Breck’s old guard keeps the early morning dream alive | SummitDaily.com
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Breck’s old guard keeps the early morning dream alive

BRECKENRIDGE – “We do more before 8 a.m. than most people do all day.”

No, this is not about the war in Iraq. This is about the town of Breckenridge’s old guard and its battle to stay fit through middle age.

The slogan – once a recruiting motto for the U.S. Armed Forces – is occasionally bellowed atop Peak 8 just after daybreak by people like Town Manager Tim Gagen, Town Councilmember Larry Crispell, local media celebrity Jeffrey Bergeron, newspaperman Jim Pokrandt, physician Craig Perrinjaquet and dentist John Warner.



They are part of a group of about 20 longtime locals who have cultivated the habit of telemarking up Peak 8 and skiing down before the lifts open on most winter mornings.

“It’s a lot of the older vanguard,” said Bergeron, “the people that have been here for a long time. It’s a good way to get exercise before you do anything else.”



They set out in waves of three or four with their dogs between 5:30 and 7 a.m. Some days they turn around at the Vista Haus, other times they reach the patrol hut at the top of the T-Bar. The round-trip takes about an hour.

On any given day during ski season, at least part of the group is there. The die-hards do it five days a week.

“For me it’s kind of spiritual,” Warner said. “The climb is very meditative, contemplative. Then, the ski down is just plain old fun. So it’s a good thing.”

On the clear mornings – this group goes up snow or shine – the sunrise over Baldy Mountain is a highlight.

“You just don’t really get strong sunrises in the valley,” Crispell said. “But when you’re climbing Peak 8, you get beautiful sunrises.”

The other reward is the ski down. Ski patrol asks the early risers to stay out of Horseshoe Bowl. Instead, they ski down the Four O’ Clock flank, basically down the route they climbed. Then they have the pick of the lower runs. And the snow is always pristine.

“Everyone is really respectful of the patrol and the ski area situation,” Bergeron said.

The group hasn’t changed much over the years, although new faces occasionally do break in. As Crispell says, anyone is welcome.

“I don’t think anybody is dropping out. I just see more people all the time enjoying it.”

But there’s little danger of it becoming too popular of an endeavor. After all, said Bergeron, “there’s not that many new faces who are willing to get up at 5:30 to hike up the mountain.”

The Sports People series will focus on active Summit Countians every Tuesday in the Summit Daily.


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