T-bar fun with town in the background: April 2012, Breckenridge.

T-bar fun with town in the background.

After weeks and weeks of fun in the sun, snow is in the forecast for Breckenridge this weekend—a good sign for diehards looking to take advantage of the resort’s extended 2011-12 season.

Though closing day was originally scheduled for Sunday, April 15, Breckenridge announced midway through March that it would extend the season two additional weekends in April—Friday, Saturday, and Sundays April 20-22 and April 27-29. The decision came as part of the resort’s 50 Wishes program, wherein it granted “wishes” to snow-sliders in honor of the mountain’s 50th anniversary this year. The extended days, which are free to pass holders and $50/day for everyone else, was the 50th wish—communicated “loud and clear” (in the words of Breck SVP & COO, Pat Campbell) by the resort’s Facebook guests and fans.

“Breckenridge, you just plain rock!” Joe Garcia commented on Facebook (FB) in response to the decision. “Best little town on Earth!” While others complained that the extended season “should have been last year” due to the record snows of 2010-11, Breckenridge was in fact open until April 24 last year anyway.

Get the Spring Snow While It’s Good

Besides, few and far between are the opportunities to experience true spring skiing and riding at Breckenridge. Usually the mountain closes with cold, wintery snow and we have to wait until May at Arapahoe Basin—the one Summit County resort that stays open until the snow melts off the mountains completely—to ride the slushy hero snow of spring dressed in but the lightest of lightweight gear.

Pick your bump line: Horseshoe Bowl, April 2012.

Pick your bump line: Horseshoe Bowl, April 2012.

Maybe it’s because I come from a land where the spring halfpipe is the thing to do when temps warm, but how can a person not see how awesome it is to have a soft spring pipe in Summit County for a change? And park kickers make for ideal warm-weather photo shoots when skies are blue—just so long as you play it smart, hitting jumps just as the morning freeze starts to thaw and before the slow afternoon snow. After that, hike a box in a T-shirt or grab a beer and soak up some rays on the patio outside the T-Bar. I mean, seriously, people.

Maybe it’s because I blew my knee early this season and am now relegated to sitting indoors imagining skiing and riding that I’m getting particularly antsy—but I swear I’d be out there with the best of ‘em right now, smashing soft bumps down Horseshoe Bowl or nailing big, forgiving lines in the corn snow up in Lake Chutes where every rock you’d want to avoid is currently visible, sources report.

Whatever your pleasure, spring conditions are fun for many reasons. Take this point from FB commenter Cory McAlpine, for example: “At least we will get to see girls in bikinis!”

Or Pray to Ullr for a Late Season Dump

Of course, the spring snow argument is only good if conditions hold. The other alternative is more snow. Who’s to say the last weekends of the season will be sunny and spring-like after all? Winter has been known to return with a vengeance in April.

An early spring means slushy hero snow at Breck, April 2012.

An early spring means slushy hero snow at Breck.

If snow is your gig, then do your snow dance and be heartened by the fact that NOAA is predicting it for four days straight this weekend, April 13 – 16.

Meanwhile, the snow-fixated can take a point from Facebook commenter Douglas Bily, “If it snows then sweet. If it doesn’t then don’t buy a ticket. Simple as that. … And as far as the seasonal employees go, they always have the option of saying no. But the ones I know would love the extra money and mountain time. God bless Breck!”

Go on, Give it a Go

Breckenridge plans to have Peak 8 open from 9 am to 4 pm on both long weekends (4/20-22 and 4/27-29), including the terrain parks and Imperial Chair, presumably if conditions hold. For safe spring snow-sliding, guests are advised to observe posted signs and closures. There will be free parking in the Gondola Lot and deals on Ski & Ride School classes. For more info, including lodging deals, visit Breck’s extended season page.

In the meantime,  keep in mind that whether the sun shines or the snow falls, skiing, snowboarding, telemarking, snow skating and whatever else you do up there on the mountain are fun in and of themselves—the fun is simply what you make of it. Either way, Breckenridge locals and diehards now have two extra weekends to play.

“No one complains when it is November and you are riding on nothing,” writes Michael Jones on FB. “I say thank you, Breck. I am flying out from the east coast to see you!!”

Story by Erica M. Photos by Gregg Davis

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