With 40 inches of fresh powder and another major snow storm on the way, Breckenridge Ski Resort is experiencing epic conditions this season. So if watching the slalom or snowboarding at the Sochi Olympic Games leaves you determined to hit the slopes yourself, head to this locally revered resort in Colorado’s high country and get ready to shred.
This year the resort unveiled 543 acres of new terrain know as Peak 6 – to go along with Peaks 7, 8, 9 and 10, which are all linked by trails and lifts. Peak 6 features advanced intermediate and expert terrain only, including the fantastic Beyond Bowl off the Kensho chair.
When I visited Breck in January we toasted the god of snow during the town’s signature event, the week long Ullr Fest. We did this in part by setting the world record for the longest “shotski” at 973-feet and 666 shots of Schnapps, and the Norse god has been returning the love ever since, dumping 7.5-feet of snow since Jan. 9, as of this writing.
With North America’s highest airlift, the Imperial Express — which takes riders to the mountain’s 12,840-foot summit — Breck boasts awesome spring snow conditions and one of the longest seasons in the country. They don’t close until April 20. A month-long Spring Fever Festival includes a concert series, beerfest and more, making late March and April especially fun times to ride. Plus with fewer tourists, you’ll have more of the runs to yourself and rental prices start to drop, making it a value time for vacationers.
More than a century before being named one of America’s best ski resorts, Breckenridge was making a name for itself as a rip-roaring silver mining town complete with brothels, saloons and Wild West shoot-outs in the streets. Many of the Victorian-style buildings lining Main Street today are the 19th-century originals, and although the brothels have closed, Breckenridge has never shaken off the hard partying reputation. From the very hip Absinthe Bar to the old-school Gold Pan Saloon, Main Street offers something for everyone.
From easy greens to double-black back bowls, Breckenridge has 2,908 acres of ski-able terrain spread across five peaks and 187 trails. Peak 10 is my favorite playground, and usually the least crowded, although on a powder day I absolutely love Duke’s Run on Peak 7.
If you’re not into riding downhill hooked into one or two pieces of waxed plastic, Breckenridge still entices. From dog sledding to winter zip lining to cross-country skiing, there are plenty of other outdoor activities.
There is no reason not to drink local while in Breck, which hosts both a brewery and a distillery. Especially since Breckenridge Brewery makes my all-time favorite IPA — Breckenridge 471, which is barrel aged in bourbon barrels from the Breckenridge Distillery. The distillery hosted the Ullr shotski event, where 666 people simultaneously downed shots of schnapps from 219 linked skis.
Boasting four terrain parks and two half pipes, Breckenridge is a freestyler’s snow dream. The mountain is famous for having the world’s best half pipes and parks. It continues to raise the bar in the terrain-park game, building new jumps, rails and other obstacles each season with creative abandon.
When strolling through the many unique shops along Breckenridge’s historic Main Street keep an eye out for the “Made in Breck” labels. This town loves its small businesses and local artists and you’ll find everything from children’t bicycles made from reclaimed beetle kill wood, to jewelry, soaps, candles and my personal favorite, this waterproof chocolate bar wrapped in wax, featured in the photo above.
Breck is a year-round resort. In summer there is a slew of wacky festivals and the town was chosen as the finish line for the 2014 USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Aug. 22. This fall, Breck celebrates the 20th anniversary of its wildly run Oktoberfest (Sept. 12-14), one of the largest in the Rocky Mountain region. Fall also brings the Breckenridge Film Festival (Sept. 18-21) and the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival in early October.