team rider Steve Fisher rides at Breckenridge Ski
Resort in Breckenridge, Colo.
floating from a gray sky tickled my face and sent a chill
up my spine.
snuggled closer to my husband, our legs dangling from the
lift at Colorado’s Breckenridge Ski Resort, where fresh
snow softly dropped onto tree branches and formed a fluffy
white blanket below as we inched higher and higher up the
sooo cold," I said slyly as I laid my head on his
smiled at the inside joke, a flashback to a simpler time
in our relationship: before kids, before marriage, before
a mortgage and all the other life stresses that had
consumed us of late.
years ago, on our third date, we headed to the slopes of
Mountain High, a small resort an hour and a half from
Orange County, Calif., for a night session on fresh
powder. He, apparently, didn’t know it was a date and
thought I just wanted a friend to hit the slopes with. And
he, apparently, didn’t realize how sexy I thought his
snowboarding skills were as we rode together between the
scooted closer to him on the lift and declared that I
needed warming up, an invitation to wrap his arm around
me. That night, we shared our first kiss.
most of our weekends are consumed with surfing,
snowboarding is a close second when winter months roll
around. We’ve surfed and snowboarded in the same day,
taken quick weekend getaways to nearby Big Bear, or made
the longer trek to Mammoth Mountain.
sighed with sadness when we realized last year our
snowboard gear had collected dust all season. Having our
second child, our sweet Liliani, just before winter made
when my husband, Jon, editor for action sports website
GrindTV, told me about a trip he had to take in early
December to Breckenridge for the Dew Tour festival, I let
out a desperate plea.
I come?" I asked, glancing at my year-old daughter,
her blond hair covered in green broccoli bits, and my son,
Kai, a high-energy 3-year-old who has the opinion and will
of a wild teenager, refusing to eat his.
get me wrong, I love my kids. But any parent with two
young children will tell you that sometimes you just need
a break from the crying and screaming and servitude that
come with being a mom. And thankfully, gracious
grandparents allowed us to make our getaway.
flight from Orange County was easy, a 2.5-hour jaunt into
Denver. With snow in the forecast, and we being native
Californians who freak out about driving in any kind of
weather, we opted to hitch a ride with Colorado Mountain
we got closer to the mountain, the snow really started to
come down, with inches-thick drifts forming on parked cars
we passed. We were just about jumping out of our seats at
the sight of fresh powder.
passenger in the caravan had a tip for us as we arrived at
the DoubleTree hotel, known for its sinfully delicious,
warm, chocolate chip-walnut cookies at check-in.
the bar across the street at Beaver Run; the drinks are
way cheaper over there," said Phil, a ski judge in
town for the competition. It was too late to hit the
slopes when we arrived, so the bar across the street from
our hotel would be our first stop.
we walked across the snow-covered street, arm in arm, it
felt like we were dating again. We drank beer while
playing pool, relaxed, with no children to tuck into bed.
next morning, we woke to a winter wonderland — the storm
had brought about half a foot of new snow, and the town
was buzzing about it.
scored," said a shuttle driver, who dropped me at the
gondola to catch a ride up to the mountain. "It’s
been a rough start to the season; we haven’t had any
snow. It should be epic."
my husband already on the mountain covering the snowboard
competition, I found myself sharing the gondola with local
skier Susan Briggs, who was heading up to watch her niece,
Keri Herman, in the women’s ski slopestyle event.
turned out Briggs was an expert on the topic of love on
the slopes. After meeting on match.com six years ago, she
and her now-boyfriend Dan Herman had their first date on
the perfect first date; you’re doing something you
love," she said. "If you don’t like it, you
can say ‘Oh, I missed the run.’"
she admitted with a chuckle, she had done on previous
with Dan, she knew it was love on first lift.
went out there and we had a blast, we just had a wonderful
time," she said.
got me excited to see my hubby, who was able to sneak away
from work long enough to take a few runs with me on the
felt like our younger selves as we raced down the
mountain. He’s always been faster than me, so I tried to
match the tracks that formed as his board cut through the
powder. He weaved his way down the slopes. I zigged, he
stopped, sneaking a kiss as we took a moment to soak in
the beauty surrounding us.
relaxation was short-lived as he got back to work at the
Dew Tour event. The festival is like Huntington Beach’s
U.S. Open of Surfing — with snow instead of sand, rails
and jumps instead of waves, and a lot more clothes
covering contestants’ and spectators’ bodies.
festival area was set up at the base of the hill giving
out swag, and fans could get up close to some of the world’s
best action-sports athletes as they flipped, turned and
slid down the slopes. These are the same athletes you’ll
see in the Olympics and X Games, putting on an exciting
show on the snow.
was stoked to catch the men’s slopestyle finals as
Canadian Mark McMorris, a well-known figure in the world
of jibs and jumps, took the win. The crowd cheered as he
stepped up to the podium, sending a rush of energy up the
favorite moment from the festival was when Main Street
downtown was shut down for the Streetstyle contest, with
old-school hip-hop blaring from loudspeakers as the crowds
screamed at the sight of competitors doing tricks
snowboarding and skiing in the middle of town.
that event, we decided on a meal at our hotel in the 9600
restaurant. It was romantically lit, a fine setting for a
couple on a getaway. I ordered the salmon, cooked
perfectly, skin on and seared crisp on the outside and
pink and tender on the inside, accompanied by lemony
Brussels sprouts and a celery root puree.
food options in Breckenridge are endless. One night, we
stuffed ourselves silly at Michael’s Italian Restaurant,
putting back all those calories we burned on the slopes.
The tortellini I ordered swam in a heavy basil cream. I
scarfed down every bite, soaking up a bit of sauce with
our last night we found a meal to satisfy our chilly bones
as the snow continued to fall, at a Vietnamese joint
called Pho Real that had opened a few months before. The
pho had a salty yet satisfying broth filled with white
vermicelli noodles, with a choice of meat that can include
thin slices of rare beef or chicken, accompanied with
fresh herbs like mint or Thai basil and spiked with a
jalapeno or two.
we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed hot soup on a cold
night, with a line out the door of people putting in their
warming our souls, we walked slowly through the snow that
covered Main Street back to our hotel, where we had to
pack our bags to head back to the beach near our home in
knew we’d soon be home, back to the grind and deadlines,
picking broccoli out of our kids’ hair. But we’d be
re-energized and reconnected in a way only a few days on
the slopes can provide for a snow-craving couple in love.
dating on the lifts: Speed dating isn’t a new concept,
but doing it while on a lift gives it an interesting
twist. Loveland Ski Area in Colorado held a chairlift
speed date event in December by the creator of Luvbyrd.com.
Participants spend about 10 minutes with each person on
the lifts, and there’s an afternoon social hour.
there: Frontier Airlines offers affordable flights out of
Orange County, as low as $146 round-trip, but beware of
added baggage fees that could cost you more than the
flight for a carry-on and one checked bag. Even selecting
a seat costs an extra $9 or more. From Long Beach Airport,
American Airlines offers flights for $180 round trip and
up. Colorado Mountain Express has shuttle service to the
mountain for about $65 each way, with drive times of
two-three hours. .
to stay: You can’t go wrong with the DoubleTree
Breckenridge ($199 and up), which is walking distance from
ski lifts Quicksilver and Beaver Run. A shuttle will pick
you up and drop you off in town at the main gondola that
takes you to the ski resort. Three small spas are set
outside the hotel to soothe sore muscles after a day on
the slopes, and a warmed pool is indoors. There’s also a
men’s and women’s sauna for those who really need to
warm the bones, as well as a fitness center. And you can’t
beat those warm DoubleTree cookies, which the front desk
is happy to hand out any time you ask.
tickets: $142 for adults ($136 online) weekdays, $161
($155 online) weekends
the mountain: For sore muscle relief, take a yoga class or
get a massage. Or do both. Meta yoga studio offers
everything from gentle classes to hot yoga, with views of
the snowy mountains. Cost is $18 for a drop-in class, with
free mats available. For soothing relief and relaxation,
there’s Simply Massage, where an hourlong session costs
know: The altitude at Breckenridge is about 9,600 feet.
Getting used to the altitude can be rough — expect
anything from nausea to headaches, fatigue or trouble
sleeping, shortness of breath, increased heart rate or a
jittery feeling. There’s a reason oxygen bars are set
around town, and even though getting a dose of O2 costs
more than $1 per minute, it can provide needed relief.