Helpful Hints for a Breckenridge Vacation

Tips from Ski Experts

Vacation Tips from A Breckenridge Ski Rental Expert

I have heard a lot about the effects of altitude in places such as Breckenridge. How serious is it?
Our “rare air” here in Breckenridge Colorado provides less oxygen and can cause symptoms as slight as a headache but can include nausea, unusual tiredness and trouble sleeping but can become more severe. These usually go away in a day or two but for some people can worsen to the point of requiring medical attention. One of the major contributors to this phenomenon is dehydration.

The climate in the High Country (Breckenridge and Keystone) is extremely dry. Starting to drink 3-4 times your daily intake of water even before you leave home for a vacation to Breckenridge is a great start. Continue to do this the entire duration of your visit here in Colorado. Alcohol, caffeine and salty foods can further dehydrate. You should avoid or reduce your consumption of all of these for at least the first couple of days at altitude. Get plenty of rest before and during your stay. Don’t overdo it! Your heart is working harder at this altitude so quit while you’re ahead if you are tired. Eat foods higher in carbohydrates as your body can burn those calories more readily. If you follow these basic suggestions you should have a much better chance at avoiding any problems with the altitude while you're vacationing in Breckenridge.

Make sure you are dressed properly to ski in Colorado.
Temperatures and conditions can change drastically and quickly when you're skiing Breckenridge, so always be prepared with extra layers of clothing that you can add or subtract as needed.  A good phrase to remember is “Cotton is rotten.” Cotton does not “wick,” meaning that it does not pull moisture such as perspiration away from your body. This can cause you to lose a significant amount of body heat and even on a fairly warm day this can cause you to become cold in a very short period of time. Synthetic or natural fibers such as wool are your best bet if you're on a ski vacation. Wear a thin base layer made from polypropylene followed by a mid-layer of micro-fleece or a mid-weight fleece with a weatherproof outer shell as your outer layer.

Socks are extremely important when skiing and boarding.
Again, cotton should be avoided at all costs while skiing or riding or you risk losing much of your day warming up inside. Wool or synthetic socks wick the moisture away from your skin and keep you warm and dry. Most of your body heat is lost through the head. Fleece is one of the best materials to keep you warm when skiing and it does not itch like wool. A great option is a wool hat with a fleece ear band built into the liner of the hat. Even better than that is a helmet as it not only helps to keep you warm but protects you at the same time.  We can help you pick out a great pair of socks when you come in to rent skis in Breckenridge.

Good gloves are critical for a great ski day. 
Your hands are very vulnerable when exposed and a quality waterproof pair will make a huge difference on a ski vacation. Neck gators and hand and toe warmers are great ski accessories to carry with you as well. Always wear sunglasses or goggles to protect against snow blindness. Peak Ski and Bike sells a full line of ski accessories at the Breckenridge ski shop locations.

Sunscreen is a must in Breckenridge.
You will be exposed to 300% more UV rays at 9,000 ft. of elevation than at sea level.  Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater, even on cloudy days.  You can pick up a travel size tube of sunscreen in our Breckenridge CO ski shop before you head out for the day - keep it in your pocket and reapply frequently.  Don't forget chapstick with sunscreen for your lips, which can get dry, chapped and sunburnt if not cared for property at altitude.  

Take the time to make sure your ski rental gear is right for YOU!

Rental Boots -
Getting a rental ski boot that does not fit properly or skis that are the wrong size for you can really make for a bad ski vacation. The Breckenridge ski shop professionals at Peak Ski and Bike are trained to ask the right questions so they can fit you correctly. Frequently skiers and riders want what we call the “Slipper Fit,” which is where the guest feels that the boot should feel as comfortable as a nice slipper. This is not necessarily a good thing. Ski boots are meant to fit snugly, in order to provide you with the best performance and control, but not pinch anywhere. Your toes should be at the end of the boot and the rest of the boot should conform to your foot.

If the boot is too loose you will have difficulty controlling your skis or snowboard rental, which can be dangerous. You are also more likely to get blisters as a loose boot allows you to slide around inside and cause rubbing.  You are the one with your foot in the boot. We cannot tell if there is something wrong unless you tell us. Do not hesitate to let us know if something does not feel right when you are at the shop and we will be happy to take care of it before you head out to the hill.

Often times the problem is not with your feet. Difficulties are frequently caused by the wrong sock, wrinkles in the sock or stuffing clothing inside the boot. Remember that you lean forward into the boot while you are skiing. Since you put pressure on your shin any crease or lump can cause pinching or rubbing. To avoid this problem you want to keep only your long johns inside the boot and they must be perfectly smooth. All other clothing should be kept just above the boot. This will help to prevent a number of problems before they occur.

Rental Skis and Snowboards –
Having the correct size ski or snowboard rental package is also extremely important. Too long and you could go faster than you would like as well as have difficulty turning and controlling them due to additional weight. Too short is not as critical but if you tend to ski faster you may have a hard time keeping the wobble out of the skis. Beginners should have rental skis that come up to about their chin. Intermediates get rental skis up to their nose. Experts should have skis up to the forehead or top of head. Beginner snowboarders should have rental equipment that comes to just below the chin, intermediates need a board just above the chin and expert riders want a snowboard around their nose. As with skis, too long and you go faster and the extra weight of the equipment makes it difficult to turn. Too short and the boards can get squirrelly at higher speeds. Our experienced techs are happy to take the time to make sure your rental equipment package is the perfect fit for your needs. 

Should I take a ski lesson?
First time skiers and boarders are strongly encouraged to take a lesson with a professional instructor. Chances are very good that a quality instructor will be able to ease any apprehension you may have about the sport and dramatically shorten your learning curve. This will greatly improve your enjoyment on the hill and may very well determine if a newcomer will want to stay with the sport. We want you to have a blast and come back year after year. The few dollars and hours you invest in a lesson will more than pay off in the long run. Even experienced snow sports enthusiasts can benefit from a lesson. Learn more about the mountain, perfect your form or even learn a trick or two.

Just because you are good doesn’t mean you can’t be great.
You can find the ski area where you will be vacationing on-line to get a schedule of when you need to meet for their ski school. It is a great idea to get this information ahead of time so you know when and where to be. Reservations are generally only accepted for children. Adults are accepted on a walk-in basis only. We recommend that you pick up your rental equipment after 3 pm the day before your lessons as they typically start early in the morning, which is usually the busiest rental period, and it can be difficult to get your entire family dressed, get fit with your equipment and make it to the slopes on time. Plus it is nice to have a relaxing morning as you get ready to go play.

A helpful hint to SAVE MONEY!
When you reserve your ski lesson time they are going to try to sell you on ski rental equipment as well. They will reduce the equipment rental rate from their original price but the simple fact is we will still be less expensive and you will still get great gear for enjoying the mountain.  Save even more and book your Breckenridge ski rentals ahead of time online.

I have heard that a lot of people are wearing helmets when they ski these days. Should I wear one? Do you rent and/or sell them?
The mountains have become increasingly crowded in recent years. Being a great skier does not mean you cannot get hurt out there. Skier-to-skier contact is the single largest cause of injury on the mountain. Snow-riders are recognizing this more and more and there are not many people on the hill anymore that do not wear a helmet. Every one of the skiers and riders working for Peak Ski and Bike wears one when they are on the hill. We strongly encourage you, and in particular your children and any beginners, to wear a helmet, not only to protect from injury but it is also a great way to stay warm. Ultimately a helmet feels about the same as wearing a hat so comfort is not a concern. All of our Peak Ski and Bike stores have both children’s and adult ski helmets for rent or purchase. You can book a ski helmet rental while you are reserving your ski or snowboard rentals.

Can you tell me the difference between strap and step-in snowboard bindings?
Strap snowboard bindings use a strap and buckle system to hold your feet to the board and use a softer boot. This contact with the board is what gives you the control to maneuver properly down the mountain. These are not as quick as getting into a step-in binding, but the boot-to-board contact is superior and you will have better control while riding. Step-in bindings require you to have the boot lined up perfectly with the binding in order to be able to lock in, which can be difficult unless you are on a relatively flat surface. It can also be difficult to see what you are doing as the contact points are generally somewhat small. The benefits of step-ins are that you do not typically need to sit on the ground to get into them and they are faster once you have gotten familiar with getting into and out of them.

What are my options for lodging in Breckenridge?
Very often condominiums, town homes and houses are privately owned but operated by a property management company that handles sales, reservations, housekeeping and maintenance for the owner. Often times several different management companies offer rentals in the same complex. There are occasions where a company that is not even located in that town takes reservations for those complexes. Peak Ski and Bike is one of the largest companies in each of our markets and we have reservation departments in the resort where you want to be. From hotel style rooms to nine bedroom homes, Peak Ski and Bike can help you find the perfect Breckenridge lodging for you at some of the best resort locations. You can go to to start searching for ski lodging now.

Will I need a vehicle while I am staying with you?
Shuttle services are available from all of the airports that service each of the resorts where we are found. Most of these resort towns also have excellent free bus or shuttle services available to get you around while you are here. Plus you are generally looking at no more than a 10 minute walk to get from one side of town to the other. Unless you need to travel outside of the town where you are staying a rental car is usually not necessary. At some resorts there are options to take you to other ski areas for a small fee. With the limited parking you will find it easier to utilize the busses and shuttles. If you plan on going to a variety or resorts to ski or ride while you are here then a rental car is recommended.  Our ski shops in Breckenridge are located right on the hill in ski-in locations, and also a short walk to downtown.  If you rent skis with Peak Ski and Bike, you have the most convenient locations in Breckenridge.

Everything mentioned here can be found at your destination resort and it is probably going to be cheaper than at home as a lot of competition helps to keep the prices down. Each of the Peak Ski and Bike shops in Breckenridge carry most of what you will need so you can take care of everything at one location and can save time and money to help better enjoy your vacation.


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