Putting some credentials on the table that this isn’t just your next basic b writing about their glorious mountain vacation, who’s only there to take pictures with snowy backgrounds. My parents have had me on the slopes since I was three, and have been to most every mountain peak across Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. I love a good ski trip, and have so many tips and tricks to share with you! This is full guide to Breckenridge – why I chose this ski resort, tips for saving money on lodging, where to eat in town and on the mountain, and things to do besides ski.
Breck is one of the closest resorts to the Denver Airport. When you’re going to the mountains, plan on having 2 days worth of travel. It’s a plane ride to Denver plus a 1.5 – 3 hour plus drive to the mountains!
Winter Park is the closest, but smaller mountains for actually skiing. For the largest ski resorts and highest number of trails on the mountain, Breckenridge and Vail are the way to go in Colorado.
You can’t go wrong with either Vail or Breckenridge, they are my top two. Vail is more of a “village” with all the restaurants and shops at the base of the mountain. Breckenridge has more of a downtown feel with a Main Street, and reminds me of the small towns scattered across western and northern Michigan. We went with Break this trip because we did Vail last year.
What To Do
Obviously, ski and snowboard! That should be the main purpose of the trip, but if you are there with a group or just want to see what a ski town is like, there is plenty to do! From snow tubing to snowmobiling, there are other activities for you to participate in! More details in the “Where to Play” section below!
Breckenridge is a great spot to be in on all the action on the slopes without actually having to put on ski equipment. You can take the gondola ride from town to the base of Peak 8, which has the most activity on the mountain. There are 3 main restaurants and bars at the base of Peak 8, with Robbie’s Tavern having the best view, food and drinks. We had friends come here to watch us snowboard down the slopes, and we took a few breaks to chill with them on the patio.
Where to Stay
You’ll most likely be renting a condo or a house, depending on group size, and there are an abundance of ski in / ski out properties. We stayed at the base of 4 O’Clock Run, which was the perfect combination of ski in / ski out and walking to Main Street downtown at night! Any condos along that run when looking at the map I highly recommend.
MONEY SAVING TIP on LODGING!
You’ll have the most luck finding a place to stay on VRBO and HomeAway. I looked at AirBnB, but found better options on the other sites. To save money, I would find listings on VRBO then go to google and search the complex name. I was able to save a few hundred dollars in VRBO service and cleaning fees by finding it directly on the property management site instead. Most of the ski properties are rented out through management companies, and can be listed in multiple places if you know what to search for. I found the exact same listing directly on Summit Mountain Rentals website, and saved $400 in service and cleaning fees associated with VRBO.
Where to Eat
In Town Eats & Bars
Breckenridge is a tricky place for large groups looking to eat together, because most of the casual dining spots don’t take reservations. After a few attempts to eat without a wait, we stumbled into The Gold Pan Saloon, which had the casual vibe we were going for. Surprisingly, they also had great happy hour for food and drinks ($3 sliders or tacos, $2 ribs).
The next night, we ate at Mi Casa, a delicious Mexican restaurant with bomb margaritas. They are quick to serve you, and we were able to expand our table of 4 to a table of 8.
We didn’t dabble in any high end dining during this trip – we went from the slopes straight into town most nights. If you are looking to make a reservation, we found out afterward Modi’s is a great spot for that!
Another spot to try is Breckenridge Brewery – we didn’t make it in but heard good things!
On the Mountain Eats
I’m a sucker for packing a PB&J in my Camelbak and calling it good, but this trip we didn’t exactly make it to the grocery store until day 3. We ate at Pioneer Crossing on the top of Peak 7, which is a new addition as of 2017. It’s typical, “American” food, but I was able to find a healthy option with a Southwest grilled chicken sandwich. We liked it so much we ate there twice, and the second time we ate at the bar serving craft cocktails.
As I mentioned earlier, Robbie’s Tavern at the base of Peak 8 was also delicious and a fun way to meet up with friends who aren’t skiers! Highly recommend their flatbreads. The picture below is the view on Robbie’s patio.
Where to Play
On the mountain, duh! Depending on how many days you are skiing, it’s almost always going to be cheaper to buy a lift ticket at least 7 days in advance online. Save yourself the hassle of waiting in line day of of take care of it before you go! Since skiing is a bit obvious, I’ll move on to two other snow activities to enjoy while you’re there: snow tubing and snowmobiling!
Frisco is the closest major town to Breckenridge (about 9 miles) and they have an adventure park with tubing, Make an online reservation in advance!
This was more adventurous, fun and harder than I expected! The mountains were gorgeously uninhabited, and the landscape looked like a Snow White version of the Sahara desert. In addition to the amazing view, you were going up to 45 mph traversing up and down the rolling hills like a roller coaster. We went to White Mountain Snowmobile Tours and did the Performance Tour through the back bowls. The tour also weaved in and out of the woods, making it feel like a real life video game. They were about an hour drive from Breckenridge, closer to Copper Mountain. There’s also another company closer to Breckenridge, Breckenridge Snowmobiling.
Trip Logistics & Itinerary
Breckenridge is about a 1.5 hour drive from the airport. I highly recommend getting a car! There are shuttles offered, but for going to the grocery store, driving to other activities like tubing or snowmobiling, a car is necessary.
The ideal trip length is 4 – 6 days, with 2 – 4 dedicated to skiing. As an avid skier and snowboarder, I’m not getting all the way out to the mountain just to turn around again. Our trip was technically 6 days, with 4 days snowboarding.
Day 1 – TRAVEL / CHILL DAY – recommend arriving early and grabbing breakfast/lunch downtown Denver at Union Station (Mercantile or Snooze!) Before taking the 2 drive to Breckenridge. Use this day to check in, go to the grocery store, rent your equipment if needed, and walk around town! Union station picture here:
Day 2 – SNOWBOARD DAY – Wake up at 6:30 to start breakfast (eggs, croissant rolls, bacon, we FEAST even if we’re not hungry to fuel us for the day) and bundle up in all the layers. Walk 50 feet to the chairlift at 8:30 am and snowboard ALL.DAY. Hot Tub!
Day 3 – SNOWBOARD DAY – repeat breakfast and snowboard day
Day 4 – SNOWBOARD / SNOWMOBILE DAY – repeat morning and snowboard routine, except come off the mountain at 12 to transition to snowmobiling at 3:30!
Day 5 – SNOWBOARD DAY –repeat earlier days! Fall asleep at 8:30 pm…wake up at midnight to start packing….see below!
Day 6 – TRAVEL NIGHT/DAY – 5:30 am flight AKA leave Breckenridge for the Denver Airport at 2 am. Ross drove in the middle of the night to the airport for us, I attempted to stay awake with him, and arrived back in Nashville by 10:30 am. We would 100% do it again to have that extra day of snowboarding!
One final note on skiing vs snowboarding!I recently switched to snowboarding instead of skiing. Technically, the first time I tried snowboarding was when I was 14, but broke my wrist doing it at 16, and went back to skiing. Last year, when Ross and I went to Vail, I picked up snowboarding again after taking a 3 day lesson. I HIGHLY recommend lessons, you’ll learn faster and understand proper techniques.If you’re just starting and choosing between both,snowboarding is hard and slower to learn than skiing. Skiing is easier to control your speed, less falls, and faster to pick up if you’re a newbie!
What other topics related to ski trips would you like to know? I’m thinking a ‘‘what to pack’’ guide, and would love your feedback!