Christy Sports The Ridge Report
A Blog About Everything Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado & Utah
Learn to Ski and Ride Month

Here at Christy Sports we celebrate skiing and riding every month of the year. (yes, even in the heat of summer) But come January, we celebrate a little extra for Learn to Ski and Ride Month. Whether you’ve been itching to try strapping your feet to skis/ a board or have friends and family who’ve never hit the slopes, this month we toast to bringing newcomers to the sport we love!


A lesson is a great way to get down the basics of skiing or boarding and ease your way into the pow. Many resorts are offering affordable first-time lessons in the month of January. We recommend shopping around online to determine what resort has the best lesson package value to fit your needs!

In addition to offering lessons, most ski resorts have a “bunny slope,” or a ski run with a gentle incline used especially by novice skiers. Once you’ve hopped beyond the bunny hills in terms of ability level, it’s time to hit the green runs! From our friends at Colorado Ski Country USA, check out the most approachable trails for first-time shredders at a few of our favorite Colorado resorts:



Know as “The Legend,” Arapahoe Basin is located just over Loveland Pass. While the ski area is comprised of only 7% “beginner” runs, that little green circle and some research can help steer novices in the right direction. At A-Basin, Wrangler is a run where beginners can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Continental Divide on an easy path from mid-mountain to the base area. You can also access other beginner trails like Chisholm Trail that take you through the forests a little lower on the mountain.


At Aspen Snowmass, Buttermilk and Snowmass are the mountains with the most beginner terrain. On Snowmass, those just getting started can hit The Meadows at Elk Camp with a dedicated chairlift designed for skiers getting their feet under them and an approachable ski area for beginners. Head over to Buttermilk and check out Panda Peak, the best place to learn how to ski, especially for kids. The Hideout Kids’ Adventure Center can be found adjacent to Panda Peak, making for an enjoyable and easy experience for the kiddos.


Copper is perhaps the most beginner-friendly mountain on our list with a quarter of the resort’s runs marked by that inviting green “beginner” circle. Copper Mountain’s Soliloquy is a long, gradual run winding down the west side of Copper’s naturally-divided terrain with room to spread out and some of the most incredible views on the mountain. A Colorado favorite, Copper Mountain should get a gold medal for beginner friendliness!


We love Loveland. Rather than just giving beginners a couple of runs on which to practice, the ski area has dedicated a whole side of the mountain known as Loveland Valley to helping newcomers gain experience before hitting more advanced runs elsewhere on the Loveland slopes. Loveland Valley is a separate base area with its own lifts and wide-open, gentle slopes perfect for newcomers getting ready to try some turns. Located in the Loveland Valley off Lift 7 or the Magic Carpet, the runs All Smiles and Take Off both offer great terrain for beginners.


Why Not start skiing at The Boat today? Why Not is a perfect run for skiers and riders who are ready to brave the mountain via Gondola. Gondolas are much easier to exit than your run-of-the-mill chairlift since you can simply step out. (Don’t forget to grab your gear!) The 3-mile green run meanders gently down the mountain to deliver skiers and boarders of all ability levels safely back to the base of Steamboat.


Further south than the other resorts mentioned, Telluride offers unmatched beauty and breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains. Nestled above 11,000ft, Telluride’s Ute Park offers beginner skiers and riders the opportunity to enjoy the mountains and high-alpine vistas normally reserved for advanced skiers. Once you grow bored of carving down the mountain, (which we doubt you will) Telluride has two beginner terrain parks featuring rollers and small jumps to spice things up – Ute Park is a beginner’s paradise.


Winter Park, like Copper, has a lot of options for newer shredders. Village Way is a nice n’ easy run that winds from the top down to the base. It’s also Winter Park’s longest run at 4.9 miles, so beginners can squeeze plenty of practice in by the time they reach the bottom for après.


Christy Sports has shops at or on the way to all of these major Colorado ski resorts. Our employees live and breathe skiing and boarding and love welcoming newcomers to the mountain. Christy’s expert & knowledgeable staff is standing by to help you rent ski and snowboard gear, so you can put those green runs to the test before investing. While you’re at it, pick their brains on some of their favorite beginner runs! Click here to find a Christy Sports location that’s convenient for you. We’ll see you out there! And never forget- We were all new once!

And for more information on the best beginner ski trails in Colorado check out Colorado Ski Country USA’s Blog.


Easter Egg Hunts at Ski Resorts in Colorado and Utah

If you happen to be on a ski vacation over Easter or you’re worried the Easter Bunny is going to miss you in the Colorado and Utah mountains, fear not!  We have you covered with the top Easter Egg hunts at the ski resorts. Follow our guide to hunt down as many Easter Eggs as the ski resorts can dish out.

Arapahoe Basin’s Beach’n Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Easter Bunny visits A-Basin for an egg hunt that both skiing and non-skiing kids can enjoy! Search for 5,000 eggs on the mountain. Kids on skis will head to Wrangler to search for eggs starting at 11:30a.m.  For the non-skiers and those who wish to hunt on foot, you will be able to search in the learning spaces near the base area.

Loveland’s Giant Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 16, 2017

Celebrate the Spring Skiing Giant Easter Egg Hunt!  Gather at the Basin area for first chair at 8:30am and keep your eyes peeled for the giant hidden Easter Eggs as you ski down the slopes, browse the Sport Shop, and wander the base area.  Huge eggs mean huge prizes such as skis, snowboards, and tons of other awesome prizes.

Keystone’s Closing Day & Easter Celebration – Sunday, April 16, 2017

Join in on the Easter celebration at Kidtopia HQ for free Easter crafts, egg painting, cookie decorating and fun!  Events run from 9:30am to 3:00pm.

Breckenridge’s On Mountain Kids’ Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Easter Bunny has hidden eggs on Peaks 8 and 9.  Join the hunt starting at 9:00am at both Peaks 8 and 9 followed by a toddler Easter Egg Hunt at 9:30am.

Copper’s The World’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hop on over to Copper for 65,000 eggs spread over 2,500 acres. There are different hunts for all ages from a 3-and-under hunt in Center Village, to an on-mountain hunt for the skiing and riding kids at heart.  Check the link for details.

Beaver Creek’s “Eggstravaganza” Egg Hunt – Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Easter Bunny will host Beaver Creek’s 25th Annual Easter Egg Hunt starting at 10:30am at Creekside Park. The Egg Hunt includes 5,000 eggs followed by a photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny.

Winter Park’s Golden Bunny Classic – Sunday, April 16, 2017

Get festive with an on-mountain candy hunt in Discovery Park and a base area egg hunt for children under 5.  Plus don’t miss the ‘Bunny Race’ which has been an Easter tradition for more than 39 years for children ages 10 and under.  Check the link for specific times.

Alta’s Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 16, 2017

Join Alta Community Enrichment for a FREE Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 16th in front of Alta Java/Albion Grill at the Albion Base starting at 11:00am sharp.

Park City Easter – Sunday, April 16, 2017

Celebrate Easter and closing day at both Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley.  Park City Resort’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, activities, and mountain-wide Easter Egg Hunt will begin promptly at 9:00am.  The Easter Bunny will also be visiting Deer Valley Resort at the Snow Park Lodge from 9 to 11am.

Snowbasin’s Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bring the children up to Snowbasin Resort for an Easter Egg Hunt and to see the Easter Bunny before enjoying a delicious Easter Brunch from 10:30am to 4:00pm. Reservations are required.  The Easter Egg Hunt for ages 6 and under will start at 10:00am followed by ages 7-12 at 11am.

Solitude Mountain Resort’s Easter Egg Hunt and Ski with the Easter Bunny– Sunday, April16, 2017

Starting at 9:30am children ages 2 to 10 are invited to join in the Easter fun at the Snowsports Academy in the Moonbeam Base area.

Are you planning on enjoying an Easter Celebration in the Mountains? Tell us about your favorite Easter activities in the comments!

Never Summer Industries

Just as snow can be seen on the peaks of the Never Summer Mountains all year round, the spirit of snowboarding is kept alive throughout the year on the Front Range thanks to the presence of a brand sharing the same name. Never Summer Industries is the brainchild of the Canaday brothers and the product of years of passion, experimentation and the determination to design boards that push the limits of durability and performance. These traits, combined with the commitment to make each Never Summer board by hand in Colorado, have allowed the company to create snowboards that people around the world love to ride.

Never Summer Hybrid Camber Profile

Never Summer Hybrid Camber

Never Summer places a lot of value on innovation, which is a key reason that the brand has thrived throughout the ups and downs experienced by the rest of the industry. For example, Never Summer is to thank for hybrid camber technology, which has become a fundamental snowboard profile in many brands’ product lines. The U.S. patent office is happy to verify Never Summer’s impact on the industry, as the company holds a patent for hybrid camber, as well as several other advancements that have revolutionized snowboarding.

Never Summer’s ability to innovate, combined with its strict quality control standards, has allowed it to further push the snowsports industry by manufacturing products for local ski brands. Icelantic Skis, among others, utilizes the Never Summer factory to produce all of its skis by hand. For the few months that snow can only be found on the Never Summer Mountains, the company makes a line of handmade longboards that carry the same standards for quality as its winter products.

Never Summer Snowboards - Christy Sports

Christy Sports is proud to carry Never Summer at many locations.

When it comes to distributing its products, Never Summer selects its retailers with extreme care. The brand chooses one retailer in a given area to be the exclusive dealer of its products. Not only is Never Summer dedicated to its standards for quality, but also to the companies in which it chooses to sell its products. It is for this reason that we are proud, as a fellow Denver-based business, to be the exclusive partner of Never Summer snowboards in many areas across the Rocky Mountain region.

The Canaday brothers have always focused on creating snowboards that offer something different, something unique. It’s for this reason that Never Summer is such a point of pride for Coloradans, and really, anyone that loves snowboarding. Needless to say, the Never Summer team will continue to innovate, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next. In the meantime, check out this season’s lineup of Never Summer snowboards at Christy Sports.

Hug a Snowmaker

Give a snowmaker a hug.  They’ve earned it!  Most people don’t realize what goes into getting our ski season underway.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always bring us the snow as early as we want it. Luckily, the snowmaking crews are there to save the day.  Not only do they get the mountains to open up early, but they also let the resorts stay open even later.  Think about it: assuming the resorts had enough natural snow to open by January, with as much traffic as the base areas see every year, we’d be walking around in the mud by March.  Instead, snowmakers make our season much longer than it would be naturally, enabling the resident ski bums to proudly say, “Yeah, I get over 100 days a season.”  The question is, though; how do the snowmakers make it all happen?

Honestly, it sounds super easy; just shoot water up into the air and then wait for the snow to fall, right?  However, as with most things that seem very simple, there is a certain degree of difficulty involved.  First off, everything revolves around the wet bulb.  I know it sounds like a made up thing, but it’s not; the wet bulb is the relationship between the ambient temperature and humidity.  Imagine being sprayed with water while standing outside in the winter; the wet bulb would be the temperature that your bare skin feels when exposed to the air.  This number, derived by some sort of mathematical trickery, lets the snowmaking crews know when to start making snow, but it also affects how they make the snow throughout the day and night.  Depending on what the wet-bulb temperature is, the crews adjust the air and water pressure accordingly.

Photo: Dustin Schaefer

Photo: Dustin Schaefer

You know when I asked you to imagine getting sprayed with water and standing outside in the cold?  Well, that is exactly what the snowmaking crews have to do in order to check the quality of snow.  The ratio of air and water has to be constantly adjusted, so one of the snowmakers has to stand under the plume of snow and make sure that it isn’t too wet or too dry.  If it’s too dry, the snow will blow away, and if it’s too wet, the snow will just melt off.  The snowmakers check the quality in a few ways, including analyzing how much snow builds up vs bounces off of their uniform, making snowballs and squeezing, and other various tricks.  So, if you’ve ever been on the lift and seen a snowmaker standing under the plume or vigorously squeezing snowballs, they’re not crazy.  They’re just trying to provide us all with a solid base layer of quality snow.

Most resorts have two 12-hour shifts running during peak snowmaking season in order to capitalize on the coldest temperatures.   When everything lines up just right, they are able to make snow 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   Think about that.  While you rest up before an early season ski day, snowmakers are out there in the middle of the night trying to lay down more giant piles of snow, all in an attempt to open more skiable terrain.

The amount of effort and science that goes into snowmaking is amazing, and considering what their hard work means for all of us, I’d say that we owe them…a lot!  So, rather than wasting time with tired old sayings like, ‘blown snow blows’ or complaints about the ‘ribbon of death’ and ‘landing strip’ we should all be grateful to these hardworking folks because the resorts are opening and the lifts are turning because of them.  Enjoy those early season turns for what they are, and make sure that your legs are ready for that first powder day.

Paradise Waits - TGR - Teton Gravity Research - Film Premiere

Jaw-dropping airs, the steepest drops and the conditions of their dreams are what viewers expect to encounter every time they watch ski and snowboard films. The skiers and riders in these films expect the same. Instead, when the TGR team set out to make their latest film, they found conditions from their worst nightmares…at first.

Like all elite professionals, TGR endeavored to make the best out of a bad situation and get what footage they could. Patience and persistence eventually paid off, with the snow and terrain improving dramatically. The result is a melding of amazing skiing, riding, and perseverance in some of the best and most trying conditions to ever grace the big screen.

Behold, Paradise Waits.

Find a tour stop near you:


Season Ski Rental - Season Snowboard Rental - Christy Sports

You just moved to a place that finally has some elevation and you’ve had one of the most exciting summers of your life exploring the Rockies. Yet, with every passing day, you hear more about the approaching legendary winter. Between ski sale events and season pass promos, for the first time in your life, you’re starting to use “excited” and “winter” in the same sentence. You simply can’t wait to see if all the hype surrounding skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies is worth believing.

However, the move out here wasn’t cheap and you’re starting to notice lift ticket prices. The price of an individual ticket makes you cringe. You also have the option to spend big all at once on a season pass (choose this option, trust me). After doing the math, purchasing new equipment might be difficult. On top of the cost, you’re not sure whether skiing or snowboarding is your true calling, and you don’t want to make a long-term commitment to either without trying them first. What to do?

Have you considered a season ski or snowboard rental from Christy Sports?

All it takes is a visit to your nearest Front Range Christy Sports to get fitted with the proper equipment for your ability level. From there, take the equipment with you…for the WHOLE season! The convenience doesn’t stop there. If you have an issue with any of your equipment, whether it is the fit of your boots, a ski pole that didn’t make it into the car or a malfunctioning ratchet on your snowboard binding, Christy’s has you covered. They have over 40 locations across Colorado and Utah, so no matter where you’re skiing or riding; when a problem arises, an expert technician is there to fix it.

Here’s another advantage to renting gear for the season. Say that you grab skis in September, and by mid-December you’ve already put some serious mileage on the sticks. Drop into a Christy Sports and get your ski rental gear tuned at no charge! Getting ski wax on your landlord’s carpet is probably not on your to-do list, which is why the friendly and experienced staff at any Christy Sports location is happy to get your rental equipment mountain-ready again.

Let’s look at another scenario. You select a pair of skis in September, but by mid-December, you’re bored of the pizza/French fry routine and you want to stand sideways instead. Do it! With a season rental from Christy Sports, you can swap out skis for a board, or vice versa, whenever you like. They say that variety is the spice of life, so why limit yourself to just one method of cruising the slopes?

Remember how I said to splurge and buy the season pass, even though you still need equipment? You can afford it, and here’s why: a season rental package starts at just $159 for an adult and $99 for a junior! That’s everything you need: boots, bindings, poles and a pair of skis or a snowboard. It’s yours from the day you pick it up until April 14, 2016. Not to mention you can switch between skis and a board as many times your heart desires, and Christy Sports even provides a free mid-season tune for your rental gear. Sound too good to be true? It’s not; this is the real deal. Everyone else reading this is thinking the same thing, which is why you need to hurry in and pick up your ski rental or snowboard rental for the season. The absolute last day to rent is November 22nd, but why wait when you can have your pick of the best gear available starting on September 25th?

If you thought summer in the Rockies was fun, just wait until the snow starts to pile up! Any negative feelings you have about winter will be replaced with happy thoughts of slashing powder during the day and learning the true meaning of après at night.

Rent once and ski or ride all season long with a season ski or snowboard rental package from your nearest Front Range Christy Sports. See you in the rental shop on September 25th!

For more information on Christy Sports Season Rentals, visit:

Colorado and Utah Easter Events

Looking for Easter activities to take the family to this year?  Here are some Easter events in the mountains where you can eggspect to have a lot of fun:

Arapahoe Basin

Beach’N Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 5th More Info

Beaver Creek:

Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, April 4th More Info


Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 5th More Info












Copper Mountain:

The World’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 5th More Info

Deer Valley

Easter Bunny Visits Deer Valley – Sunday, April 5th More Info


Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 5th  More Info

Loveland Ski Area

Loveland’s Amazing Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 5th More Info

Monarch Mountain

Kid Fest & Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 5th More Info

Park City

Annual Easter Celebration and Hunt for the Golden Egg – Sunday, April 5th More Info

Ski Cooper

Cooper’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, April 4th More Info


Easter Egg Hunt – Sunday, April 5th More Info

Winter Park

Golden Bunny Classic Candy Hunt and Fun Race – Sunday, April 5th More Info

Have you been to any of these events? Let us know which ones are the best in the comments. 

The most overwhelming part about a shredcation is not knowing where to ski, what to do, or where to eat when you arrive. Luckily for us, it’s 2015, and although hoverboards haven’t become a viable mode of transportation, we do have access to the world’s information through smartphones. Here are a few of my favorite apps to help you make the most of your ski vacation:

Liftopia App1. Liftopia – Instead of paying full price for your lift tickets at the window, check Liftopia to see if there are any discounts or offers for the resort you’re visiting. Beware that you may have to purchase a few days in advance to get the deal, but sometimes you can get 50% off or more.

On The Snow App2. OnTheSnow – Want to find out which resort near you has the best snow conditions? OnTheSnow will give you the daily snow report for over 2,000 resorts worldwide to help you decide where you want to ski. It also lets you view trail maps, ski news, and live web cam feeds.

Trace Snow App3. Trace Snow – This app is loaded with cool features for the shredder that wants to track their day on the hill.  Record how many runs you’re taking, how many calories you’re burning, how fast you’re going, and how many miles of terrain you skied. Your GoPro can even sync with the app and track how high your jumps were. Most importantly, you can also add your friends to prove who shreds harder and share it on social media.

Yelp App4. Yelp – In case you’re not familiar with this popular review site, I’ve just introduced you to your new best friend. Yelp has customer reviews for just about everything. Need ski rentals? Check Yelp for the best ski rental shop near you. Looking for the best, cheapest place to grab a bite to eat? Check yelp for the highest rated restaurant with an average price per meal of $10 or less. Yelp has a great selection of filters that help you find the best of what you’re looking for wherever you go. Use it on your vacation to find the highest rated establishments so you never have to deal with poor customer service. Some places will even offer discounts if you “check-in” using the app.

Trip Advisor App5. Trip Advisor – Maybe everyone you’re traveling with doesn’t ski, or you’re wiped out from the day before and want to do something else. Check Trip Advisor for other local attractions to keep the gang entertained. Read tips from other travelers to see what they recommend for “Things to Do” in your vacation spot.

Skiing Fred App6. Ski/Snowboard Games – What better way to keep your stoke up than with some ski and snowboard games? If you’re flying or driving a long distance somewhere to ski, playing some ski games will keep you excited to hit the hill while you’re waiting to get there, and are more fun than reading a book or scrolling through Facebook. A few Christy Sports favorites are: MyTP Freeskiing 2, Skiing Fred, and FreshTracks Snowboarding.

What apps do you use for skiing and snowboarding? Have you tried any of these?

This time of year is seemingly punctuated with one question: ‘What’s your New Year’s resolution?’ Instead of the myriad cliché resolutions out there, which have the same shelf life as that eggnog in the back of your fridge, why not set out to do something that brings a smile to your face?  A resolution involving skiing or riding is always a good call, but rather than vowing to hit ’X’ number of days on the hill, I suggest that you resolve to go out and explore some new resorts.  Here is a list of 5 resorts in Colorado that everyone needs to hit this season, plus some of the classic runs at each one. Some of these are a little bit off the beaten path, or further away than some people feel like traveling, but they are all worth the trip.

Crested Butte

Image by

Crested Butte:  This is by far my favorite place to ride in Colorado.  The terrain is as challenging as you want it to be, plus the mountain, town, and views are all incredibly stunning. With 542 acres of in-bounds double black terrain, there are unbelievable lines and aspects to explore all over the mountain. Seriously, whether you want to get crazy and scare yourself the entire time or just cruise the groomers with family, CB truly has something for everybody.  Also, the town, people, restaurants, and night life are all just a bit different than what you will find at other resorts. This place has a soul, one which is as infectious as it is charming.

Runs to check out at Crested Butte:

  • Funnel
  • Anything in the Teocalli Bowl
  • Hard Slab into The Glades

Image by John Trousdale via

Monarch:  If you’re going to take my advice and head to CB this winter (which you should), you’re probably going to have to go over Monarch Pass.  You might be tempted to just drive on past the Monarch ski area because it seems small.  Don’t.  You need to schedule a day or two to check this place out!  It’s a little mom & pop ski area, but the conditions and terrain are awesome.  You’ll hardly ever wait in a lift line, and even a few days after a storm, you can still find fresh tracks everywhere!  This isn’t your typical resort, so don’t expect to do much else besides ski or snowboard, which if you ask me, is a huge plus.

Runs to check out at Monarch:

  • Mirkwood Trees
  • The cornice on Curecanti
  • Gunbarrel

Silverton-SnowSilverton:  Well, there’s not a whole lot to say about Silverton besides; just go.  Oh, and get the guided tour. It’s worth it.  The quality of snow is only eclipsed by the intensity of the terrain. Silverton is still awash in the ski-pioneer spirit, and I don’t care how good you are, you will be able to find something that easily takes your breath away.  This place is steep, never groomed, and there are NO beginner or intermediate runs.  If that doesn’t sound fun enough though, they also offer heli-trips.  You know you want to go…

Runs to check out at Silverton:

  • Anything they let you ride, or anything that you can handle.
  • Seriously, it’s all good!



Image by Jeremy Swanson via

Snowmass:  Snowmass is bigger than most people think which makes it easy to escape the crowds without losing out on all the amenities of a high end resort. With over 3,300 acres of skiable terrain, it’s easy to find something fun to ride. Trees, parks, groomers, bowls, glades; it’s all there; you just have to go explore.  Even after the lifts stop turning there is plenty to do, since Snowmass is well known for a variety of fantastic après and dining options.  You won’t be disappointed!

Runs to check out at Snowmass:

  • Rio
  • Powerline Glades
  • Cirque Headwall



Image via

Telluride:  Everything about Telluride is just plain striking. First off, it’s pretty much breathtakingly beautiful. Looks aside though, this place is ideal for avid skiers and riders as there is an array of fantastic terrain spread over 2,000 skiable acres. Whether you want to placate your sense of adventure with their premier hike-to areas, or simply ski perfect corduroy while taking in the remarkable views, you will walk away from this resort with a smile on your face. There is also a gondola from the town to the Mountain Village which makes it easy to check out all of the amazing shopping, après, and dining options.

Runs to check out at Telluride:

  • Little Rose
  • Crystal
  • Audrey

Whatever your New Year’s resolution ends up being, I hope you find yourself in the mountains as much as possible. Happy New Year!

It looks like Colorado is on Ullr’s good side this year, and the early ski season is shaping up to be pure white. We’ve already seen great skiing and riding conditions throughout November and December, so, if you’re not in the mountains, get here! And when you’ve gotten here, poke your head into a local ski shop before you hit the slopes. Get ready: I’m going to fill you in on why this should become a part of your ski day routine.

There is no better place than a ski shop to feel the buzz of a mountain town. They’re the focal point of every ski town because it’s where locals go to catch up on insider mountain news and visitors go to get equipment and establish ties with the community. Plus, you never know who you’ll bump into. It could be anyone from the old guard; the ones that founded the ski area and scoped the runs in the pioneer days of skiing before grooming and chairlifts. Or you could meet one of the new schoolers; the young kids who are hucking themselves in the park or ripping up the racecourse, basically the ones you’ll likely see in the next Olympics. These people go in and out of ski shops on a regular basis for a couple basic reasons: to keep their gear maintained and get the pulse of the community. To immerse yourself in the culture of skiing and to really get stoked on your trip this year, there’s no better way to kick off your visit than by talking snow at a shop. It’s a part of the culture that you won’t want to miss out on.

There are a few reasons that people tend to miss this great opportunity to tap into the local knowledge base, but believe me; none of these excuses are worth it.

I get it. It’s been a long drive. Perhaps even a stuffy flight before that. You just want to jump to the après ski scene – before you’ve even skied – by relaxing in the hot tub with a cold one. Instead, when you roll into town, the first thing you need to do is get the scoop. What’s the snow like? Where’s it thin and where’s it loaded? When’s the new terrain going to open? Where can you get some grub that is delicious but not overpriced?  Where are the cheapest parking lots? And, most importantly, where can you find the best breakfast burrito? These are all crucial pieces of intel, and without each piece, your first day on the hill may not meet its true potential.

By stopping in at a local ski and snowboard shop, you give yourself a chance to understand the culture and get the insider info on where to go, both on the mountain and off. The folks at a true local shop will let you know where to fuel up in the morning, where to replenish midday, and the areas to check out around the mountain that will be right for you. The number of interactions you make with people in a ski shop will surprise you, and probably lead to some quality lasting relationships. You’ll meet fellow visitors, ski bums, patrollers, ski techs, ski pioneers, free-skiers, racers and locals.

There’s no better way to get the local down low. You don’t even have to stress about finding the best shop, because Christy Sports has locations all over Colorado and Utah. They’ve been around forever and the employees are genuinely happy about sharing their passions with others. So, whether you’re a ski town local, weekend warrior, or vacationer; get to know the guys and gals at the local ski shop. It’ll certainly pay off.


Come to Ullr's Fest in Breckenridge Colorado

You know what caps off a great day of skiing? My guess is that everybody has an equally acceptable answer to that question; drinks with friends, hot chocolate with the kids, a much needed dinner out to a quirky local restaurant, etc. Depending on the day and the company, I would agree with all of those, plus probably quite a few more ideas that you’re thinking of right now. However, there is one thing in particular that tends to be an unexpected highlight; a local festival. Hear me out. It’s not something that people typically plan their ski day or vacation around, but for those lucky enough to be in town during a local festival, it typically ends up being one of the most memorable parts of the trip. You will get to experience something that is unique, fun, and probably a little off-the-wall.

With that in mind, if you happen to be anywhere near Breckenridge between 1/11/15 and 1/17/15 I highly suggest that you check out Ullr Fest. The Ullr (pronounced Oool-er) Fest delivers all of the eccentricities you would associate with a mountain town, plus, almost everybody is wearing some sort of Viking helmet. Intrigued yet? You should be! Entering its 52nd year, this heritage event has deep roots within the ski and snowboard community in Breckenridge.

This festival pays homage to Ullr, the Norse God of winter* with 7 days of festivities. Each day brings a new event to various locations throughout the town, so it is a really great way to see Breckenridge in a way that you’ve never seen before! Some of the unique events you can check out include the Ullympics, where you will witness the top frying pan tossers and group skiers from around the valley vie for gold in their respective sports. Ullr Fest also has a talent show, ice skating party, bonfire, comedy night, plus a lot more. If you can make it to every event, consider yourself lucky; but if you can only check out one, you have to see the parade.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

The parade, held on Thursday evening (1/15) is definitely the crown jewel of the entire festival. There are usually around 50 floats, which the locals seem intent on escalating the creativity and craziness of each year. Forget about Paper Mache and flowers, and get ready for skiers in Viking helmets being pulled behind trucks; and that’s just the standard float! This parade is fun for everybody, locals and visitors alike and if you’ve never seen it before, let me give you a heads-up; be prepared to smile, laugh, and enjoy the spectacle.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Ullr Fest is a true showcase of Breckenridge and the people that make the town what it is, so if you can get to the festival this year, you won’t be disappointed. Check out the schedule, and see what each day brings, then stop in and see for yourself why local festivals are one of the best ways to cap off a great day of skiing or riding.

*While Ullr’s official place and title in Norse mythology are (surprisingly) still hotly contested among academic circles and avid skiers, the Ullr Fest in Breckenridge praises him as the God of Winter. Considering how much fun the event is, what’s the point in getting bogged down in the technicalities of Norse mythology?