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The Essential Guide To Breckenridge: Everything Snowboarders Need To Know

Breckenridge resort guide

Best. Week. Ever. It starts when your boots touch down in Breckenridge, Colorado and ends when your memory and memory cards are overflowing with snowy sights.

At Breck (as regulars know it), snowboarding is high altitude and high octane. The resort tops out just shy of 13,000 feet, and you feel every inch of it. (Check out our altitude sickness prevention tips.) Breck has long been ahead of the rest. It was the first major resort in Colorado to allow snowboarding in 1984. Pro-shredders, newbies, and families can all feel right at home on one of the Breckenridge’s five distinct peaks.

There are 2,900 skiable acres, which is evenly distributed between green, blue, and black runs for all abilities. Breckenridge is as popular with families as it is with pros.

With tons of terrain to explore, plan your day around Breckenridge peak by numbered peak. Peak 6 is the newest area and has intermediate runs and access to advanced hike-to-terrain at the summit. Peak 7 is all intermediate blue runs. Peak 8, which started it all, has everything from green to double black and boasts the highest elevation and a terrain park. Peak 9 has the learning area plus expert trees. Peak 10 is expert only with steep black diamond groomers.

Come ride along with us.

Where To Rent Gear

If Breckenridge is one of your first snowboard trips or you didn’t want to deal with the extra baggage, you’ll need to get set up at a rental shop before hopping on the lifts. Book online with Breck Sports, which is set to lend boards, boots, bindings, helmets, and more. You’ll get free gear delivery, free overnight storage, and multiple locations around the resort for swaps and drop-offs. Then, stick to Peak 9’s green learning zones and wide-open blue runs to get acclimated.

Best Runs at Breckenridge Resort

Breckenridge was the first resort in Colorado to allow snowboarders on its slopes. The rest followed not long after, but Breckenridge remains a rider-friendly resort 35+ years later.

The Windows on Peak 9 are lap-worthy. All you need is the E-chair to access the excellent glades and hit a different line each time.

Peak 8’s Freeway terrain park and Superpipe are a must ride and you might rub elbows with the pros. If the large features aren’t quite in your wheelhouse yet, consider Highway 9 on Peak 9 or local’s fave Park Lane.

Wanderlust is a narrow traverse that’s surprisingly enjoyable when you drop into the trees below between Peak 7 and Peak 6.

If you’re tempted to try Peak 10, stay close to the lift, because the return on Flapjack is as flat as a pancake and better avoided.

No Breck visit is complete without a ride up the Imperial Lift (at least for advanced riders) to 12,998 feet. There are standout steeps right off the lift in Imperial Bowl and below the hike-to summit, or follow the ridge to routes like Zoot Chute rarely traveled for fresh turns. It will quite literally take your breath away.

Breckenridge snow guide

Best Powder Stash at Breckenridge

With frequent snowy days (350 inches of average annual snowfall) and so many off the beaten path areas, there are powder stashes aplenty.

Crowds tend to thin and snow piles up around Peak 6. There is hike-to access to Beyond bowl, Serenity, and Six Senses when the advanced areas are open. Even lift-accessed runs have higher quality snow and better snow preservation as well.

Additionally, gladed areas farther away from the lifts hold powder long after storms have passed. No-Name and Amen off the 6 Chair or the Windows off the E-Chair are good bets.

Breckenridge powder stash peak 6

Where to Eat on Mountain

Breck’s high altitude will make the fittest riders work up an appetite early and often. The 11 on-mountain dining outlets have you covered from quick snacks to lavish lunches.

Restaurants include TenMile Station, The Overlook, and The Maggie at Peak 9. TenMile has a lively and large patio for sunny snacks and a Candy Corner for a nostalgia-filled sweet treat. At 11,274 feet, The Overlook is Breck’s highest dining experience with gorgeous views on the mountain.

Breckenridge resort restaurants

At the Peak 8 base, there’s Ski Hill Grill, T Bar, and The Living Room with the posh One Ski Hill Place surroundings. Ski Hill Grill stands out among the on-mountain dining options. It boasts the most house-made options on the mountain with mainly fast casual fare and made-from-scratch dishes plus an outdoor barbecue with house-smoked meats. And, at the top of the Colorado Chair is Vista Haus, which has ample space for warming up with a cozy meal.

At the top of Peak 7 is the new Pioneer Crossing cafeteria to relax and refuel. Or head down any one of the blue runs to reach Sevens at the bottom of Independence Super Chair for the only full-service sit-down dining experience on mountain. Think sandwiches, salads, and more in a relaxed, yet refined setting. Top it all off with mountain views and an open-air kitchen.

Breckenridge resort restaurants

Even with all those options, we’re still big fans of a brown bag lunch. Breckenridge has convenient warming huts where you can munch on your own food and get away from the crowds. Horizon hut on Peak 6 has tables and chairs, or pop down to your condo or car to refuel.

{For in-town dining and apres-ski picks, check out our Breckenridge dining and lodging guide.}

The Most Instagrammable Places at Breckenridge

Top of Imperial Lift… As the highest lift in North America, it earns a right to a spot on the ‘gram. The 360-view from the top, right off the lift or the hike-to summit at 12,998 feet, is picture-perfect.

Peak 6… Capture your companion bombing down Bliss and the stunning peaks beyond. The slope angle is *chef’s kiss* for photography.

Main Street… The historic buildings lining the street are the perfect backdrop for an apres pic. Or, better yet, snap a shot with or on the trolley, which runs along the town thoroughfare.

Breckenridge imperial lift

Why You’ll Love Riding Breckenridge

Breckenridge is quintessential Colorado, and that’s why locals and visitors from all over flock here. It’s no surprise it’s the second most visited resort in North America (right behind Vail). The Breck Effect is real.

Snowboard Traveler Insider Tips

Park at the Gondola lot in town. For one flat fee, you can ride all day, then walk to Main Street for apres, food, and evening festivities without moving your car or paying extra.

Visit on weekdays to avoid lift lines and packed slopes that can feel like obstacle courses with the number of skiers and riders.

Breckenridge ski guide

Getting There & Around

The town of Breckenridge is a 2-hour drive from Denver International Airport or about 75 minutes from regional Eagle Vail airport via Vail Pass. Breckenridge is one of several ski resorts along the busy I-70 corridor and travel times can vary significantly with weather and traffic. Expect slow driving and heavy congestion on weekends between Breck and Denver. There are often slow-downs or weather concerns near Floyd Hill, the Eisenhower Tunnel, and Georgetown, so check the Colorado Department of Transportation website and follow updates on social media for real-time conditions.

Once you’ve arrived in Breckenridge, you can basically park your car and forget it. (And you should.) The town is walking-friendly and parking along Main Street is very difficult. There’s a free trolley that runs along Main Street as well as Summit County Shuttles to travel between Breckenridge and other nearby towns and ski resorts.

The Details:

  • Hours: 9 am – 4 pm
  • Opening/Closing Dates: early-November through late-May
  • Average Annual Snowfall: 350 inches
  • Address: 1599 Ski Hill Road, Breckenridge, CO 80424
  • Nearest Airport: Denver International Airport (2+ hours driving) or Eagle-Vail Regional Airport (75 minutes driving)
  • Pass Access: Epic Pass
  • Reservations: Required for the 2020-2021 season. Log into your account on epicpass.com and select available days. (Learn more about COVID-19 safety procedures and regulations for ski resorts here.)
  • Resort Instagram handle: @Breckenridge

History of Breckenridge

You can see much of the town’s colorful history right before your eyes on Main Street. It’s the largest Historic District in the state of Colorado with buildings that date back to the 1850s. A small group of prospectors found gold in the Blue River and founded Breckenridge (originally known as Colorado’s Kingdom) in 1859 and kicked off the town’s Gold Rush. Miners arrived seeking their fortunes in one of the nearby mines. 

Mining continued until the 1940s, but determined locals kept the town alive with skiing. Camp Hale, where the original 10th Mountain Division trained both as soldiers and skiers beginning on Nov. 15, 1941, was founded as a cold-weather, mountain-specific division to fight for the U.S. and Allied forces in World War II. The division took Riva Ridge in Italy, which was a key battle on the way to Allied victory. The troops returned and helped begin many area ski resorts. In December 1961, Breckenridge Ski Area was founded and Breck became Colorado’s first ski town.

Jennifer Nied
Jennifer Nied

Jennifer Nied has more than 10 years of writing and editing experience specializing in adventure and wellness travel, fitness, and spa. A Colorado native, Jennifer has been snowboarding for more than 23 years. She is a contributing writer for Women’s Health and her work has appeared in Budget Travel, American Spa, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and more.

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1 Comment

  1. Taylor
    December 28, 2020 / 12:27 am

    Great piece on Breck! Just a bit of info I felt important to share- Breck Sports and I’m assuming most of the rental shops associated with Breck are not doing overnight storage this season due to COVID-19 protocols and the only resort storage lockers available are on Peak 8. They filled up quickly last season so I would assume they are filling up just as fast this season. I work at a rental shop and we have had a lot of customers frustrated by the fact that we aren’t allowed to store their gear including rentals or their shoes so I just wanted to try to spread the word to allow guests to plan accordingly!

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