The Alpine slide: a gateway to adventure seeking
Once upon a time there was a young Colorado girl who loved to hike in the pine forests of her home mountains. She loved the scratchy crunch of the dried needles underfoot. She learned that if you press your nose closely to the trunk of a pine tree, it smells like vanilla. The forest was warm and fragrant with multiple shades of green and brown. It felt like home. It was peaceful and quiet, and hours could pass before she knew it.
And then one day that girl was invited to take a ride down the alpine slide at Breckenridge. At first she envisioned a tongue of a slide—like what you find on old-fashioned playgrounds—that wound through the forests she loved so much. How would that work? Wasn’t it flipping hot (slides were metal back then)?
She was curious, so she went.
And that’s when her world exploded.
The alpine slide is like a tube with the top sawed off, and the rider sits in a sled-like contraption with a lever brake. Using gravity and physics, the slide drops almost half a mile, swooping, dipping and lurching here and there.
She surrendered to the forces of nature launching her body downhill, and flew past the forests she’d previously meandered through. They looked so different at high speeds. They were so fun.
In fact, by the time she reached the bottom of the alpine slide with flushed cheeks and a racing heart, this girl had undergone a conversion. She wouldn’t discover the full extent of that ride’s impact for decades, but the seeds of adventure had been sown.
It was that ride that introduced her to the endorphin-releasing thrill of velocity and mountains.
In the years since, she’s owned more than a half dozen mountain bikes and even more pairs of skis. She’s chased adrenaline rushes from Colorado to Canada.
Sure, she stops occasionally to smell the pine trees. But then she packs back up and looks for her next jolt.
Needless to say, she often returns to Breckenridge, the place that started this whole love affair to begin with. The slide itself isn’t as dramatic as the one lodged in her eight-year-old memory—and that’s just fine.
These days, she has more than the alpine slide to choose from. The Breckenridge Summer Fun Park could get her endorphins pounding all day long. She could twist and scream in delight through the hairpin curves of the Gold Runner Coaster. She could (and has) race on single track from mountain summit to base on any of the mountain biking trails.
She could try to chill out for once and enjoy the scenery from the back of an open jeep during a Breck 4X4 tour. Heck, she could test her kids to see if they got her adrenaline junkie gene by throwing them on the Rockpile Climbing Wall and the Super Bungee trampoline.
Truth is, she has done that, and more. She’s logged more than a few hours at the mineshaft maze and the gemstone panning station. And through it all, she never ceases to appreciate the natural surroundings that are as familiar as her own voice.
And that’s why she returns to Breckenridge and other parts of the Colorado mountains over and over, season after season. It’s the thrill and the adventure, the beauty and the calm.
OK, let’s be honest. These days, while her heart is still young and her body is “young enough,” it’s the adventure. Thankfully the Breckenridge Fun Park at Peak 8 keeps delivering.
Info: Breckenridge Fun Park
Hours: June 14 – September 2 from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
September 6 – 15: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only
Pricing: Adult ticket: $68; Kids ticket (7 and under) $34. (Click here to buy now and save $5 over the window price.)
— Rachel Walker