In late December two Death and Taxes editors ventured to the snowy peaks of Breckenridge, CO and watched some serious snowboarding without seriously snowboarding ourselves (we’re lightweights, all right).

Breckenridge, CO is cold, snowy son-of-a bitch. Luckily, thanks to Mountain Dew, the heat was toasty warm in the stretch limo that carried us from the airport in Denver to our hotel in Breckenridge.

Getting from hotel to the action at the Winter Dew Tour is an adventure in an of itself—in part because the altitude is dizzying. Flying into Denver, you’re at a much higher altitude than you’re used to, but you don’t really notice it unless you start hitting the airport bar pretty aggressively. By the time you get to Breckenridge, just walking up a gentle slope is enough to wind you. By the time you make it from the hotel up the gondola, from the gondola up the chairlift, hiking the rest of the way up to the half-pipe where the action is just about makes you want to barf on your boots. Which makes it all the more incredible that the Dew Tour athletes defy gravity at this altitude, floating off the pipe in the most incredible tricks you can accomplish on a snowboard—in blinding whiteout, no less.

While in Breckenridge we got to see some amazing action courtesy of Amp energy riders like Mason Aguirre, Luke Mitrani, and Olympic Bronze medalist Scotty Lago, all pictured above. Shaun White contemporary Danny Davis was still recovering from a broken back, but he did treat snowboarding fans to a treat on a trio down the half pipe dressed up as a yeti. How could somebody make something so hard look so easy?

A trip highlight came when snowboard veteran Kier Dillon gave us some private lessons. Dillon is the type of teacher who can make you feel great about your snowboarding prowess even when he knows you suck. He’s like Mr. Miyagi with a much better smile.

Without further adieu, top snowboarding tips for those who have yet to hit the slopes:

1) You will fall a lot and it will sometimes hurt but don’t be such a baby about it. You could be in your cubicle.
2) It’s intuitive to lean back while you’re snowboarding—lean forward instead and place pressure on your back foot when you’re turning.
3) Steer with your ankles (trust us, it makes a lot more sense when you’re on the slopes).
4) When learning to snowboard limit your adult beverage intake to under 0.
5) When the going gets tough, the tough have mild panic attacks and flip over. There is such a thing as going to fast as a beginner. Slow down and take in nature’s beauty. And save yourself the trip down the slopes in a stretcher.

The Winter Dew Tour begins in Breckenridge and will continue on to Killington Resort in Killington, Vt. in January and conclude with the Toyota Championship at Snowbasin Resort in Ogden, Utah this February. Stay tuned as Death and Taxes updates throughout February with interviews with the Winter Dew team.