A view of Breckenridge
For every serious skier/rider a trip to the Rocky Mountain is a must, Breckenridge is a great place to get your feet wet. With over 150 trails, over 3300 feet of vertical drop, and an average of 300 inches of fresh stuff every year “Breck” offers challenges to every level of skier/rider. Although it has a reputation as a beginner/intermediate level mountain ‘Breck’ still offers 722 acres of bowl skiing and 36% of the trails are expert level.
For the beginner or intermediate skier/rider ‘Breck’ has great options for wide open cruiser runs accessed from the ‘Peak 8 Base’ using the ‘Colorado’ or ‘Rocky Mountain Super Chairs’. The runs accessible from these lifts are of a modest incline and offer multiple trail options to work on improving your ability. The ‘QuickSilver Super 6’ and ‘Beaver Run Super Chair’ at the ‘Peak 9 Base’ also provide access to many green circles and blue squares which seemed to have more incline to them than similarly marked trails on ‘Peak 8’, providing another challenge for the newbie before they tackle the diamonds or bowls further up the mountain. Plus the ‘Peak 8’ base area has a couple of nice lodges with outdoor seating perfect for grabbing a beer and a little rest for your legs.
The more advanced skier will want to skip over most of the areas described in the last paragraph, choosing instead to take a look from the lifts and head immediately for the ‘Peak 8’ summit using the legendary ‘Breck T-bar’ to access the new ‘Imperial Express Super Chair’(The highest chair lift in North America). After you get off the super chair follow the boot tracks in the snow to hike to the actual summit of ‘Peak 8’ which is two feet shy of 13,000 ft. From here you can choose to try the ‘Imperial Bowl’, ‘Whale’s Tail’, the ‘North Bowl’ and for those looking for a real challenge a short traverse to access to the ‘Lake Chutes’ and ‘Snow White’ will provide a thrill to any experienced skier/rider. For those looking to find some powder in the trees ‘The Burn’ area off of ‘Peak 10’ can seem like a new run each time down, with only two marked trails in the area, ‘Spitfire’ and ‘Corsair’, your options are seemingly limitless as you blaze your own trail though the trees down to the ravine run ‘Upper Lehman’ between ‘Peaks 10’ and ‘9’. A short hike off of the back of the ‘Peak 9’ summit provides access to some more trees in the ‘Back Nine” area.
The night life at ‘Breck’ is almost as good as the skiing; great food, good people, and the altitude dramatically altering your level of alcohol tolerance can lead to some stories from the night that will rival your accomplishments on the mountain. If you stay at the base of ‘Peak 9’ the “Quandary Grill” is a great place to grab some dinner and drinks after soaking in the hot tub after a hard days skiing. Sit at the bar and keep your eye open for the bar tender with the ‘Red Sox’ hat, Scooter. He’s a Worcester native and always loves to see Boston area people. The staff here is a blast and are quick to crack a joke about each other or the regulars at the bar. From the ‘Quandary” you can head across the street, with the mountain at your back, to the “Breckenridge Brewery” for a tour of the brewery, or make your way down historic main street to find a bar or restaurant of your choosing.
This little mountain town located just ninety minutes from Denver (a little less time if you are one of those famous Massachusetts drivers) is a great introduction to the Rocky Mountains for the Bostonian native. There is plenty of groomed terrain for those not skilled in powder, as well as plenty of powder for those who are. A friendly atmosphere permeates this little Rocky Mountain town, mix in great skiing, beautiful views and Breckenridge is a place you will want to return to.