Tags Posts tagged with "Breckenridge"


By Sue Gabel,

Colorado is one of the most popular winter destinations so it’s no wonder this state would have five of the best ski resorts in the country. Skiing enthusiasts can score phenomenal all-inclusive deals, tons of fresh dry powder on the slopes and find a variety of events, activities, restaurants and nightlife.

Vail, ColoradoWhen most people think of skiing in Colorado, Vail is one of the first locations that comes to mind. Vail Mountain is an enormous winter hub for skiers, snowboarders, sledding, snowshoeing and anyone who is seeking the best of the best in resort form. Enjoy seven miles of sloping fun on both sides of the mountain. The resort itself encompasses more than 5,000 acres. It’s not only a favored family resort, but a singles resort too. Vail Mountain also offers skiing lessons at their ski school for both adults and children.

Aspen, Colorado. Another popular and talked about ski destination in Colorado is Aspen. Aspen’s resort town is a favorite with the rich and famous and other well-to-do individuals, but there are vacation packages available for various budgets. The Aspen ski and resort area features over 3,000 acres and its main mountain has a vertical drop of almost 4,500 feet. Aspen offers ski trails for everyone whether you’re a novice or intermediate skier. As one of the five best ski resorts in Colorado, Aspen is hard to beat with its variety of terrain parks, four on-site restaurants, retail and rental shops and comfortable accommodations.

Breckenridge, Colorado. With a base elevation of 9,600 feet, a vertical rise of almost 3,400 feet, 30 ski lifts and approximately 2,500 acres of ski terrain, Breckenridge is undoubtedly one of the five best ski resorts in Colorado. Open since 1961, Breckenridge has been providing winter sports enthusiasts’ hours of slope time for almost 50 years. Breckenridge has about 155 skiing and snowboarding trails available, and its longest trail called the “Four O’Clock” is 3.5 miles long.

Telluride, Colorado. For its unmatched beauty, hideaway location and friendly town, Telluride, Colorado, is not a well-known area, but is considered one of the five best ski resorts in Colorado. Telluride is actually located amongst 13,000 and 14,000-foot Rocky Mountain peaks, offering a unique ski-in, ski-out type of resort town. The resort has become so popular over the last few ski seasons, it has expanded another 400 acres. The Telluride Ski Resort area also features some of the best restaurants, hotels, shops and spas.

Crested Butte, Colorado. Rounding off the list of top five ski resorts in Colorado is Crested Butte. This historic mining town turned ski resort is nestled among beautiful snow covered mountain peaks. Known as “the perfect mountain” by the locals, Crested Butte offers slopes and trails for all levels of skiing experience. The slopes are wide and don’t get easily crowded which is an advantage to everyone. The mountain also features extreme skiing locations on the North Face and the Head Wall. As of 2010, the newly expanded Teocalli Bowl area now adds to the extreme skiing location of the mountain.



I got the news checking in with my wife when flying back from a backcountry skiing trip in British Columbia. “You hear about Chris?” she asked. “Broke his neck skiing. Got flight-for-lifed to Denver.”

It hit me like a bombshell. Chris? A Division 1 ski racer, stud mountain bike racer and better athlete than any of us? How could he get hurt, on a run like Rainbow?

But it was true. He had hit some blind ruts left over from caution fencing that had been removed, lost his ski and landed head first on the flats. He was airlifted straight to Denver Hospital before being moved to the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Unit of Denver's Craig Hospital, where he is undergoing rehabilitation for breaking his C4 vertebrae.

It's a gut check for everyone, especially him. One second enjoying life as we all know it in Steamboat and the next paralyzed, with a whole new outlook on what's truly important in life. Their goals, says Uber-wife Cindy, aren't getting mobile enough to kayak, ski or bike again, but to simply feed yourself and brush your own teeth.

His eyes lit up when I first visited him, as if, more than ever, he appreciates what's going on in the outside world. He stays busy with rehab through the week, but it's the weekends when his new world bears down.

The same holds true for 15-year-old freestyle skier Kailyn Forsberg of Eagle, who, in the next room over, was paralyzed from the waist down after breaking her neck throwing a backflip at Copper Mountain. For both, family and friends are key umbilical cords to the lives they once knew and are determined to regain.

At the end of the season, I skied in the STARS Challenge, a benefit for the local nonprofit's efforts to provide recreational opportunities for people with disabilities — people like its program director Craig Kennedy, paralyzed from the waist down after a skiing accident in 1996. As with Chris's and Kailyn's injuries, the cause opened my eyes even further to how lucky we are to have our health, friends and family, and such a great town to call home.

As these, and countless other examples illustrate, accidents like these happen and can change lives in an instant. And to get through them, to recover emotionally, if not physically, takes impenetrable spirit and the support of everyone around you. In short, it takes a village, which is what we have in spades here in Steamboat. In fact, our village is one of the best ones you could ever script.

Proof came in June when we held a fundraising party at Olympian Hall for Chris's rehabilitation efforts. The community turned out in droves, with bands, restaurants, retailers, artists and individuals donating their time, products and services to aid his continued recovery. Capping an end-all silent auction was a raffle for a Moots bicycle, tickets for which sold out in two days. The event also raised home remodeling funds to accommodate Chris's new perspective on life.

Even though this new perspective is now lower to the ground, its messaging is high on hope: Live life to the fullest, don't sweat the small things and appreciate your friends, family and every single moment you have. Our time is preciously short on this earth, so make the most of it and be thankful while you can. It's a lesson I plan to heed whether I'm on the dirt or at my desk, and one you should, too.

--Editor's note: To help with Chris's continued recovery, a Chris Arnis Benefit Fund has been set up at Wells Fargo bank downtown.

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