Breck Guide: Matt Belleville
You don’t want to get into a game of “who’s been skiing longer?” with Matt Belleville. He is a guy who has literally been on the slopes since he was in-utero. He quickly went from mom’s belly to dad’s shoulders and transitioned to his own pair of skis by 18 months old. He’s been ripping ever since. His fellow guides — some of the best skiers in Colorado — unanimously agree that he’s the strongest skier they know. His style has been described as “inspirational,” and it’s like he almost doesn’t touch the snow, he just floats.
Maybe there’s an element of Matt’s skiing ability that was just in his blood from the start, but he has worked hard and dedicated himself to a life in the ski industry and has the reputation to prove it. As a kid, he started ski racing and racking up medals at his home mountains in Michigan. By high school, he found himself racing and teaching others to ski at nearby Bittersweet Ski Area.
Despite the impressive reputation he’d built in ski racing, it wasn’t until 1985 when Matt arrived in Breck, that he realized he had no idea how to ski serious terrain. He was blown away watching extreme skiing competitions, and knew he had to learn. Matt jumped in and enrolled in the Extreme Skiing World Championships in Alaska, and for five years he held a spot as one of the top 20 skiers in the world. He followed that up with five years participating as a judge in the competition and advocating for the sport.
In many sports it’s common to find teachers who aren’t strong athletes or athletes who aren’t strong teachers. Matt has an uncanny knack for both. A world-class skier born into a family of teachers and aided by his experience judging ski competitions, he can hone in on exactly what someone needs to focus on and improve. He is admits he is “a little picky” and “not a hand-holder,” but these are some of the qualities his clients love most about him. When asked why skiing with Matt is so great, most often the answer is, “because he’s always right.” Don’t be intimidated though, according to his wife and co-guides, he’s a gentle giant and a loving kind of guy.
If you have a chance to spend the day with Matt, take full advantage of the opportunity. His goal is always to open doors for you and make you feel better about exploring new places on your own. His personal reward at the end of the day is when your friends and family see you and say, “Wow, your skiing changed so much – how’d you do that?”