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Secret Ski Spots
There are many reasons why people come to the University of Colorado and although I hope not to find skiing at the top of the list it is common to find it filling up a spot. I personally came here from Tennessee barely know how to snowboard and am proud to say I hope to reach my 100 day mark sometime next semester. In any case I wanted to write a blog for all those coming to visit the area who are looking to make it up to the slopes but don’t want to rub shoulders with the typical tourist and are perhaps looking for a bit more adventure! I should warn you that before reading further most of the hidden gems are not for the novice skier or boarder and furthermore it would be wise to not go to any of them alone as they are largely off the beaten path. Alright now that the formalities are out of the way let us start with Arapahoe Basin, which is perhaps the closest substantial mountain to Boulder clocking in at right around an hour from campus. At the base of Arapahoe Basin on the far right side there is a two chair take the up and hook around to the right side of the lift. If the snow is good there will be a large cornice which I recommend jumping off at high speeds! The run then turns into a steep cascade of moguls which isn’t for everyone but I am a fan. Gradually make your way over to the left from here and you will begin to see rocks protrude as shallow shoots form into the mountain. The cliffs continue to grow and grow from here until the end of the run where you are spat out right back at the lift for another run; again beware the largest cliff I have found in this area measured in a whopping thirty feet and yes I was to chicken to go off of it. Next we will make our way down to Keystone just down the valley from Arapahoe Basin and around an hour and twenty minute drive from Boulder. If you go past the outback and all the way to the way back of keystone, I know it seems like a who’s on first skit but I swear these are real names, and take the lift up you will find the pickup for the snow cat which although I highly recommend this is it is no secret. If however when you go to the top of the lift and cat walk around to the left all the way to the ski boundary you will find yourself most likely alone and often in fresh snow. As you make your way down the mountain the snow begins to arch and bank between the trees the remainder of the run is much like a luge, fast and banked, just make sure you stay over to the right or else you will find yourself waist deep in the keystone creek! Now let us move down the road to Breckenridge which is around twenty minutes from Keystone and an hour and a half from Boulder. I will point out that nearly everything off of chair three goes unappreciated and often times consists of the accumulation of the windswept imperial bowl creating good snow even in subpar conditions. The true secret lies at the top of the Falcon super chair on the far left side of Breckinridge. Hop of the chair and hang a right then head down the often steep and tedious spit fire which will lead you to an access road which may seem mundane at first. As the road begins to wind back forth begin to cut between the switch backs and get ready for some air time. At the end of the run you will be led back to the chairlift along a long winding run with loads of hidden jumps tucked up into the side walls. If you have made it this far without shutting down the computer to go hit the slopes then thank you and enjoy the snow!