the day. It was so exciting having another woman show us the “ropes,” especially the extreme terrain I was envisioning.
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She is both a certified Level 3 instructor and has Ski Patrol credentials in Avalanche and First Aid making her extremely qualified as a Breck guide. We had options to ski terrain we hadn’t explored before and hit all five peaks, or learn about beacons, probing or digging a snow pit to study the very unique conditions characteristic of the Colorado snowpack.
After a few warm up runs off of Chair 6 on Peak 8, we listened to her radio conversation and heard a gate was just opened. Adrenaline was high and pulses throbbing as we entered a black diamond run.
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We traversed across the fall line taking in the awe-inspiring views and loving the chill in the air. Her stories were many and the history and knowledge both about Breckenridge and the many runs were endless.
We were scoping out terrain and inquired about runs named the Twin Chutes, which she advised were fun and a short thirty minute hike as she waited for our reaction.
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The sun was shining brightly illuminating the snow as we dropped in a double black diamond, Whale’s Tail, and worked our way over to Peak 7 down CJ’s run and to the T-Bar Lift. The perfect combination of winds and temperatures ensured the snow was pristine and fluffy at this high altitude. One of the greatest benefits of the Breck Guides program is you can spend the day and not think where you are going while being guided to the secret stashes.
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Black diamonds and powder rooms with smiles
As we found our way to yet another “High Alpine,” area on Peak 8, taking in the grandeur of the mountains reminded me that this feeling of adrenaline and serenity is why Breckenridge is so magical.
Gazing as far into the distance as possible we caught sight of Gray’s and Torres and Pikes Peak, all iconic 14er’s as the horizon touched the quaint town of Breckenridge. Our playground of steep terrain with light powder made me realize anyone can reach their “peak”with the expertise of a Breck Guide like Patti.
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Today was such a special day that has left my soul recharged, my heart full of gratitude and reminded that black diamonds are truly a girl’s best friend.
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You too can have an awesome experience with Breck Guides!
See you on the slopes!
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