Lauren Pierpoint & Justin Hellwinkel

Saturday, March 23, 2019

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Nothing says Steamboat more than a group in full wedding attire skiing down the slopes of Mount Werner, and that’s exactly what happened following the wedding of Lauren Pierpoint and Justin Hellwinkel in early 2019.

Lauren and Justin, both avid skiers, met at CU Boulder in 2010, and started dating in 2016 while Justin was attending the University of Colorado Medical School and Lauren was getting her doctorate at UC Denver. On a weekend ski trip to Crested Butte, Justin popped the question. “He completely surprised me,” Lauren says. “We were there with all of our closest friends, but I assumed it was just a normal ski weekend.”

Both huge fans of Steamboat – and its ski slopes – the couple settled on a late-March wedding at the Steamboat Ski Area.

Lauren’s maid of honor had once lived in Steamboat and been a member of ski patrol, so she suggested they use Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill for the rehearsal dinner. “Everybody loved it!” Lauren says.

Guests and members of the wedding party stayed at the Steamboat Grand at the base of the ski area the night before the wedding. The wedding day began with Lauren and her bridesmaids getting their hair and makeup done with a full view of the mountain right outside their windows.

Meanwhile, Justin and his groomsmen hit the mountain for some pre-wedding skiing. “He had basically one rule, which was, ‘Don’t break your legs,’” Lauren says, laughing. She wasn’t really worried, though. “He’s an extremely talented skier,” she says.

Once the wedding party was ready, they rode to the top of the gondola for a photo shoot with Travis and Jenna of Garner & Co Photography. “Travis did a great job, and so did Jenna,” Lauren says. “By then the clouds had cleared, and it was an amazing view and an amazing day. There was a lot of smiling involved.”

The couple’s 104 guests rode the gondola to the wedding ceremony, which took place on the deck outside the Champagne Powder Room. “We started the ceremony, and the views – god, it was so amazing,” Lauren says.

After saying “I do,” it was time for the wedding party to hit the slopes. “Nobody changed – we just put on our ski boots and went,” Lauren says. “Steamboat groomed the run just for us, the temperature was amazing, and we had this awesome corduroy. We planned it with Travis Garner and took a lap with him and went to all the spots we thought would be good to shoot photos. There’s one of us standing on a rock with like a 20-foot drop on the other side, and Justin’s just picking me up and swinging me around.”

“It’s not hard at all to ski in a dress,” Lauren adds. “I cut up some sweatpants and put them over my boots to keep the dress from getting caught on them.”

After their ski run, the couple enjoyed a moment of peace and privacy as they rode the gondola back up to the reception. “It was a little intimate moment between the two of us,” Lauren says.

The wedding party entered the Champagne Powder Room with style, as the song “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce played. “It’s incredible the way they transform the Champagne Powder Room into a reception area,” Lauren says. Festivities lasted late into the night.

Lauren and Justin worked with Alex Mathison of SoulSpark Events Rachel Radetsky at the Steamboat Ski Area to plan their wedding. “Alex made everything very, very easy,” Lauren recalls. “There were a lot of things where we thought, ‘We can totally do that,’ and it turns out, we couldn’t. She was always on time, and kept us on time. I don’t know how she does it. She was calm and totally cool, and explained everything that was going to happen. She had suggestions for what would and wouldn’t work, but it still felt very much like our wedding.”

The couple planned a heli-skiing honeymoon in British Columbia on their one-year anniversary. Fittingly, their wedding registry consisted of ski gear for that trip.

Lauren finished her doctorate in epidemiology and Justin finished his residency – both in 2019 – and Justin is in residency at Columbia University until 2024. “We want to move to Steamboat someday and live there,” Lauren says. The couple’s quiet gondola ride following their wedding, looking out over the town they might someday live in, might just have inspired that plan.

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Photographer: Garner & Co. Photography
Venue: Champagne Powder Room at the Steamboat Ski Area
Wedding Planner: SoulSpark Events
Lodging: Steamboat Grand