00-20161118 soaking-in-the-view

How to Spend 5 Days in Breckenridge (and Why it Should Be Your Next Winter Vacation)

Spending a winter vacation in Breckenridge is like ensconcing oneself in an idyllic snow globe for every day of the visit. Here’s just what it could look like:

Day 1

Arrive in Breckenridge, ideally via shuttle such as Colorado Mountain Express so a professional can navigate the mountain roads and wintery driving conditions—and also because once in town, free public transportation is frequent, reliable, and easy.

Lodging: Choose from a myriad of lodging options in Breck, regardless of whether your priority is to A) to take a few steps and be in town, B) glide right onto the chairlift or C), cuddle up with loved ones away from it all. No location is mutually exclusive. Ski-in/ski-out lodging does not get any more central that at One Ski Hill Place, located squarely at the base of the resort’s epicenter—Peak 8—within a few feet of three chairlifts and at the top of the in-town gondola. Properties there feature a slew of amenities including indoor heated swimming pools, tasty restaurants, a mini movie theater, and private bowling alley. In town options range from the affordable but clean and super character-endowed Bivvi Hostel to a swanky private town home at One Breckenridge Place. For a quiet, away-from-it-all experience, consider The Lodge and Spa or staying at a private homes located on Peak 7, Boreas Pass or in Blue River.

Explore: Once you’re settled in, it’s time to think about your gear. When you rent online from Epic Mountain Rentals, you can schedule a delivery right to your room where experts will fit you right on your couch. Or you can choose to do a pick-up at one of their many rental shops in the area (like in the aforementioned Peak 8 base area). Once your equipment is ready for the next day, take a stroll down Main Street to get a lay of the land and be sure to check out the quirky sculptures at the Breckenridge Arts District. To get an immediate feel for the magic in store for your vacation, check out the area via horse-drawn sleigh.

Dinner: For creative cocktails and a fresh take on pastas, sandwiches and soup, grab happy hour and/or dinner at local’s favorite Twist

Day 2

Breakfast: It’s your first day and you’re going to want to get after it, so grab a quick coffee and freshly baked bagel or muffin at Clint’s on Main Street and head for the slopes.

Slope choice: It’s probably best to ease into it (you’re starting at 9,600 feet of elevation, don’t forget) so start out on Peak 9, home to long, wide, delightfully uncrowded green and blue-rated cruising runs such as Cashier and Colombia. If your legs are feeling strong and you want to step it up a notch with something steeper, veer onto American or Peerless.

Lunch: Another allure of Peak 9 is that you’ve got several lunch options, including on-mountain casual dining at Ten Mile Station or The Overlook as well as Breckenridge Village hot spots like Quandary Grille.

Dinner: You’re likely to be a little beat after your first day of high-elevation gliding. The Warming Hut is a cozy, less-crowded spot offering comfort food (brisket, mac ’n’ cheese, meatloaf) with a culinary twist.

<<Spend more time on the mountain by having your rental gear waiting for you when you arrive at the resort.>>

Day 3

Breakfast: Head directly to Peak 8 for an omelet or pancakes at The Living Room inside the base lodge. 

Slope choice: With the mighty Horseshoe Bowl looming overhead, expand your cruiser prowess on Peak 7, where blue runs like Pioneer and Wirepatch feature rollercoaster-like waves and where you can easily pop over to Peak 6 to escape the crowds on the wide-open snowfields of Bliss or Reverie. Want to bump it up? Try a short (but demanding) moguls run on Peak 8—High Anxiety or Rounders will give those joints a good jolt. 

Lunch: Sevens at the base of Peak 7 has one of the most delicious bloody Marys around, thanks to its generous portion of added bacon. Plus you’ll find scrumptious pizzas and sandwiches. 

Après Ski: Get your party on at the T-Bar at the base of Peak 8. Frequent live music, laughs, and drink specials last til dusk and beyond. 

Dinner:  Keep the crowds close and the vibes jubilant over a mountain of nachos or fish ’n’ chips at the original Breckenridge Brewery.

Après Après: Within stumbling distance of the brewery, Cecilia’s is Breck’s most lively late night spot, with ear-vibrating dance music thumping into the wee hours.

Day 4

Maybe it’s time for a day off of the slopes. Luckily, the adrenal glands can stay charged while the legs take a break.

Breakfast: Call in your order for the best (and biggest) breakfast burrito in town at Cuppa Joe and sip a cappuccino surrounded by locals.

Snowmobiling: See? We said you’d still get your rush. Let the machine take the impact as you chop through powder and soar around ridgelines taking in sweeping panoramas of the ski area and Ten Mile Range. Good Times Adventures offers guided snowmobile tours through old mining ruins and forgotten forests. If you’d like to keep your transportation engine-free, dog sled tours romp through sunny and shaded trails.

Ice skating: The nightly battleground of numerous local hockey head-to-heads, the Stephen C. Ice Arena offers skating lessons, rentals and both an indoor and outdoor rink.

Dinner: Treat yourselves to Breck’s fine-dining institution, The Hearthstone. The seasonally fresh offerings range from locally sourced favorites like Colorado Lamb and Blackberry Elk to daily delivered ingredients fueling dishes like the succulent Wild Caught Red Snapper.

Movie night: The Speakeasy is one of Breck’s best-kept secrets—a comfy, friendly, one-theater house showing a steady string of new releases.

<<Be ready for that ski vacation. Here are 11 tips on packing for the slopes.>>

Day 5

Never has “time flies when you’re having fun” rang any truer. Let’s make the last day live up to the grand finale it should be, shall we?

Breakfast: Load up on a quick but thick bagel sandwich or cinnamon bun at Cool River Coffee.

Slope choice: Pack a couple of PB&Js and plenty of water because we’re hitting all of the points on the map today. Start at the base of Peak 9 for a cruiser warm-up down Briar Rose to head up to Peak 10 on the Falcon Super Chair. Don’t be intimidated by Peak 10’s expert-only status. Crystal and Centennial are wide and groomed.

Head over to Peak 8 and make your way to Imperial Express—the highest chairlift in North America that tops out at 12,840 feet. The least terrifying way to get down is on Alpine Alley down the ridgeline. From here, you can relax, hitting runs on Peaks 7 and 6 at your leisure, ending your day with a cruise down Four-O’Clock Road all the way to town. You’ll have bragging rights for hitting all five peaks plus Breck’s lowest and highest points all in one day.

Après ski: Off the beaten path, Broken Compass Brewery whips up a rotating and always exquisite selection of brews and is also conveniently located next to the Breckenridge Distillery, which offers tongue-tingling, high-octane fluids to hammer home those ski memories.

Dinner: You’d best hit another of Breck’s oldest and most time-tested mainstays, the family-friendly Downstairs at Eric’s or spicy fare and great margaritas at Mi Casa.

A-list entertainment: Depending on when you’re in town, there is likely an exclusive art exhibit at Old Masonic Hall, a live production at The Breckenridge Theater or internationally acclaimed musician performing at The Riverwalk. Check the calendar here.

Featured image provided by brando.n

About the author