Breck couple living the good life |

Breck couple living the good life

Jane Stebbins
Summit Daily/Jane StebbinsJoan and Al Lorber - and their golden retriever Monty the Maniac - moved to Summit County in 1992 to ski, and they haven't slowed down yet.

BRECKENRIDGE – Joan and Al Lorber live to ski. Or snowshoe. Or camp and travel and play softball and bike.

So it’s little wonder they moved to Summit County 11 years ago.

The Breckenridge couple were both born in Brooklyn, N.Y., moved to various boroughs growing up, but never met each other until on a ski vacation in Vermont.

“It was one of those horrible, cold, raining Vermont days,” Joan said. “No one was skiing but Al.”

He did take a break, however, and that’s when he spied Joan, reading in the lodge. Neither being the quiet sort, the two struck up a conversation that has kept them together for the past 29 years.

Joan, a Hofstra University and Queens College graduate, worked as a middle and elementary school teacher for 18 years in New York City. Her favorite aspect of the work was helping students whose reading and math skills were so limited they were on the verge of falling behind.

Al spent 30 years doing restoration work on the outsides of high-rise buildings, including the top three floors of the 110-story World Trade Center.

“It gave me a feeling of freedom,” he said of the work. “I’m a real outdoor person. It was peaceful and quiet, away from typical New York.”

He learned how to ski when he was 24, ultimately buying a share of a ski house in Mount Snow, Vt. And every weekend from Thanksgiving to April, the two would drive the 500-mile round trip to hit the slopes.

After they married – five months after they met – they moved to Forest Hills in Queens, then to the “more countrified” Staten Island. After a dozen years there, they moved to New Brunswick, N.J. And each day, they’d drive over the Verrazano Bridge to work, and every winter weekend to Vermont to ski.

“I own that bridge,” Joan said, laughing and pointing at the bridge on TV over which thousands of runners were racing in Sunday’s New York Marathon. “I drove over it so many times. Do you know how many tolls I paid?”

Joan took a teaching sabbatical in 1992, and Al was having trouble with non-unionized employees at work, so the two decided to take the advice of a friend and check out Breckenridge.

Within a week, they were sold, and returned home, put their house on the market, retired and moved to Colorado.

“And I haven’t stepped into a classroom ever since,” Joan said.

They first moved to Wildernest, but later bought a home in French Creek outside Breckenridge so they could be in a neighborhood that had more year-round residents.

The two never had children – “We never had time,” Joan said. “Too much sports,” Al said.

Now, the two work at the Breckenridge Ski Resort, she as the assistant manager for ticket sales and he in his seventh year as a ski instructor. When they’re not working, they’re on the slopes, or cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Summers finds them traveling with their dog, Monty – named after Vermont, where they met – biking and hiking.

Al also resumed his hockey, playing with the resort’s ski patrol team.

“It’s been great,” Al said of their time in Summit County. “We couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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