The Best Ski Resorts in North America: 10. Breckenridge Ski Resort

Breckenridge, Colorado

skiing breckenridge

Breckenridge Ski Resort.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Everyone knows Breck’s name, whether for its 374 yearly powder inches, for having North America’s highest lift, or for encompassing Colorado’s biggest historic district. Yes, this Vail Resorts-owned place is quite famous and unlikely to get less so in the foreseeable future.

Which is perhaps why things are on the expensive side here, and why six resort-owned hotels exist to cater to any whimsy. The ski-in/ski-out One Ski Hill Place, for one, proffers classy guestrooms, three restaurants, a massage center, even a bowling alley.

To entertain yourself at the resort in non-ski ways, ride the new Gold Runner alpine coaster, snowmobile, take a dog sled, or browse any of seven on-mountain gear shops. Within a mile’s radius is an ice-skating rink, a movie theater, sleigh rides, and free transportation to the other highlights of Breckenridge and Summit counties—although more than 25,000 cars took advantage of a $5 carpooling incentive last season.

Breck looks out for the earth in other ways too, enforcing major recycling and composting programs, buying wind-energy credits to offset 100 percent of the resort’s energy use, and upgrading snowmaking methods to save water. Greenies aren’t as pleased, however, about the planned 543-acre expansion into land that’s currently wild habitat.

That’ll be in addition to the existing 2,358 skiable acres, which cover 155 trails and 3,398 vertical feet connected by a diversity of 31 high-speed lifts whose capacity approaches 38,000 people per hour. There are also two terrain parks and an Olympic-sized halfpipe. More than half the terrain here is restricted to highly skilled athletes, and gets shredded by the likes of Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Gretchen Bleiler, and Tanner Hall during the annual Dew Tour in mid-December.

The ski school stocks high-caliber instructors and runs programs specifically for women, seniors, and wannabe snowboarders. Three daycare centers take babies as little as eight weeks old and makes sure the tots get to play outside. Should you wipe out, the ski patrol’s pretty big: more than 250 members.

Breckenridge is a jewel box of a town with some 200 boutiques and a full-fledged après scene: One of the newer restaurants is cafeteria-style Ski Hill Grill, whose views are of the action on the slopes. The village also has dozens of bars (Breckenridge Brewery and the historic Gold Pan Saloon are among the best), nightclubs (head to Cecelia’s first), live-music venues, and in January, the annual Ullr Fest, a “wacky winter festival,” as well as the International Snow Sculpture Championships. Spring Fever, a roundup of music and sports contests, runs mid-March to April 14.

CONTACT: (888) 858-6572, breckenridge.com
SEASON: Mid-November to mid-April
TICKETS: General: $99 (reduced-price half-day tickets offered; discounts offered to military personnel, travel agents, and flight attendants), children: $54, ages 65 and older: $89, ages 4 and younger: free

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