Escape the resort crowds by earning your turns on a backcountry adventure in Colorado’s Summit County. For boarders, the Colorado Snowboard Guides offers backcountry splitboarding tours where you can experience something few riders ever will, powder in solitude. Sounds like a dream right? Traverse a high alpine ridgeline to a snow-covered summit—maybe even 14,265 ft Quandary Peak—and ride back to where you started! The professionally trained guides scout out the best conditions, assess avalanche danger and other potentially dangerous conditions and can teach you everything you need to know if it's your first time in the backcountry.
There are plenty of ski and snowboard rental options in Breckenridge, including seven resort-owned shops (Breckenridge Sports) in the base area lodges and private shops scattered throughout the town. There’s probably going to be one very close to where you’re staying, or where you plan to get on the slopes. Outlets in Frisco and Dillon may have even better prices (and would definitely be more convenient if that’s where you’re staying!).
Breckenridge Sports’ prices are relatively high for both standard and high-end gear compared to other Colorado resorts. Most of the privately owned shops offer lower prices, and many offer shuttle services for you and/or your gear. If you're staying in the village, AMR has everything you need, from quality powder skis to mountain boards, all at great rates. Owner Dave has been operating AMR since 1982, so he knows all about getting you the best equipment to suit your ability level no matter what it is. AMR is conveniently located between the City Market Plaza and the BreckConnect Gondola, so picking up your gear before hitting the slopes is easy.
The resort runs the only ski school in Breckenridge, but they have plenty of options available. They offer instruction for all ages and ability levels, with both private and group options. There are separate women’s programs, and they even have telemark lessons! Classes meet at the Peak 7/8 base area, Beaver Run, and the Village (next to QuickSilver SuperChair). Breckenridge’s ski school also offers Breck Guides for experienced skiers and snowboarders, showing you the resort’s best terrain and teaching basic backcountry skills.
There are several banks, including major national ones like Wells Fargo and US Bank. Just note you won't be able to find Chase Bank here. ATMs are available in all the base areas and throughout town. Credit cards are the most common form of payment at just about every retail, rental, or dining venue.
City Market is Breckenridge’s grocery store, located at the north end of town. There’s a smaller market near the post office just south of downtown. The Breckenridge Free Ride can get you to either one. If you’re driving into town, Costco members will find a warehouse just off I-70 on the west side of Denver. There’s a Safeway supermarket and Walmart in Frisco. As you shop to stock up your accommodations, you’ll notice most grocery stores in Colorado have a separate liquor store nearby; state law prohibits grocery stores from selling liquor or wine – and grocery store beer is diluted. So, if you’re looking for libations, get them in the liquor store (including better beer).
Hopefully it doesn’t happen, but in case of an emergency on the slopes, call Ski Patrol at (970) 496-7911 from your mobile phone or one of the several emergency phones on the mountain. For non-life threatening injuries, there are two Urgent Care facilities open around the clock in Breckenridge. For more serious medical emergencies, there is a hospital in Frisco. Breckenridge Physical Therapy offers a wide array of services, is well regarded, and centrally located near the centre of town.
For the usual aches and pains, massages and spa treatments are available both slopeside and in town. Sol Impressions Massage Studio, in the centre of downtown, is very popular. The Rejuvenation Centre, in One Ski Hill Place at the bottom of Peak 8, offers a Blue River Stone Massage where the hot stones help relax the muscles, and are especially nice after a cold day on the slopes. Many of the higher-end hotels also have their own spas.
If you want to bring your little ones but they’re not quite up to a full day on slopes, the resort offers childcare at three different locations. The centres at the Peak 8 base and the Village both care for children from 8 weeks to 5 years old, while the Beaver Run Child Care Centre cares for children from 8 weeks to 3 years. Hours are from 8:30am to 4pm, and the resort recommends reservations (and offers a discounted rate if made more than 48 hours in advance). For children over the age of two, Breckenridge offers a “Lil’ Rippers” programme on top of a full-day reservation at the Village and Beaver Run Child Care Centres where your future winter sports star gets a private lesson in addition to professional care. Resort Sitters and Mountain Sitters offer in-accommodation service for a broader range of ages, and also offer evening service so you can have that grown-up evening out.
Tubing, Snowmobiling, and More
Breckenridge does not have a sledding or tubing hill of its own, but you can find one in the Frisco Adventure Park about 15 minutes away. It also includes beginner skiing with a surface lift and a cross-country skiing park. If you didn’t drive, you can still easily get there on the Summit Stage free bus, which makes the trip between Breckenridge Station and Frisco every half hour. The park is an easy walk from anywhere in Frisco.
If your group has some non-skiers, or you just want a break, several local companies offer other ways to experience the snow. Breckenridge Snowmobiling Tours and Rentals and High Country Activities both offer an array of snowmobile tour and rental packages as well as transportation. Good Times Adventures offers both snowmobiling and dog sledding.
For a unique experience, check out The Gold Runner Alpine Coaster at the base of Peak 8. It has 2,500 ft of track where you can ride on your own or with a friend on a two-seat car. The cars let you control your own speed, and you can ride in your ski gear so you can stop by for a quick ride between runs on the slopes. You can find it right next to the Rip’s Ride lift.
There’s no heli-skiing at Breckenridge or at any of the nearby resorts, but Keystone Adventure Tours at nearby Keystone Resort (970-496-4386) offers cat skiing for as little as $10 USD (£8 GBP) for a single lap or $285 USD (£219 GBP) for an entire day including demo powder skis and lunch.
For more seasoned visitors, the 50 Plus Ski With Us programme offers a way for more seasoned skiers of all ability levels to learn their way around the mountain and meet other skiers (as well as enjoy a discounted lunch!). They meet up every Tuesday at T-Bar at the base of Peak 8 and ski together the entire day.
In addition to the impressive après scene, the town hosts concerts, festivals, and the like almost every weekend. Check the resort’s online events calendar and the local Tourism Office website to keep on top of current events and special activities!