Ski holidays in America: Dare you ride the five peaks of fun?
Breckenridge is not a quintessential ski village, but it does boast some of the most adrenaline-fueled terrain on the planet. With the Arapahoe Basin piercing the 13,000ft mark, Breckenridge is the highest ski resort in America.
Village life started here during the peak of the Gold Rush in the late 1850s and many of the buildings have retained their Wild West facades. The ski resort opened in 1961 and has steadily grown into a ten-mile range of high-octane terrain.
Experienced skiers will think you’ve died and gone to Heaven. A staggering 59% of the mountain is dedicated to advanced skiers and experts - which is highly unusual. Having said that the terrain has plenty to offer for all levels and is a great ski holiday destination for groups of mixed experience.
The village is relatively small but has a warm and friendly vibe. The one hundred or so lively bars and cosmopolitan restaurants give visitors plenty of choice to while away the evenings and a glut of shops are a pleasure to explore if you’re out for a stroll.
Perched 9600 feet above sea level, there is a risk of altitude sickness at Breckenridge. Visitors are advised to take a day or two in one of the lower altitude resorts that are part of the Vail family in order to get acclimatised to the height before heading up to Breckenridge.
|No. of Pistes:||187|
|Total Piste:||12 km|
|Cross Country:||0 km|
|Gondolas/ Cable Cars:||1|
Breckenridge Ski Areas & Slopes
The most northerly piste, peak 6 is regarded by many as the best side of the mountain - steeper, faster, quieter. The terrain consists of steep chutes and open bowls that are suitable for intermediates and upwards.
Intermediate-Advanced: The blue runs through the glades on peak 6 are a great place for adventurous intermediates. For the ultimate rush, head to the summit where you will find a wide choice of steep black runs including the not-to-be-missed Intuition and Wonderland Bowl.
Beginners: There are no trails that are perfectly suited to beginners on Peak 6.
A great piste for deep powder lovers, Peak 7 typically holds snow for longer although is not recommended in strong winds as whiteout conditions above the treeline cause low visibility.
Intermediate-Advanced: The Independence Superchair at the lower end of Peak 7 serves a host of runs that are ideal for intermediates of all levels. The well-groomed blue runs are perfect for coasting whilst the steep Ore Bucket is fast and fun - best left to experienced skiers.
Beginners: Nothing here for beginners either.
Peak 8 boasts the highest elevation chairlift in the United States from which you can access a glut of trails that are suitable for skiers of all levels. You also access the Freeway and Park Lane terrain parks from here.
Intermediate-Advanced: For experts and advanced skiers, Peak 8 is the heartbeat of Breckenridge. When professionals are in town, this is where they are fielded for championship events such as the Dew Tour. The 6-chair gives you access to some lightly forested slopes and are a good place to start whilst the Horseshoe Bowl is fraught with jumps whilst Whale’s Tail takes you on to the rock bands of Vertigo and Y-Chute.
Beginners: The base of Peak 8 is reserved for beginners and the first powder ski-schoolers will experience. You also have easy access to magic carpets and the mellow green runs of Trygves, Swinger and Powerline. Lower Springmeier is a lazy beginner-friendly slope and the best place to start post-ski lessons.
Another great spot for beginners and progressing intermediates. Peak 9 is a great place for learning and taking your skills to the next level.
Intermediate-Advanced: Intermediates can find several runs on the wooded north slope Under Chair E whilst advanced skiers and experts should climb further up and tackle Devil’s Crotch, Hades and Inferno.
Beginners: The green runs spanning the entire lower mountain are ideal for beginners to improve their skills and build confidence. Start with the slow-paced Silverthorne, Frontier and Lower Lehman. Beginners advancing into intermediate status should try Briar Rose and Country Boy.
Served by the Falcon Superchair, the least crowded part of the mountain is a paradise for experts and advanced intermediates. You will find some fun graded runs and moguls here that will test your leg strength and balance.
Intermediate-Advanced: Warm up on the long smooth runs of Centennial, Crystal and Doublejack. They’re excellent for a fast cruise. There are also some doable blacks here that intermediates will be fine with, other than The Burn, a lightly wooded area with moguls and jumps.
Beginners: The slopes on Peak 10 are best left alone if you’re a beginner or lower intermediate.
Ski Holidays in Breckenridge
Breckenridge Ski Passes
The Breckenridge ski resort falls under the governance of Vail and you can purchase tickets in both resorts as part of the Epic Pass bundle - a good idea if you intend to head to one of Vail’s other resorts to acclimatise yourself to the high altitude in Breckenridge.
Other than the Epic Pass Bundle, there are three other ticket types for skiing in Breckenridge; 7-day pass, local pass and Summit Value day pass which gives you up to 4-days of skiing. Discounts are available for children 12 and under together with adults over 65. Find out more information about ski lift passes in Breckenridge here.
You will find a handful of ski equipment hire stores in Breckenridge village and on the mountain. You can also save some omen by booking online at rentskis.com and get your ski equipment delivered to your hotel.
Family Fun in Breckenridge
Breckenridge is recognised as one of the most family-friendly resorts in the United States. There are several smooth and easy slopes dedicated to young children and beginners of all ages together with plenty of other runs that are ideal for progressive kids looking to improve their skills.
The resort reception centre also offers plenty of activities away from the trails. There are two climbing walls, an indoor pool and a range of sports activities including basketball, racquetball and tennis. Children aged six and under can also get involved with the MiniMites Hockey group.
Along Main Street is Eric’s Arcade where you can play video games including age-old classics such a Pac-Man and Pinball or why not pay a visit to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory - tasty treats for all the family.
When to Go?
March is arguably the best month for Breckenridge. The weather is warmer and the snow is fresher - perfect conditions for a great skiing holiday in America.
With 25-feet of annual snowfall, Breckenridge is a snow-sure ski holiday destination all the family can enjoy. The mid-slopes are shielded by trees which keeps the powder fresher for longer. High winds in the higher climes can harden the snow and make conditions tricky, but this is rare thanks to a healthy dose of snow dumps throughout the season.
Because Breckenridge is located at such a high altitude, it can be hit by cold gusty winds so make sure you wrap up warm and protect your face. If you don’t have a tolerance for cold, the springtime sun in April makes ski conditions ideal.
Visitors can access Breckenridge ski areas from 0800-1730 on the gondola. Chairlifts are in operation between 0900 and 1600. Ski season runs from midNovember to mid-April.