Resort Profile: Breckenridge

By adamrowden, 13 Dec '12 at 12:21

Breckenridge is a cracking town that has good skiing and boarding as well as a brilliant atmosphere and fantastic snow. The laid back atmosphere and facilities in town make it a very different experience from the European working Experience.

But be warned though, it's high - 3200m in the town - and It's not uncommon for some guests to get slight altitude sickness.

Having four huge peaks that span 2,358 acres, Breckenridge has plenty to offer people of all abilities and interest. It has plenty to offer both on on and off the pistes so you can be guaranteed a good time day and night! Oh, and it also has North America’s highest chairlift - the Imperial Express - which can take you up to the wonderful high alpine bowls.

On the Slopes

There are some great fast, steep runs around Breckenridge. Great high speed cruising can be found on Peak 10 on Crystal. If groomed, you must try Cimarron.

From Peak 8 Four o'clock is the longest run - at 3.5 miles - all the way into town. It's a great speed run from the top of peak 8 at 3700m, which turns into a green run down to town at 2900m.This is the main way off the mountain for everyone from families with beginners to park rats, and it becomes a narrow trail. Be nice if you’re trying to catch Happy Hour, no point ruining some kids holiday or your season. Or put your skis/board where your mouth is and try the Nastar Racecourse. If you’re really hot do it switch.

There are a reasonable amount of challenging mogul runs off Peaks 8, 9 ,10. Try out Peerless and the E-chair terrain on Peak 9, runs including “Devil's Crotch', Boreas and High Anxiety, Southern Cross, Contest Bowl. Then head for some of the 6-Chair Terrain on Peak 8 - Corsair, Spitfire, Mustang. Finally explore all over Peak 10. As a point of interest if there is a huge amount of snowfall,, some of these bumps may become quite tame - but who cares, when there's powder.

The five (that’s correct 5!) parks in Breckenridge are incredible. 4 Half-pipes, including 1 Super-Pipe on Peak 8; a midsize pipe on Peak 9; and 2 baby pipes, one each on Peaks 8 & 9. Tons of rails and jumps, with a huge variety. The competition park is next to the Superpipe on Peak 8; there's a medium sized park on Peak 9; then 2 beginner parks - 1 on Peak 8, 1 on Peak 9. Stay out of the Ski School only learner park on Peak 9, you can lose your pass!

Off-Piste

Good off-piste can be found at most times. The powder is fantastic, and a little trip into the trees can normally find you some fresh tracks. Remember to buddy up: you don’t want to get stuck head first in a tree well on your own.

From Peak 8 take the Imperial Express for the Imperial Bowl or the extreme Lake Chutes and to avoid the hike to Peak 7 (alternatively hike from the T-bar). Chair 6 has plenty of variable awesome terrain, as does the south side of Peak 10 and the Windows area of Peak 9.

Within an hour there are some fantastic opportunities at Keystone and A-basin (included in the Breckenridge Season pass) and Copper Mountain, all of which can be reached by the free Summit Stage bus routes. Some days at Vail and Beaver Creek are included , but these can be difficult to get to. If you have the energy riders, can go to the Loveland Pass, hike up the mountain, ride down, then hitch a lift back up to the top of the pass. It's common to find a few serious riders doing this after fresh powder, and it doesn't involve a lift pass.

Check avalanche reports, Summit County is one of the most avalanche prone areas in the US.

Living in Resort

Many staff run chalets a little out of town. This can make getting around a bit difficult in the evening. Some companies will compensate by giving you a car to share, which is a major bonus to get around the area. Anywhere in town is good to live, but expensive.

Bars and Clubs
Breckenridge Brewery and Pub - Lively place with micro beers brewed on the site. Good pub grub. Even fish and chips!!! Monday night from 10pm, ladies drink for free.
Cecilia's - Famous for its Martinis, a great dance floor. Monday night power hour from 11pm-midnight, “you call it - $1”, basically almost any drink you want is only $1. And for the 06-07 season they’ve extended it to Fridays and Saturdays 9-10pm.
The Sherpa & Yeti - has great gigs from every music genre
Gold Pan Saloon - the oldest bar west of the Mississippi! A real cowboy style saloon. Well, this is the wild west after all.
Downstairs at Eric's - lively sports restaurant with a bar; great cheap food
Ullr's Sports Bar - dark, lively sports bar, pool tables, some live music
Jakes Dive Bar - sports bar, with pool table, live music
Salt Creek - Tuesday and Thursday nights $4 pitchers. The place to meet everyone you want to see…. And probably the ones you don’t!!
Burke & Reilly’s Irish Bar - place to catch up on European soccer, drink Guinness and eat Bangers & Mash! It’s not that authentic, but a fun place to hang out.
Kenosha Steak House - has a great Monday night football bingo with all you can eat ribs.
Restaurants with good bars: Mi Casa, The Dredge, Horseshoe II

Eating Out
Fatty's Pizza - for great, cheap pizzas in a local atmosphere-
Rasta Pasta - for big plates of cheap, filling pasta in a colourful reggae atmosphere.
Natural Mystic - pasta with chicken and pineapple curry- fantastic!
Downstairs at Eric’s - for burgers, pizzas, salads and great sandwiches
Empire Burger - does burgers
Mai Thai - is thai!
Taipei Tokyo - Sushi, Japanese and Chinese
Bubba Gumps - Forrest Gump theme on seafood, sounds strange but hugely popular
special nights out, but most do happy hour specials
Café Alpine - menu changes with each season
Hearthstone - good food especially the steaks
The Cellar - plates meant for sharing and ladies nights, a great wine bar
Blue River Bistro - so many martinis and awesome appetisers

Mountain Restos
The Mountain restaurants all have a slightly different atmosphere, but are all chaotic at busy times and serve the usual burgers, salads, fries, pizzas. Border Burritos at the Bergenhof and Vista Haus on Peak 8 give a change of pace, as do the crepes available at the coffee shop at Ten Mile Station. Sub Fusion at the Vista Haus does the best sandwiches and they are huge. There is also a salad bar in the Bergenhoff for a healthier option. From the base at Peak 9 it is easy to walk to town and go for a lunch deal at the Quandary Grill, Mi Casa, Eric’s or wherever you prefer!

Events
Good number of annual events - the season really starts with the Grand Prix of Snowboarding in early December. Various other events happen throughout the season. Ullr Fest celebrates the Norse god of winter and ends with the international Ice Sculpture comp. Mardi Gras, and the 'Spring Massive' is a wind down towards the end of the season with a variety of competitions and concerts. There are competitions and concerts thrown in through the season.

Away Days
There's plenty to do away from the snow. Catch a bus or hitch to nearby Dillon and Silverthorne (10 miles) to go to the cinema or bowling or to check out the factory outlets.
A day trip to Denver is worth it just to warm up and wear shorts in the sun, check the forecast just in case.

The town's Recreation Centre is a great place for a game of squash, a blow out in the gym, or a chill out in the pool, two Jacuzzis, sauna and steamroom. There’s also a good climbing wall.

Nearby Fairplay is a bizarre place, famous for being the original 'South Park' the series was based on, but a wander around the historic Front Street is worthwhile although the museum itself is shut all winter.

Two hours away, Colorado Springs is worth a visit to hang out in the thermal springs, although Mount Princeton is closer and you get to sit in the thermal river.

If you want more snow, Steamboat and Winter Park are only a couple of hours away at most, depending on weather and number of people heading in those directions.

Shopping
There are loads of good shops in town, and most will give a locals' discount, if asked. Particularly friendly and helpful are the guys at Mountain Wave board shop. Underground and Big Hit are also good. Further out you can get loads of cheap designer stuff at the Silverthorne Factory outlets (Nike, Timberland etc.)

Transfer Day
Most companies fly guests into Denver, 3 hours away, although most will then either self-drive up to resort, or else are bussed in without reps going to the airport. Transfer days can be twice a week, as guests may do 7, 10 or 14 day holidays. This leads to a more laid back, constant week, compared to the madness of one transfer day a week as in Europe.

Après-ski Options
Selling Apres-ski events is not a strong point in the US, although the Line-dancing night is a must to drag guests along to. Also the near-by Dogsledding and Skidooing trips are fantastic, and good little money earners.

Thanks to Nicola Griffiths for compiling the majority of this Guide.

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