We all work hard and sometimes party just as hard. Then add in the holiday treats and cookies or the “I’m-on-vacation” excuse for that extra slice of pizza or that second piece of cake and quickly the calories and the pounds start to add up. Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember why we all live and visit here: the incredible outdoor play opportunities in Breckenridge.
Now is the perfect time to get out, burn some calories, and get into your old favorite activities, or try some new ones. Here are some great exercises to amp up your fitness, while also enjoying the beauty that Breckenridge has on tap.
Where: Gold Run Nordic Center
Why: 700 Calories per Hour
Summit County is blessed with four official nordic centers, and a handful of other, easy to get to locations, to try your hand at skate skiing. Gold Run lies in the middle of it all. With the entire Ten Mile Range on display for you, you should be distracted enough to not notice your heart rate going through the roof.
Here Whitney demonstrates perfect technique. And technique is something you’ll definitely need when skate skiing. Any type of nordic skiing is a workout. No doubt about it. But skate skiing can be brutally hard on those just starting out, until you pick up some of the finer details, and learn the cadence of how everything fits together. Therefore, a lesson is highly recommended for those new to the sport. Lucky for us all, clinics and free learning opportunities abound in the fitness-crazed Summit County.
And after the hard workout is done, you need to give yourself a pat on the back. Maybe it’s just that special latte from Cuppa Joe in Breck, or maybe it’s that really cute Arc’teryx top at Mountain Outfitters that you’ve had your eye on. Whatever your motivation is, once you discover skate skiing, you’ll fall in love with the perfect harmony of a well-groomed track and awesome wax jobs. Your suburban neighbors will have no idea what you’re talking about, and that’s fine with you.
Where: Aspen Alley
Why: 400 Calories per Hour
The latest craze taking over all mountain towns is fat biking. Think mountain bikes, with oversized, 4″ wide tires that can be ridden on snow packed trails. Fat bikes have been around for a few years, but they’ve matured enough to become stable in price for excellent quality, and much more readily available. Sydney and Nick, owners of Breck Bike Guides on Main Street will not only rent you a fat bike, but can take you on a guided tour.
Riding a bike on snow on a squishy-tired fat bike is a simple pleasure guaranteed to leave you smiling, and probably also huffing and puffing. The perfect time for riding fat bikes is between storm periods, when the sun has been shining, and new snow hasn’t fallen in a couple days. Go work up an appetite and get back down to Fatty’s for a burger and cold beverage of your choice.
Nick has more fun on fat bikes than most people I know. He’s not afraid to fly off trail into the powder and he’s also not afraid to let it rip, here on the classic Aspen Alley tunnel, which saw an amazing re-route from the hard working Town of Breckenridge Trail Crew. Whether you hike or bike, this section of the trail, near the top, is a sure crowd pleaser for more adventurous (and advanced) guests.
Where: Breckenridge Nordic Center
Why: 600 Calories per Hour
Snowshoeing is an easy entrance sport and great for visitors. The learning curve is low, and gear needs fairly simple. You probably already brought the clothing and boots needed on vacation, now just rent some snowshoes from Annie at the Breckenridge Nordic Center. They’ll get you suited up and sent out on well-marked trails around Cucumber Gulch. Keep your eyes open, as moose sightings are common in the area.
With an incredible frontside view of Breckenridge Resort and looking over Cucumber Gulch, snowshoeing at Breck Nordic is easy and great for big groups. Just follow the trails for an hour, and you’ll get an awesome workout and take in lots of fresh air. For the more adventurous, maybe check out the hike to Mohawk Lakes and see Mother Nature in her uncrowded glory.
The combination of up to 600 calories burned per hour, no fuss gear needs, and sights per hour witnessed, it’s no wonder snowshoeing has become an enjoyable fitness trend. It’s great for the whole family.
Where: Breckenridge Ski Resort
Why: 450 Calories per Hour
One thing that all visitors remember about their ski trip is that time they took their downhill skis off, and hiked uphill, to access some hard-to-reach, and usually better quality snow condition terrain. Hike-to terrain at Breckenridge has been around, but was once the domain of ski patrol and a few hard core locals. Now, with lifts reaching high, hiking to the summit is achievable for many. But hiking to better snow conditions is also on the list of reasons to hike, while skiing in-bounds. The Windows area at Breck offers the simple joy of a manageable pitch, great snow, some open terrain, and some graded terrain.
Johanna knows where she’s headed, and that’s why the sly smile comes across her face. She’s going for the good stuff. Even on sunny days, overnight winds can create soft carvable snow in the Windows area. On the difficulty scale, the Windows hike is easy, taking about 20 minutes to get that all alone feeling. But make sure you stop and turn around the check out the incredible view of Baldy in the background.
If you’re really up for creating an outstanding memory, go for a summit hike on Peak 6 or 8. Both are short and sweet, taking about 20 minutes, but the difficulty goes up and heartrate increases. Much steeper than the Windows hike, here on a windy day on Peak 6, Jesse and Annie make quick work of the up. Be sure to check yourself and take it slow. You’re above treeline here and oxygen is limited. The reward in on the down, and you’ll be pumped you made it.
Jesse not only is an incredible athlete, but works for one of the hippest ski labels in the biz, Faction Skis, with its North American base in Breckenridge. If you happen to be visiting, give them a call to see about demoing skis. They rock!
And this is what it’s all about. There are a few fitness freaks who hike for the heart rate rush, but most of us do the hikes at Breck for this. The pleasure of going down some uncrowded slopes, hopefully with a foot of fresh powder beneath our toes. Being in the alpine zone with steeper terrain and fresh snow is one of the best feelings in the world, and one you’ll be telling your friends about for a long time.
Many opportunities exist for getting outside and playing. If you want to follow up with any of the businesses listed here, they’re all easy to find and would be excited to help you achieve your fitness goals. For skate skiing and/or snowshoeing, check out Gold Run and Breckenridge Nordic Centers. Fat bike rentals, tours and general advice can be found at Breck Bike Guides. Faction Skis may have originated in Verbier, Switzerland, but they’re homegrown Colorado now. And of course, check out everything about Breckenridge Ski resort here. Get out there, burn some calories, be safe, and enjoy yourself. Take home some great adventure stories while you’re at it.