The Official Summit County Survival Guide


Photo courtesy Copper Mountain, Words by Brother Nathaniel 14:13

Snowboarding in Colorado is really expensive, and resort life will break your bank. The average cost of a one day lift ticket from 9am-4pm is $99. If you want to eat while at the resort I suggest you pack a lunch, unless another $14 for a burger and $6 for a beer is in your budget. If you want a snack, that Clif bar is $4. To some people and families, a snowboard trip to Summit County is no different then their last Disney World extravaganza. Be prepared to pay before you slay. Pay for all of your gear, pay to park, pay to ride, pay to eat, pay for pictures, and pay to be enforced by ski patrol. At some places you actually pay for air to breathe. The irony is, because snowboarding is so damn fun, you do this multiple times a day while being herded through cattle gates onto the next attraction without a second thought. Resorts in Summit and all over the world have thrived on this system for years, but in that time enough kids have figured some shit out. The higher the prices go the more motivated they are to get over on the system.

This guide is not for everyone. If you have money, there are plenty of places in Summit County to go spend it at, but it seems that the majority of snowboarders living in Summit County have below average incomes, affording them to live ten-deep in a two-bedroom apartment while maintaining unstable, seasonal jobs. These are not lazy people, they are not criminal miscreants, they are just motivated to to continue snowboarding by any means necessary. One can easily tell a Summit County snowboarder that there are better paying jobs in other places and it is likely they are qualified to do whatever work that is, but then you would be crushing the daunting dreams of fresh powder and snowboarding every day with their buds in snow filled resorts located right in their backyard…

The over priced epidemic has spread beyond the resorts. The SubWay $5 footlong is actually $6 in Summit County. Gas can be up to a dollar more than anywhere else in the state when you are stuck in Summit County. Take warning, but do not let this get in the way of your mountain living dreams. Where there is a will, there is a way – after all, aside from snowboarding, there are only a few other things that really matter to Survival in Summit County, and below those questions will be answered!

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Yobeat does not condone clipping tickets. Shit like this is worth the scratch. Photo courtesy Copper Mountain. 

Free/Cheap Lift tickets:

Volunteer. Of all the resorts, Copper Mountain is the most relaxed with their volunteer program. It requires only 12 volunteer days (which you choose) during the entire season for their events. Copper Mountain immediately hands you a season pass the day you sign up. Some unscrupulous people fly under the radar the whole season with a free pass, without having to actually volunteer, but if you want to keep your conscience clear, volunteering 4-6 hours per scheduled day while pointing olympic hopefuls to the half pipe or monitoring boardercross gates will earn you a free pass for the entire season (without blackout dates.) Volunteering opens another “door to a deal;” once you are a volunteer you are treated like an employee of the resort. As an employee* of the resort you are granted the privilege to eat at the employee cafeteria – which is filled with all the same wonderful food as the resort cafeteria for a fraction of resort cost.

*note if you work for the resort and earn a season pass as part of your employee package, expect to be told of black out dates when you will not be welcome to attend the resort due to a high volume of tourists.

Keystone and Breckenridge have volunteer programs, but I have not fucked with them, they’re a little more strict, there’s actual cops at those resorts, and volunteering at one place is enough…

Clip tickets. This is a good way to get in a lot of trouble, but where there is risk there is reward. Head to the resort of your choice a few hours after enough people have woken up at 9 am to “hit the slopes and get first chair.” Do not forget to bring your scissors, or be prepared to awkwardly borrow a pair from the ticket office (AWKWARD!) Once the afternoon breaks there are bound to be bummed moms, cranky kids, sore dads, and tired elderly folks that “just cannot keep up with the altitude.” These people will seek refuge in the comfort of the nearest chalet/lodge. That dangling lift ticket from their Columbia jacket is no longer important to them. With a smile and some confidence, all you need to do is ask and their ticket now becomes yours. Fuck, I knew a dude that would just wait outside the ski-patrol medical center to get previously used tickets off the unfortunately injured.

“Green Pass.” This is nothing new, but collect whatever weed remnants/blunt guts you have off the coffee table and contain it. Observe the lift line for an employee that seems “down” for the cause and offer them the deal they cannot refuse. After all, observing lines of tourists having fun kinda sucks. Wouldn’t that job be better on weed? Offering a pinch of weed for a seat on the chairlift will only benefit both parties, and get both of you through that bluebird day.


Pizza and beer

Luigi’s in Breckenridge offers the finest pizza slices/pies in all of Colorado. Providing folks with a place to belly up to the bar for the rest of the night in their soggy snowboard gear. No need to waste your time anywhere else, no other slice is comparable. Pizza and drinks are available from 11am – 2:30 am every day. While the ingredients are piled high, the prices still remain low. Luigi’s hosts movie nights, video premieres, parties, and functions as a normal sit down restaurant during the day. A “local discount” goes without saying, however for one month out of the season, Luigi’s has been known to offer FREE BEER to townies for the entire month or until they can no longer function as a human.


Proper pies abound. 



Blue Dreamin’

Marijuana is legal to enjoy in Colorado. Barter with your friends for your favorite flavor or go to a dispensary to sample a variety of names and strains you’ve never heard of. If you go the dispensary route, the staff at High Country Healing will help get you lifted affordably. Keep your cool while smelling the buds. Asking “is this legal?” or “can I mail this to a friend?” will guarantee to not get you that locals discount on an eighth. If you are vacationing and purchase too much pot and need to catch a plane, use the “free” section on Craigslist to easily liquidate your supply.

Food and groceries


La Perla is your one stop shop with fresh ethnic food made to order in a casual dining environment/carniceria. Located just on the outskirts of Summit County, this hidden gem will solve a lot of dilemmas and keep you coming back. This Mexican restaurant, tax center, toy store, currency exchange, butcher shop, grocery store is as real of a deal as it can get for the economically conscience mountain man/woman. In the same location you can eat authentic Mexican food at normal prices, call anywhere in Mexico, smash a piñata, get all of your groceries, store your belongings at the neighboring facility, and even have your income taxes done legally.


All your needs in one place!

Everything on their menu is heavy with flavor, incredible and affordable. 4 tacos for $7 , all the food rules.


Mmm, Mexican wrestler statues!

The only other place to find “street tacos” just as unique/delicious is 90 miles away in Steamboat Springs at a taco stand named Tacos Del Barco, which is located in a little shack next to the Space Station gas station. Jerk chicken tacos are a delight.


5 replies
  1. mom
    mom says:

    also don’t forget to pack a lunch sweetie you will probably get hungry while waiting in the lift lines.

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