If you are looking for a resort with a polished finish, high in the Colorado Rockies, Breckenridge may be for you. Manicured slopes, stunning backdrops, great customer service and well oiled, established infrastructure make this resort a dream to visit. Breckenridge has found a way to combine a world class ski resort with a very comfortable place to be.
Breckenridge – or Breck as the aficionados call it – was Colorado’s first ski resort to allow snowboarders on the slopes and back in 1986 was the site of the World Snowboarding Championships. The resort continues to showcase its commitment to freestyle riding and snowboarding and as a result, has become a Mecca for terrain park junkies. It flirts with making our annual list of the best family ski resorts just about every year.
Breckenridge town is also a big draw because, rather than being a purpose built ski village it retains the atmosphere of an old west town, and can trace its roots back to the 1850’s when it was built to house miners for the gold rush. As such, it features many colorful Victorian buildings that highlight this appealing history.
Where is Breckenridge
Breckenridge is in Summit County, 80 miles (129km) west of Denver. There are many ski resorts concentrated in this area just a little further up I-70, including Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Copper Mountain and Vail / Beaver Creek.
The main gateway airport is Denver International Airport, which is 104 miles (166km) away. The road trip takes around two hours depending on traffic on the I-70. A car, however, is necessary once at Breckenridge and there are numerous transport shuttle services from the airport as well.
Most of Breckenridge is easily walkable. Plus, there are free buses, both in town and to other nearby ski resorts. The BreckConnect gondola helps to connect part of the town to the Peak 7 and 8 base areas.
Breckenridge’s terrain is served by a 31-lift system including fast lifts. It covers four mountain peaks and these provide 2,358 acres (954 hectares) for skiing and snowboarding, makes it Colorado’s seventh largest ski resort.
The terrain is varied enough for all levels of ability. Many of the trails are rated green and blue, so novices and intermediates will be kept very happy. A good proportion of the black runs have been groomed, so these can be tackled confidently by intermediates. The variety of terrain means advanced and expert riders can also enjoy tree skiing, moguls, and alpine bowls. This is a good place to use an all-mountain ski, so you can try a little bit of everything.
Breckenridge has separate pipes and terrain parks for a whole gamut of ability levels where it comes to snowboarding. This enables enthusiasts to more easily progress from novice right up to pro level. It can be a bit demoralizing though, when the expert terrain park is discovered too early, as the pros are often way too impressive to watch as they work through a run. Thanks to its atmosphere and facilities, Breckenridge is among North America’s most popular ski resorts.
This is further stoked by the fact the Breckenridge ski resort has an average 300 inches (7.6 meters) of snow each season. To ensure this is maintained the resort also boasts 380 snowmaking guns that can cover 24% of the mountain if need be.
Because of the height of the resort the snow quality is generally excellent. The base measures 2,927 meters, and the top of the skiing area is as high as 3,963 meters (12,998 feet). The panoramic views afforded from this height will take your breath away.
Along with being well catered for in terms of places to eat and drink, Breckenridge has plenty of shops to serve your needs. And if that is not enough for a day off the slopes then there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. These include cross country skiing, dog sledding for the entire family, historical tours and museum visits, hot air balloon rides, fly fishing, ice skating on Maggie Pond or on the two town ice rinks and even gold mine tours in the town’s authentic 100-year-old gold mine.
There are also opportunities for golf, hiking and mountain biking. Downtown visitors can explore Breckenridge attractions such as the Arapahoe Basin, which stays open until early June and sometimes early July, when other similar facilities close in April. There is also the Alpine Slide at Peak 8 and the Summit Historical Society.
Staying In Breckenridge
Breckenridge has a broad range of accommodation for a variety of visitors. It’s possible to choose lodgings to suit almost any budget.
Unlike a lot of ski resorts many of the Breckenridge lodging options fall into the budget category. So, if you cannot afford a luxury vacation home there are other condos, bed and breakfasts, hotels and even dorm rooms to choose from. The VRBO options in Breck are excellent, and tend to be comprised of condos and townhomes.
Most accommodations in Breckenridge town tend to be close to one of the many free bus stops. There are also lodgings further up the mountain which offer the convenience of ski-in, ski-out access. The hub of activity is in town. If you are looking to stay in a hotel the Marriott’s Mountain Valley Lodge at Breckenridge is a great option.
This resort offers spacious villas with kitchens, private balconies, free Wi-Fi access, and separate areas for sleeping, living and dining. The hotel also has a fitness center, a whirlpool and a heated outdoor swimming pool.
Paul Miller is the Founder of Family Skier. He is an advanced skier and has extensive experience with family travel and ski schools. An accomplished skier, he has skied in 15 states and provinces and 6 countries. In addition to FamilySkier, his writing can be found on many ski-related websites, and as curriculum for many ski clubs in North America.