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BACK IN BRECK - James Cove, Breckenridge
Thursday February 23, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI returns to one of its favourite large resorts in North America, Breckenridge in Colorado. So, what makes it special?

I have a soft spot for Breckenridge and it seems others do too as it is the most popular resort in the US for British skiers and snowboarders.

There are some practicals in its favour: a direct flight to Denver, a 2-hour transfer, a vast range of accommodation options, a host of holidays offered by many British ski tour operators, competitive pricing by its owner and operator (Vail Resorts), good skiing for all levels, a great ski school etc.... etc....

But all of that doesn't include what I like - it is one of the quintessential all-round US ski resorts.

Yee haa!

Breckenridge, ColoradoBreckenridge, Colorado
















Other resorts have better skiing, some feel more American but for me this is where it all rolls together for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.

It was founded in 1859 and its initial wealth was founded on gold-mining. 

Its mining history is still in evidence in the architecture and general feel of the place.

I have been coming here on and off for a decade.

I was here a few years ago when Peak 6 opened and visited in January 2014.

This time I decided to visit the neighbouring resorts of Keystone and Arapahoe Basin that can be included on the lift pass.

A-Basin is set for a major expansion and the resort comes highly recommended - see here for a separate PlanetSKI news story on the development and here for our daily blog from Colorado on our continuing road trip.

"Breckenridge has always been the perfect resort for beginners and intermediates with superb grooming plus wide open runs with a gentle pitch on the lower part of the mountain," said Michael Bennett, the MD of the UK tour operator, Ski Independence.

"However there's also lots of challenging terrain and steep pitches for expert skiers and it always feels special taking the Express Superchair to a staggering 12,840 feet which is 3,913 metres. Another plus is the huge choice of lodging in Breck with a good proportion of it ski-in/ski-out plus the resort is a relatively short transfer from Denver," Michael added.

For details of the holidays offered in Breckenridge by Ski Independence see here.


There are 3,308 acres of skiing and the slopes start at 2,925m and go to 3,915m.

It has 34 lifts and many are high-speed chairlifts.

Advanced skiers head straight to Peak 6 with its bowls of powder or Peak 8 - home to the Imperial Chair, the highest lift in the USA.

Breckenridge, ColoradoBreckenridge, Colorado
















On my recent road trip visit I hiked the extra path to reach the summit that you can see in the picture above.

Breckenridge, ColoradoBreckenridge, Colorado
















The town itself is dominated by Main Street with its collection of bars and restaurants.

There are more than 100 restaurants in Breckenridge.

Many homes keep their Xmas lights up for the whole winter.

Breckenridge, ColoradoBreckenridge, Colorado















In US terms the night-life is buzzing.

A few yeas ago I did a small bar crawl with my friend Roger Ainger from Ski Independence.

"There really is a bar for every taste (excuse the pun) in Breckenridge. Top of my list is the Gold Pan Saloon on Main Street. It has the longest licence for serving liquor west of the Mississippi in the USA," said Roger.

"The ambience is definitely wild west and is not to be missed. Close by is the saloon at the rear of the Briar Rose Restaurant. The Briar Rose was a mine back in the days of Breckenridge's mining boom and this bar reflects those times."

"British visitors love the Breckenridge Brewery located at the top end of Main Street where a good selection of craft beers are brewed on the premises and where fish and chips can be eaten.

"For something totally different, try the Absinthe Bar - also on Main Street. It serves - not surprisingly - Absinthe.

"A bit of a strange one in this town but worth a visit."

The Absinthe barThe Absinthe bar















Breckenridge, ColoradoBreckenridge, Colorado















Breckenridge, ColoradoGold Pan Saloon, Breckenridge, Colorado















Breckenridge, ColoradoBreckenridge, Colorado















Breckenridge, ColoradoAngel's Hollow, Breckenridge, Colorado















The next morning after my little tour of the bars with Roger the photo below was on my camera but I couldn't quite remember which bar it was - or indeed who I was with. Wink

Breckenridge, ColoradoFriends for a night!















But Breckenridge has a serious downside for those heading from the UK - its altitude.

It may be good for the snow but it is not so easy to breathe.

Stepping off a plane with jetlag and then having to sleep at close on 3,000m does not make for a good night's sleep. Or even several nights and it usually takes 3 days to adjust.

The hotel I was staying in, The Double Tree, has an oxygen bar in the lobby for those with breathing difficulties.

Oxygen BarOxygen Bar
















Oxygen BarOxygen Bar
















And in town there is actually an oxygen bar:

Shot of O2?Shot of O2?
















If you can, my advice is to acclimatise at a lower resort first - and you get to see another ski area in the process.

In the USA there are resorts with bigger terrain, more challenging skiing, better beginner slopes, but for many Brits, me included, Breckenridge is where it all comes together.


Breckenridge, ColoradoBreckenridge, Colorado
















For details of the holidays offered to Breckenridge by Ski Independence then follow the link here.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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