That exclamation point from a young skier was literally the last thing I heard as I took my tools of ignorance off the mountain and into One Ski Hill Place at Breckenridge, at the end of an immensely satisfying day on the slopes.
I didn't really expect to like Breckenridge much at all, and the chill winds of winter were more than enough to remind me of bone-cold days thousands of miles away in Vermont. The wind was wacking the lifts to close down part of the mountain as we got on the lift, and there was nothing in the cards that day to say this was going to be dandy.
And yet... as Chris Meyer, a Breck instructor with many years in the bank, began to take us around and about, it was obvious that this mountain had something special to talk about. Sure, there was wind and some cold, but most of all there was the snow--buckets of it with more to come. Major dumps were in the recent past (two feet plus) with more white stuff to come the next day.
But snow on a bad mountain can't make it good, and Breckenridge has the advantage of being laid out as if a Swiss watchmaker were the unseen hand. I didn't seen an awkward traverse all morning, and there seemed to be logic and aforethought to the design of just about every run compared to some of its neighbors in Colorado.
There was also what I would call the Breckenridge spirit to consider. This is not a mountain town for the weak of spirit, not with conditions that bespeak New England. But that means Breck attracts people like Chris--people of character (or just plain characters) who are willing to hunker down in anticipation of greater rewards.
It just so happens the skies cleared around noon and Breckenridge was there for the taking under almost ideal conditions. As I grabbed my skis and headed west, I was too old to exclaim the name of Breckenridge out loud. Sometimes a child, in her wisdom, can say more than a man ever could.