There are few, if any, ski resorts in the world that can match the quality of service and planning Breckenridge offers beginners. To give you an idea of the scale of the operation, more than 600 instructors are employed teaching more than 90,000 lessons between them each winter. The main learning areas are at Peak 8 which has a dedicated beginners area, recently ‘re-modelled’ to be still more state-of-the-art, complete with its own lift.
There are also beginners areas at the Base of Peak 9 and as soon as the novice skier/boarder has gained a little confidence, the flattering wide green runs off the Quicksilver high speed quad await.
With half of the ski area terrain graded intermediate, there’s plenty to keep the recreational skier happy with runs up to 6km long. There’s a good mix of terrain too with gladed runs, long cruisers and intermediate level bowl skiing with nine high speed quad and six-seater chairlifts to speed you back up it all. The runs are spread across all four peaks, but Peak 9 is perhaps the leading centre for intermediate level trails.
Breckenridge already had a reputation for plenty of tough terrain when the opening of the Imperial Express Superchair made accessing the resort’s steepest terrain, including the double black diamond ski runs off peaks 7 and 8, a whole lot easier. More challenges are to be found on the south side of Peak 10 where there are big moguls (bumps), natural kickers and some excellent glade (thinned woodland) terrain. Some of the best runs include the Boneyard trail and well titled Psychopath, and there’s some good chute skiing at Whale's Tail and the Lake Chutes.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Breckenridge holds a key place in the history of snowboarding, having been one of the first resorts in the world to embrace the then new sport in the mid 1980s. Back then the resort was also one of the first to stage a major snowboard competition, The World Snowboarding Championships, or 'The World’s' as they were known, back in 1986. The resort has never looked back and now has four terrain parks and three pipes, including the internationally renowned Freeway Terrain Park/Pipe. These parks provide a route for all abilities from beginners to experts to progress and Breckenridge remains one of the world’s top snowboarding destinations.
Cross country skiing on prepared tracks is offered at the Breckenridge Nordic Center ( 1200 Ski Hill Rd; +1 970 453 6855; http://www.breckenridgenordic.com) at Peak 8 which has 32km of trails laid out in the White River National Forest. Trails for all standards are available and there are also off-track facilities that include a lodge with small cafe, and a rental, repair and retail shop. For first-timers or improvers there’s a cross country ski school.
Average Snow And Weather Conditions
Despite enjoying an average of 300 sunny days year, in a neat statistical match, Breckenridge is among the snowiest places on earth receiving some 300 inches (762cm) of snow per year. Add in to this mix the fact that the resort’s lifts stretch up to be among the 10 highest in the world, after starting already nearly two miles above sea level at the base, and you can see you have the ingredients for a pretty snowsure destination. Just to go that extra bit, the resort has covered a quarter of its busier slopes with snowmaking.