by Paul Maraschiello


It was a beautiful sunny, warm day. A perfect day for skiing. Although there were weekend crowds, they didn't bother me. The wait at the chairlift was minimal and I reduced them even more by taking advantage of the "singles" lift line. When I got to the top, the view was breath taking.

I never seem to ski Colorado when they are having 3 feet of blow-away powder. They had good coverage and what I would call excellent "Eastern" conditions. There were plenty of groomed trails for high-speed cruising and enough bump runs to satisfy any mogul maniac. Of course skiing the moguls was easy, their moguls were made of soft snow, not the hard icy mogul I got used to on Superstar at Killington.

I have skied Breckenridge a number of times in the past, so I was familiar with it. I had a great time skiing the cruisers on Peak 8 and sampling the bump runs too. My first run was just a warm up down Duke's Run. The next run I took was a cruiser down North star. After that, I went looking to a few bumps and hit Little Jonny. The moguls were just the way I like them, soft and not too big. Next, I took a ride up the Colorado Spruce Chair and explored some of the trails that ran under that chair. Callies had a few bumps on it and it was a fun run. I tried to work my way over to Peak 9 and wound up at the midway loading station on the Snowflake chair. The line wasn't moving, so I hiked up to Four O'Clock. I thought I could take that trail back down to the bottom of Snowflake but I would up on Park Ave. waiting for a BUS (I only think I know Breck). It wasn't big deal. The busses run every few minuted and I was back at the base of Peak 8 in a short time.

I spent the rest of the day skiing everything Peak 8 and Peak 9 had to offer. I made my way to Chair 4 and did Southern Cross and Psychopath Gully.

I had a great lunch at the restaurant at the top of the mountain and then went to the halfpipe to see who would win a slot at the X-Games. They were having a skier halfpipe competition that was awesome. The competitors would come down the pipe and pull tricks that only snowboarders could do just a few years ago. Lots of these crazy skiers did inverted tricks and the competition was keen.

I wound up spending a couple of days skiing Breckenridge and hit almost all of their trails from Peak 8 to Peak 10. I skied the bump runs on Peak 9 and those fed by Chair 4. I skied in the trees and had a great time skiing this world-class mountain.

My host, Wild Bill met me the second day and we systematically explored the entire mountain. He usually skis Copper and he wanted to become more familiar with Breckenridge. We started at Peak 8 and worked out way all the way over to Peak 10. We skied long cruisers, bumps and trees. We found the bumps on Tiger and went up Chair 4 to pick up Chair 6. We went down East Snowbird then Middle Snowbird and finally No Name. I think we found every rock that was hidden in between the bumps on those runs. It was a blast skiing with Wild Bill. He's a good skier and doesn't let any grass grow under his skis. We churned up a lot of vertical miles that day, working our way over to Peak 10. We hit Centennial, Doublejack and even went down Cimarron but we passed on The Burn. It looked shiny and there were rocks and stumps showing. After that, we worked our way back to Peak 8 where we had started.

At the end of the day, I was all skied out but I was not too tired to walk around the town. I have always liked the town of Breckenridge. It is an authentic Western town that has not lost it's character now that saloons and brothels of this mining town have been replaced by up-scale boutiques, ski shops and trendy restaurants. I had a cup of coffee at a little coffee shop on the main street. I enjoyed sipping the fragrant brew and just sitting and watching the world go by. I must have been really tired. I can't imagine why.

That following Sunday, I was back at Breckenridge. I wasn't there to ski but to cover the U.S. Snowboard press conference. I got there early (actually the press conference started late).

The former FIS World Cup halfpipe champion Tricia Byrnes from New Canaan, CT secured the final women's spot on the 2002 Olympic Team Sunday. She beat out her good friend Gretchen Bleiler. Tommy Czeschin who hales from Mammoth Lakes, CA sported a great "ski instructor" tan landed a spot on the team, as well as and Danny Kass who was having a "bad hair day" and kept his hat on (with the ear flaps down) throughout the press conference. Tricia dressed up for the occasion, flaunting a purple feather boa.

Ex-world junior pipe champion Kelly Clark won her third consecutive Grand Prix that day and picked up another $10,000. She was pretty mellow and really stocked to be going to Salt Lake. She is the gal in the ski hat in the group shot.

Shannon Dunn from Carnelian Bay, CA look beautiful as she told the reporters how stoked she was at being able to represent the USA at the Olympics. She is an attractive, articulate young lady and a very talented athlete.

There was a really sumptuous buffet with all kinds of good things to eat at this event. There were a couple of ski bums in attendance to carve up the roast turkey and ham for the turkeys and hams who were there. After wining and dining at the press conference, I headed back to Leadville. I was tired from a full day of skiing, full from all the free food and just a little impressed by my first U.S. Snowboard press conference.