UPDATED: Feb. 17, 2016

The first in a series of spring break survival guides, today we focus on tips, tricks and suggestions for your time on the slopes in Breckenridge, Colorado. Go forth and conquer.

1. Hit the midday sweet spot
This spring break, sleep in and prepare for the day with a yummy breakfast. Skiers and riders who start a little later will hit great snow, the middle ground between first chair frozen groomers and late day slush. Another perk? You’re set to avoid peak hours at on-mountain restaurants. May we suggest noon laps on the Mercury chair, followed by a sunny spot on a deck in town?

Free concerts at the base of Peak 8 are always a spring highlight. Photo courtesy Breckenridge Ski Resort

Free concerts at the base of Peak 8 are always a spring highlight. Photo courtesy Breckenridge Ski Resort

2. Think FREE
Yep, it’s your favorite four-letter F-word, and there’s plenty of it on spring break in Breckenridge. From a concert series to park jams, spring in Breckenridge serves up free activities for all ages. Start with the Spring Fever events lineup and check out the Breckenridge Welcome Center for ideas in town.

3. Lessons = skipping lines
Lifts have designated ski school lines, and if you’re in a class, you’ll skate to the front of the pack. Group lessons for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders tend to cover all types of terrain — think of it more as a guided outing. Beginners, go for a lesson – it’s much cheaper than a slopeside argument with your significant other.

4. Mind the gap (and other gear advice)
Helmets should fit snug and squarely on the head, not cocked back like a 1920s newsboy cap. Properly fit, your helmet will meet your goggles, no gaps in between. Another tip: while today’s skis are quite shorter than the planks of the past, it’s still a good idea to watch where you point those things. Watch this educational video (and shoot for “the local”):

5. WWYMS (What would your mother say?): Remember water & sunscreen
Some folks want their spring break ski vacation evidenced with a goggle tan. The reality? Sunburns are painful and bad for your skin. Even with sunscreen, color can happen at 9,600 feet. Spring break brings bluebird days and intense rays reflecting off the snow: do yourself a favor and slather on the sunscreen. While you’re at it – drink water. You’ll be much better positioned to take on the nightlife (and #6).

6. Beer cures exhaustion
It’s nearing the end of the day, your friends are going strong and though you’re ready to call it, you don’t want to be the first to admit it. What’s a tired spring breaker to do? Offer to buy the first pitcher or round of drinks. Before you know it, someone else buys a round and you’re done for the day.

Up next we tackle après. Got any of your own survival tips for spring break on the slopes of Breckenridge? Log in to Facebook and share them below.