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  • Dr. Allison Andre, DPT

Ski Boots to Flip-Flops: Embracing the Adventure of Breckenridge

Welcome to Breckenridge, Colorado, where the snow is always powdery, the slopes are always gnarly, and the air is always… refreshing? I just got back from an epic Spring Skiing trip in Breckenridge! I'm a lucky one with family living just outside of town in both Alma and Fairplay, and to top it off, my sister is a top ski instructor at the Breckenridge resort. I love visiting throughout the year, taking advantage of all the outdoor activities Breckenridge has to offer, from hitting the slopes in the winter to hiking in the summer.


But here’s the thing: Breckenridge is not just a winter wonderland. Sure, it’s a skier’s paradise, with some of the best runs and views you’ll find in the Rockies. But it’s also a summer retreat, with hiking trails, mountain biking, and all sorts of outdoor adventures that will make you forget the heat back home. So, buckle up, dear reader, as I take you on a journey through the year-round magic of Breckenridge – a place where you can have your ski boots and flip-flops too!




 

Table of Contents:

 

WHERE IS BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO?


Breckenridge altitude is a whopping 9,600 feet (2,926 meters) above sea level and is nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Its high elevation offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys and is like a little nugget of gold waiting to be discovered by adventurous souls.


The closest airports are Denver International (DEN) and Eagle County Regional (EGE), both of which offer shuttle services to whisk you away to the mountains. The Denver Airport to Breckenridge is around 100 miles up I70, with a driving time of 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic. If renting a car in the winter, it is a good idea to get a vehicle with clearance and AWD. Otherwise sit back and relax with a shuttle service!


And speaking of mountains, did you know that Breckenridge is also conveniently close to other world-renowned ski resorts? Just a short drive away, you'll find Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain – all of which offer their own unique charm and challenges. So whether you want to conquer the highest peaks or just cozy up in a mountain cabin, Breckenridge is the perfect basecamp for all your Colorado dreams!






ABOUT BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO


Breckenridge is a historic town located in Summit County, Colorado. It was founded in 1859 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, when prospectors flocked to the area in search of fortune. The town was named after John C. Breckinridge, the 14th Vice President of the United States and a presidential candidate in the 1860 election.

In its early days, Breckenridge was a bustling mining town, with thousands of miners and their families living and working in the area. The town's main industry was gold mining, and it produced over $1 billion worth of gold during its peak years. Breckenridge also played an important role in the development of the Colorado economy, as it was one of the few towns in the state to survive the Silver Crash of 1893.

Today, Breckenridge is a thriving mountain community with a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene. The town has preserved many of its historic buildings, including Victorian homes and storefronts, and visitors can explore the past at the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, a collection of museums and historic sites. Breckenridge is also known for its arts and culture, with a thriving arts district and numerous events and festivals throughout the year.

Despite its growth and modern amenities, Breckenridge has never lost its connection to the natural beauty that surrounds it. The town is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, with stunning views of the Tenmile Range and access to some of the best skiing and outdoor recreation in the world.


LODGING IN BRECKENRIDGE


SKI-IN AND SKI-OUT RESORTS


Breckenridge Ski Resort has a variety of ski-in, ski-out accommodations available, ranging from luxurious hotels to cozy condos. Here are a few of the best options:


This luxurious property is located right at the base of Peak 8, offering ski-in, ski-out access and stunning views of the slopes. One Ski Hill Place features a range of amenities, including an indoor pool, hot tubs, a bowling alley, and a movie theater.

Another great option for ski-in, ski-out accommodations is the Grand Colorado on Peak 8. This resort features spacious condos with fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and private balconies. Guests can also enjoy access to a fitness center, hot tubs, and a ski valet service.

Located just steps from the Independence SuperChair, Crystal Peak Lodge offers convenient ski-in, ski-out access and comfortable accommodations. The property features a range of amenities, including a fitness center, hot tubs, and a game room.

If you're looking for a more affordable ski-in, ski-out option, consider Beaver Run Resort. This property offers a range of room types, from studios to four-bedroom condos, and is located just steps from the lifts. Guests can enjoy access to a heated pool, hot tubs, and an on-site restaurant and bar.


The Village at Breckenridge is a popular ski-in/ski-out lodging option located at the base of Peak 9. It offers convenient access to the slopes, as well as amenities such as indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, a fitness center, and restaurants.


6. Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals are another popular lodging option in Breckenridge. These can include condos, townhouses, and private homes, which can offer more space and privacy than hotels. Vacation rental websites such as Airbnb and Vrbo have numerous options available in Breckenridge. I have stayed at two different condos on Four O'clock Road that offer ski-in and ski-out to Snowflake Lift. They have been both very convenient to town and for skiing!


OTHER OPTIONS

Breckenridge has so many lodging options, here are a few more to consider:


The Lodge at Breckenridge is a rustic mountain lodge perched on a bluff overlooking Breckenridge. It offers stunning views of the Tenmile Range and the Blue River Valley, as well as luxurious accommodations, a restaurant, and a spa.


Breck Inn is a charming bed and breakfast located on the edge of Breckenridge. It offers cozy accommodations, a home-cooked breakfast, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.


The Bivvi Hostel is a budget-friendly lodging option that offers dormitory-style accommodations, as well as private rooms. It has a lively and social atmosphere, with a communal kitchen, living room, and outdoor patio.


The Fireside Inn is a cozy bed and breakfast located in the heart of Breckenridge. It offers comfortable accommodations, a delicious breakfast, and a warm and inviting atmosphere.





BRECKENRIDGE GONDOLA


One of the most iconic and convenient ways to access the ski resort in Breckenridge is via the BreckConnect gondola. This free gondola ride takes you from the town of Breckenridge up to the base of Peak 8, where you can easily access the slopes, dining options, and various winter activities.


Not only is the gondola a convenient mode of transportation, it also offers stunning panoramic views of the town and surrounding mountains. Whether you're riding up to hit the slopes or just taking a scenic ride, the BreckConnect gondola is a must-do experience in Breckenridge.


During the summer months, the gondola is also open for scenic rides, offering a unique way to take in the beauty of the Rockies. And if you're looking for a little adventure, you can even bring your bike on the gondola and ride down the various mountain bike trails.


Overall, the Breckenridge gondola is a fun and convenient way to access the ski resort, soak in the views, and enjoy a unique experience in this charming mountain town!!



BRECKENRIDGE SKI RESORT


Breckenridge Ski Resort is one of the most popular ski destinations in North America, attracting visitors from around the world to its world-class slopes and charming mountain town. It has five peaks, which are Peaks 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Each peak offers a different skiing and snowboarding experience, with a range of terrain and difficulty levels. Peak 8 is the central hub of the resort and offers the most amenities, including ski school, restaurants, and shops. The other peaks offer more challenging terrain, as well as backcountry skiing opportunities. Together, the five peaks make Breckenridge Ski Resort one of the largest ski resorts in North America, with over 2,900 acres of skiable terrain and 34 lifts.


PEAK 6 BRECKENRIDGE


Peak 6 is the newest addition to the Breckenridge ski resort, and it's quickly become a favorite among locals and visitors alike (myself including!). This expansive terrain features a mix of wide-open bowls and steep chutes, making it ideal for advanced skiers and snowboarders looking for a challenge. The terrain is mostly above treeline, providing stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.


The Imperial Express SuperChair, the highest chairlift in North America at an elevation of 12,840 feet, provides access to some of the best terrain on Peak 6, including the legendary "Six Senses" bowls. However, there are also plenty of intermediate and beginner runs on the lower portions of the peak, making it a great destination for groups of varying skill levels.


PEAK 7 BRECKENRIDGE


Peak 7 is another one of Breckenridge's popular peaks, located just north of Peak 8. The summit of Peak 7 stands at an elevation of 12,998 feet and can be accessed by lifts from the base of the peak. With a variety of runs ranging from beginner to expert, Peak 7 offers skiers and snowboarders a chance to experience the mountain on their own terms.


One of the most notable aspects of Peak 7 is its well-groomed trails, perfect for carving down the mountain at high speeds. The peak also has some great powder runs and tree skiing, making it a favorite among more experienced skiers and snowboarders. For those who want to explore the backcountry, Peak 7 also has access to some great backcountry terrain with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.


Peak 7 is also home to the BreckConnect Gondola, which provides access to both Peak 7 and Peak 8. During the summer months, Peak 7 is a hub for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and ziplining, with plenty of trails and adventure options to explore.



PEAK 8 BRECKENRIDGE


Peak 8 is one of the most popular peaks at Breckenridge Ski Resort. With 1,200 acres of skiable terrain, there’s something for every level of skier or snowboarder. From gentle beginner slopes to steep expert runs, Peak 8 has it all. The peak boasts a variety of lifts including the Colorado SuperChair, the Rocky Mountain SuperChair, and the T-Bar, which offers access to some of the resort's most challenging terrain.


But it’s not just the skiing that makes Peak 8 special. The base area is home to a vibrant mountain village that offers a range of dining and shopping options, from quick bites to sit-down restaurants. You can also find cozy fire pits to warm up and relax around while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Additionally, there are plenty of activities beyond skiing, including a winter zipline, an alpine coaster, and even a year-round gondola ride to take in the stunning views of the Tenmile Range.


For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Peak 8 offers a hike-to terrain park, known as the Freeway Terrain Park. It's accessible via a short hike from the top of the Colorado SuperChair and offers a variety of rails, jumps, and other features.


PEAK 9 BRECKENRIDGE


Peak 9 is a great option for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, with a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs. It's a popular spot for families and beginners, with a large number of green and blue runs to choose from. The runs are wide and forgiving, making it an ideal place to learn and practice skiing or snowboarding skills.

One of the most popular trails on Peak 9 is called the "Silverthorne" run, which is a long and winding blue run that takes you from the top of the mountain down to the base area. It offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, making it a great choice for intermediate skiers looking for a scenic ride.

Peak 9 is also home to several terrain parks, where skiers and snowboarders can practice their freestyle skills on jumps, rails, and other features. The parks range in difficulty from beginner to advanced, and are a great place to watch some impressive tricks and flips from the pros.

At the base of Peak 9, you'll find a variety of dining and shopping options, as well as access to the Breckenridge Ski and Ride School. The ski school offers lessons for all ages and skill levels, including private lessons and group lessons. Whether you're a beginner looking to learn the basics, or an experienced skier looking to improve your technique, the Breckenridge Ski and Ride School has you covered.



PEAK 10 BRECKENRIDGE


Peak 10 at Breckenridge is one of the ten peaks that make up the Breckenridge ski resort, located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It is a popular destination for intermediate and advanced skiers, offering some of the most challenging terrain in the area.


Peak 10 boasts a vertical drop of over 2,000 feet, with plenty of steep, narrow runs that will put your skills to the test. It's also home to some of Breckenridge's famous bowls, including the Imperial Bowl and the Mustang Powder Bowl. If you're looking for a thrill, you won't want to miss the double-black-diamond runs such as the Centennial, Cimarron, and Crystal.


But don't worry if you're not a pro skier - there are plenty of groomed runs and beginner trails on Peak 10 as well, so everyone can enjoy the mountain. Plus, the views from the summit are simply breathtaking, offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding peaks and valleys.


BRECKENRIDGE NORDIC CENTER


if you are looking for other activities other than skiing and snowboarding, look no further than the Nordic Center. It is a winter wonderland for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Located just minutes from downtown Breckenridge, the Nordic Center offers over 1,400 acres of pristine backcountry trails for visitors to explore. Whether you're a seasoned skier or a beginner, you'll find a trail that suits your skill level. The center offers rentals, lessons, and guided tours, so you can make the most of your time on the snow. With stunning views of the Tenmile Range and the Continental Divide, the Nordic Center is the perfect place to escape the crowds and enjoy the peace and quiet of the winter landscape. And when you're done skiing or snowshoeing, warm up by the fire in the cozy lodge, with a hot drink and a snack from the cafe.


OTHER WINTER ACTIVITIES


In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are several other popular winter activities in Breckenridge that visitors can enjoy:

1. Ice Skating

The Breckenridge Ice Arena offers public skating sessions, as well as lessons and hockey games. There's also an outdoor rink located in the heart of downtown Breckenridge.

2. Dog Sledding

Visitors can experience the thrill of dog sledding on scenic mountain trails with local tour companies.

3. Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling tours are a great way to explore the backcountry surrounding Breckenridge. Guided tours are available for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced.

4. Winter Hiking

Many of the hiking trails in and around Breckenridge are accessible year-round and offer stunning winter scenery. Just be sure to dress appropriately and be prepared for icy and snowy conditions.


SUMMER AND WINTER FUN! THE BRECKENRIDGE DISTILLERY


If you’re looking for something to warm you up after a day on the slopes, you can’t miss the Breckenridge Distillery. This award-winning distillery offers some of the finest handcrafted spirits in the country, with everything from bourbon to vodka to bitters. The distillery's founder, Bryan Nolt, started the operation in 2007, and it has since become a beloved local establishment and tourist attraction. What sets the Breckenridge Distillery apart is its commitment to using local ingredients and its unique high-altitude distilling process. Plus, their tasting room is the perfect spot to cozy up with a cocktail and swap stories with your fellow skiers.


If you’re feeling adventurous, sign up for one of their tours or classes, where you can learn about the distilling process and even create your own custom blend. And don’t forget to pick up a bottle or two to take home – the Breckenridge Distillery is a great way to bring a taste of the mountains back with you.


So, whether you’re a spirit connoisseur or just looking for a unique après-ski experience, the Breckenridge Distillery is not to be missed. Cheers to a great day on the slopes and a great night at the distillery!




BRECKENRIDGE TROLL


If you thought Breckenridge was just about skiing and snowboarding, think again – because this town has a little surprise up its sleeve: a giant troll named Isak Heartstone.


Isak Heartstone is not just any ordinary troll – he's a magical creature born from the creative mind of Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Dambo is known for his environmentally conscious art, using recycled and natural materials to create sculptures that blend seamlessly with their surroundings. Isak was no exception: he was crafted from reclaimed wood from nearby dead trees, which Dambo and his team carefully carved, sanded, and painted to give him his unique features.


But Isak was more than just a sculpture – he was also a message of sustainability and community. Dambo chose Breckenridge as the location for his creation because of the town's commitment to preserving the natural beauty of the area and promoting eco-friendly practices. Isak's story was also a collaborative effort between Dambo and the town's residents, who helped suggest his name and even voted on his final location.

Isak quickly became a beloved resident of Breckenridge, attracting visitors from all over the world who came to marvel at his giant stature and playful demeanor. However, his popularity also brought some challenges, as the influx of tourists began to affect the nearby neighborhood and creek. To address these issues, the town and Dambo collaborated once again to move Isak to a new, more sustainable location that could accommodate his fans while also preserving the environment. Isak's new home near Illinois Gulch Trailhead still offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forest, as well as plenty of space for visitors to explore and take photos with the troll.

Isak Heartstone may be a work of art, but he's also a testament to the power of community and creativity. His story shows how something as simple as a wooden sculpture can inspire people to come together, appreciate nature, and have fun. So if you're ever in Breckenridge, don't forget to pay a visit to this friendly giant – he's waiting to make your day a little brighter.




HIKE A 14er! QUANDARY PEAK TRAILHEAD


Looking for an adventure that'll take your breath away? Look no further than Quandary Peak, one of Colorado's most accessible fourteeners! The Quandary Peak trailhead is just a quick 20-minute drive from Breckenridge, making it the perfect day trip for those seeking a challenge.


The hike itself is a doozy, climbing more than 3,400 feet in elevation over just six miles. But fear not, fellow hikers! With a little preparation and a can-do attitude, you can conquer this mountain and be rewarded with some of the most stunning views in the state.


The trail starts in a dense forest, where you'll feel like you're in a scene straight out of Lord of the Rings. As you ascend into alpine tundra, keep an eye out for small streams and rock formations that'll make you feel like a true explorer.


And then, after what might seem like an eternity (or just a few hours, depending on your pace), you'll reach the summit! Trust us, the breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys are worth the sweat and tears.


But don't forget, hiking at high altitudes can be a challenge, so make sure you're properly prepared. Pack some snacks, water, and layers of clothing for any possible weather changes. And if you're feeling a little woozy, remember to take it easy and enjoy the scenery.




BRECKENRIDGE ADVENTURE PARK


The Breckenridge Adventure Park is a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers of all ages. Located at the base of Peak 8, the park features a variety of activities to get your heart racing. One of the most popular attractions is the alpine slide, a 2,600-foot-long track that winds down the mountain. Riders control their own speed, so you can go as fast or slow as you like.

For an even bigger adrenaline rush, try the Gold Runner Coaster. This roller coaster-style ride twists and turns through the forest, offering amazing views of the mountains along the way. And if you're looking for a real challenge, check out the climbing wall or bungee trampoline.

In addition to the thrill rides, the Breckenridge Adventure Park also features a zip line tour. Soar above the trees on a series of zip lines and suspended bridges, taking in the stunning mountain views from a whole new perspective. And for younger kids, there's a mini golf course and a gemstone panning station.

The Adventure Park is open from mid-June through Labor Day, and then on weekends in the fall until the end of September. It's a great way to spend a day with family and friends, and the memories will last a lifetime. My kids and I loved our day in the park!



EXPLORE LAKE DILLON



If you're looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Breckenridge, Lake Dillon in nearby Frisco is the perfect escape. Surrounded by towering peaks and lush forests, this mountain reservoir is one of Colorado's best-kept secrets.


And let's be real, who doesn't love a good day on the water? Lake Dillon offers plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, and other water activities. Rent a pontoon boat and cruise around the lake with a group of friends, or grab a kayak or paddleboard and explore the nooks and crannies of the shoreline.


If you're a fishing enthusiast, you're in luck! Lake Dillon is home to plenty of trout, salmon, and other fish species, making it a popular spot for anglers. And if you're new to the sport or need some gear, the marinas around the lake have you covered.


Not feeling up to navigating the waters on your own? No problem! There are guided tours available that will take you around the lake and show you all the best spots. And with the stunning mountain views in every direction, it's a tour you won't soon forget.


The best part? Lake Dillon is only 10 miles from Breckenridge, making it an easy day trip. So pack your sunscreen, grab your swimsuit, and get ready to make some unforgettable memories on the water.




OTHER SUMMER ACTIVITIES


1. Epic Hiking Trails

Take a hike on one of the many trails around Breckenridge. Whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging mountain trek, there's a trail for everyone. Plus, the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains will take your breath away!

2. Mountain Biking

The mountain terrain around Breckenridge offers some of the best mountain biking in the country. With over 50 miles of bike trails, ranging from beginner to expert, you'll find something for every skill level. Don't have a bike? No worries, there are plenty of bike rentals in and around town.

3. Whitewater Rafting

The nearby Arkansas River offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the state. With rapids ranging from Class II to Class V, there's an adventure waiting for everyone.

4. Fishing

With numerous rivers and streams, Breckenridge is a prime location for fishing. You can fish for trout, salmon, and other species in some of the most beautiful settings in the world.

5. Horseback Riding

If you're looking for a more leisurely activity, consider horseback riding. You can explore the mountain trails on horseback and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.





What's not unique about Breckenridge? This charming mountain town has a character and vibe all its own. From the historic Main Street lined with colorful Victorian buildings to the world-class skiing and snowboarding on offer, there's something for everyone in Breckenridge. But what really sets this place apart is the sense of community and the friendly locals who call it home. Breckenridge is a place where everyone is welcome, whether you're a seasoned skier or a first-time visitor. And with a wide range of activities and events happening year-round, there's never a dull moment. Whether you're hitting the slopes in winter or hiking and biking in the summer, Breckenridge has an undeniable charm that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. So come for the skiing, stay for the community, and fall in love with this unique mountain town.




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