Why April is Breck’s best month

Spring Skiing in Breck

March is upon us, and popular myth means that’s the end of the ski season.  After all, April is about spring fashion and opening up the baseball season.  Certainly nobody skis that late, right?

Actually, one of the best-kept secrets around is how great April can be in Breckenridge.  Why should you plan a trip to Summit County instead of throwing Frisbees or slacklining in your local city park?  Here are a few reasons:

Weather

April weather is pretty great.  When it’s not snowing, the sun is shining on perfect bluebird days; it’s not unusual for daytime highs to top 40, so pack away your Patagonia Antarctic Expedition bodysuit and take some runs in some comfortable layers.  Plus the days are long, so there are plenty of evenings to sit out on the deck, sip a beer, and contemplate the alpine heroics you performed that day.

Crowds

After the chaos of Spring Break, April feels downright zen.  The savvy skier knows that most of the ski world has packed up their gear for the season and started to prep for summer fun.  The result? Lift lines are short, the runs aren’t crowded, and you can actually find a place to sit at the on-slope restaurant.  Powder day?  You’ll have some runs all to yourself.  Ever thought that skiing would be even more awesome if you didn’t have to contend with a ton of other aficionados?  Here’s your chance to find out how right you are.

Snow

Typically, March and April are the snowiest months in the high country.  With the warmer weather, you can count on the snow being soft; because of Breck’s elevation, you usually don’t have to worry about it being slushy (yes, 2011-12 was an exception).

Prices

Peak season is over, so prices drop.  Example: that one-day lift ticket that costs you $104 in mid-March drops to $91.  A seven-day ticket goes from $560 to $490.  Start figuring the savings for a family of four and that money adds up pretty quickly.  Lodging in the county is also cheaper, with deals offered by most places (like this 40% off one).  On top of that, gear shops are looking to move this year’s models, so you can find that sweet jacket, some model-year-end boots, or new and demo boards and skis at pretty significant discounts.

Spring Fever Spring Fever concert at Breck

You can find more info about all of Breckenridge’s Spring Fever activities here, but a couple of April highlights are worth a mention.  Both weekends in April – the 6 / 7 and 13 / 14 – the Peak 8 base area has free concerts.  The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Dirty Heads, 3Oh!3, and Matisyahu will hit the stage so the chance to groove to some good music out on the hill shouldn’t be missed.  April 6-8, Main Street retailers participate in “Fever Reliever” sales, so you can find deals on gear, souvenirs, and food throughout town.

Imperial Challenge

Imperial ChallengeIf you’re one of those “push yourself” people whose idea of fun involves lots of sweat and liniment, check out The Imperial Challenge.  Ride your bike from town to the base of Peak 8, put on tele skis, an AT setup, or snowshoes, then head uphill.  The “easy” course has you hike up to the top of the T-Bar, or you can be even sillier and get to the Peak 8 summit.  Then, even though your legs feel like they’re made of jelly and your heart might have exploded, you’ll have to finish the race by skiing or riding back to the base for a well-deserved beer.  Not for the faint of heart!  If you’re interested, you can rent bikes and/or uphill setups at Mountain Outfitters.

Look, baseball is nice, but they’re going to play 162 games.  You can wear your Toms all summer long.  But the window for riding the 12-13 season is closing soon, and then you’ll have to pack up your downhill gear until November – and almost certainly later for the really good terrain.  This spring, branch out and come experience Breckenridge like you haven’t seen it before.

— Brad Stewart