Our Favorite Ski Runs in Summit County

There are several different ways to glide on snow in this world so it’s a good thing that there are so many different runs at each ski area in Summit County. Summit County offers 9,877 skiable acres of inbound terrain, so the variety of skiing and riding that is available to snow enthusiasts is almost infinite. Each of these ski areas offer a little something for everyone, but also have characteristics that make each one unique in Summit County. Here is a rundown of some of our favorite runs at each ski area.

Breckenridge – Known for a well-rounded mix of terrain that leans a little toward expert/extreme. Breckenridge is so expansive that beginners are skiing easy runs on the bottom of Peak 9 and don’t even know about the heart pounding extreme terrain just a couple thousand feet above them:

  • Imperial Bowl – The classic, accessible expert run at Breckenridge. Ride the Independence SuperChair to the top of Peak 9. Do the short (but lung-busting) hike to the ridge and take in the best view in Summit County before dropping into this long but wide open black diamond that runs next to the lift.
  • Lake Chutes – The Lake Chutes are located a very short hike to the skier’s right from the top of the Imperial Express, and are comprised of that steep wall you can see when looking up and just to the left of the lift. Starting at almost 13,000 feet, the Lake Chutes are the highest inbound runs at Breckenridge and one of the steepest.
  • The Burn – The Burn makes up a good bit of the north side of Peak 10. The Burn is named just for that very reason. Around 1900, a forest fire struck that area of Peak 10 and almost reached town. You can still see burnt tree stumps dotting the run. Classified as a single black diamond, the Burn offers fantastic tree skiing that is challenging and easily lapped on the Falcon Super Chair.
  • Horseshoe Bowl – The Horseshoe Bowl is the iconic bowl that you can see clearly on Peak 8. It is accessed by the T-Bar and offers a variety of steeps and chutes to test the best skiers on the mountain.

Keystone – Keystone is Summit County’s “family” resort. Not that Keystone doesn’t have some great expert skiing (especially tree skiing), but Keystone’s claim to fame is its long, mellow groomed runs on Dercum Mountain. Keystone is a great place to take beginners, drop them off at ski school, and head to the Outback for some hard-core tree skiing action.

  • Schoolmarm –Located right at the top of Dercum Mountain, Schoolmarm is the longest beginner’s run in Summit County. Running 3.5 miles and zig-zagging across the mountain, Schoolmarm is the perfect challenge for the beginner skier.
  • Frenchman – Keystone’s most popular ski run is Frenchman. Frenchman drops right off from the skier’s left of the Mountain House at the top of Dercum Mountain, and is an undulating mix of a semi-steep and gentle groomed run. It is long and you can get some pretty good speed on it.
  • The Grizz – Follow the Numbers! The Grizz is one of the best tree runs EVER! Located just skier’s left of the Outback Express in the Outback (more like a U-turn to the left off the lift) you know you are on the right run when you see the yellow placards on trees with numbers “1 – 14” on them. The run starts with pockets of moderately steep, well-spaced trees and gets steeper and tighter until you end up in a gully that goes on for what feels like forever. Eventually, you get spit out on the run that leads back to the OutBack Express.
  • A–51 Terrain parks – If you are into rails, boxes, and all kinds of original features A-51 has more different features than all the other ski acres put together. Well, maybe not that many – but it will feel like it. In fact, there are so many terrain parks and features that you could get lost just in the terrain parks! Also, there is a small (and short) 2-seater lift that will get you back, without having to go down to the Peru lift and take all that time to get back to the goods.

Arapaho Basin – There’s a reason they call it “The Legend.” Although A-Basin caters to the more advanced skier and rider, there are beginner runs and the high alpine scenery is jaw dropping.  If you are looking to test yourself, A-basin is the ski area for you.

  • The Steep Gullies and Beavers – Access to the newest terrain in Summit County is from the Pali chair. The Steep Gullies and Beavers at A-Basin are legendary indeed! The Steep Gullies and the Beavers are now open, and although you must hike back to the Pali Chair it is worth it. The Steep Gullies are exactly as advertised, providing a stunning steep chute skiing experience. The Beavers provide an expansive set of gladed runs and extreme terrain. If you can hit it on a powder day, get into Faceshot Gully – it will live up to its name.
  • The Spine to the Rock Garden – Ride the Pali for this one. The Spine to the Rock Garden is the “local’s favorite”, to be sure. The Spine is the “double fall line” that falls off just past the top of the Pali Cornice. Most nights, the wind blows on the Spine so it gets smooth and creamy. As you tear across the top of the Spine it quickly falls into a 40+ degree pitch and ends where a small ridge pops up about midway down the Pali Face. From there you can go in any direction. But if you bear skier’s right across Main Street and up the ridge on the other side, you come to the top of the Rock Garden, a steep set of “S” style turns that will take you down to a traverse out or straight through some trees to the Pali-Wog traverse, and back to the Pali chair.
  • The East Wall – Ride the Lenawee Lift to access the East Wall. If you like steeps and lots of rock drops, seek the East Wall. The Upper East Wall is an imposing edifice that can be accessed by hiking from the north Pole Gate or the staircases that go up from the Lower East Wall area. Simply put, it’s steep as hell! The Lower East Wall is accessed by taking Falcon to the entry gate. Get a lot of speed up going on Falcon, as the East Wall’s entrance is a steep uphill. Once inside, you’ll be in a playground of rock drops and other natural features.

Copper Mountain – Copper Mountain is an amazing experience. It offers a little bit of everything for everyone. From easy groomers to spine chilling steeps, a huge half pipe and some of the best tree skiing in the county, Copper has it all.

  • Lower Enchanted Forest – The Lower Enchanted Forest is a little bit difficult to get to but this is why the snow can be so amazing for so long – especially on a powder day. You can’t really “lap” it so it sees less traffic than other popular runs. It’s not super steep, but the trees are excellently spaced and you can just rip it up. The best way to access it is to take the Storm King lift and then drop in via Upper Enchanted Forest.
  • Little Burn – Located directly under the Timberline Express, Little Burn is one of the best mogul runs in the county. Little Burn offers low-angle bumps that seem to go on forever, and since it is directly under the lift you can show of your skills to a hopefully approving crowd.
  • Spaulding Bowl – Hop on the Storm King Express and hook a left to access Spaulding Bowl. Steeper, more challenging terrain is to your left, and mellower slopes are to your right.
  • Superpipe – We can’t write about the best ski runs without including at least one half-pipe. Copper’s Superpipe boasts 22’ high walls and is not for the faint of heart. If you are into park and pipe, Copper has a full variety of slopestyle features as well.

We love all the skiing in Summit County and encourage you to get out there and try some of our favorite runs. We also think that there’s other place to spend your down time than in Breckenridge. Breckenridge offers the best “real” town in Summit County, and has the right amount of activities, events and nightlife to make your next ski adventure truly memorable.

For the best deals on Breckenridge Lodging visit Breckenridge discount Lodging.

6 Holiday Drinks to Lift Your Spirits

photo courtesy of designsponge.com

Wassail – Photo by Design Sponge

Holiday season is upon us. That means friendly gatherings, parties, and spending quality time with the ones you love! What better way to unwind than mixing up a festive cocktail and catching up with friends and family by the fire while the snow falls (and it is falling!). Hot or cold, bourbon or vodka, cider or eggnog we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite holiday libations.

Holiday Peppermint Mocha (makes about 8 cups)

Level: Intermediate

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 8 packets instant hot cocoa mix
  • 1-1/2 cups brewed espresso or double-strength dark roast coffee
  • 3/4 cup peppermint schnapps liqueur or 1 teaspoon peppermint extract plus 3/4 cup additional brewed espresso
  • Whipped cream and candy cane for garnish, optional

Preparation: In a large saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of pan. Add cocoa mix; whisk until blended. Add espresso and heat through. Remove from heat; stir in liqueur. If desired, serve with whipped cream.

Winter Forest Mule (1 serving, double as needed)

Level: Easy

Ingredients

  • 5 oz Gin or Breckenridge Vodka
  • Splash of cranberry juice
  • Dash of simple syrup
  • 1 Ginger Beer (we prefer Cock n’ Bull)
  • Garnishes: 1 rosemary sprig, orange slice, and sugared cranberries

Preparation: Mix gin or vodka, cranberry juice, simple syrup and ginger beer in a copper mug over ice. Garnish with your rosemary sprig, orange slice and a few sugared cranberries on a toothpick. Voila! Holiday forest in a copper mug. Employee submission by Jenna Fickenscher.

Maple Breckenridge Bourbon Eggnog (makes about 8 cups)

Level: Hard

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup maple syrups
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups Breckenridge Bourbon
  • 16 strips crisply cooked bacon

Preparation: Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on low speed until frothy (about 30 seconds). Increase speed to medium-high and carefully beat until egg whites are about the consistency of shaving cream (about 90 seconds). Reduce speed to medium. With mixer running, add half of maple syrup and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Transfer whites to a large bowl. Do not wash bowl. Add egg yolks and remaining syrup to now-empty stand mixer bowl and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow and ribbony, shutting off machine and scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary, about 2 minutes total. Add milk, cream, and Breckenridge Bourbon and mix on low speed to combine. Using a rubber spatula or handheld whisk, fold the whipped whites into the egg yolk/milk mixture until completely incorporated. Serve by ladling into goblets and garnishing with a bacon strip.

Special Equipment: stand mixer, hand blender with whisk attachment, or handheld electric mixer

Wassail (makes about 6 cups)

Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (or 2 teaspoons cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • Bourbon or whiskey (optional, but highly recommended)

Preparation: In a large dutch oven or crock pot, bring all of the ingredients to a low boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for a couple of hours. Serve hot; spike with bourbon/whiskey if desires. Garnish with whole cinnamon sticks.

Hot Buttered Rum (makes about 4 servings)

Level: Easy

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ cup spiced rum
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 sticks cinnamon (for garnish)

Preparation: Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 4-cup or larger measuring cup. Add the rum and then 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until the butter mixture dissolves. Divide the buttered rum among 4 mugs. Garnish with the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Cosmo Blanco (1 serving, double as needed)

Level: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 shot vodka
  • 1 shot triple sec
  • 1 ½ shot white cranberry juice
  • ½ shot freshly squeeze lime juice

Preparation: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh cranberries or orange zest twist. Employee submission by Kimberly Tramontana.

So there you have it. Are any of these cocktails on your favorite holiday list? If not, we’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite festive drink over the holidays? Share a photo of your specialty cocktail with us on Instagram using #BestOfBreck!

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Best of Breckenridge! Wishing you a safe and Happy New Year!

Local’s Guide: What to Do in Breckenridge This Winter

It’s no secret that 2020 has presented some major challenges thus far; and, sometimes it’s difficult to decide on what to do or where to go to make the most of our free time in the safest way possible. It’s important to factor in the current pandemic, but it’s also important to make sure our lives are not being put on hold. As a local living in Breckenridge, I see my mountain town as a perfect destination for my friends and family to not only visit, but to truly have fun despite the hurdles that this year has sent our way. 

As you think about what to do with your vacation time and how to do it safely, where do you see yourself? I see myself enjoying the outdoors and reconnecting with nature alongside my loved ones. I see myself playing outside, with well over six feet between myself and those I don’t want to be in close proximity with. This is why Breckenridge is the perfect place to be this winter. Here’s a list of some of the things that I know I will be doing (beyond skiing) to make the most of my winter in the 2020/2021 season.

 

  1. Sledding – The options for sledding hills around Breckenridge are truly endless. One of my personal favorites is Carter Park. This activity is sure to bring smiles (whether you’re watching or participating) in a socially distant setting outside. 
  2. Cross-Country Skiing – This is the perfect way to get in a little workout, breathe in the fresh air and spend some quality time outdoors.
  3. Snow Shoeing – This is also an awesome alternative to skiing. You can make it as hard or easy as you want! Pack a lunch and explore some places you never thought you’d find yourself in the winter.
  4. Après – This one is a given. Who doesn’t enjoy finishing skiing, snowshoeing (or literally anything) and ending the day with a beverage and good company? It really adds the cherry on top to a good day. Share some stories of the day, laughs and cheers to the good times that Breckenridge has brought you!
  5. Fat-Tire Biking – Who knew biking on snow could be so fun! Rent some gear from one of the many spots that offer fat-tire bikes in Breckenridge and explore some trails or ride through town! Don’t forget your helmet and gloves, though!
  6. Spa Day – Ah yes, spa day. Unwind, relax and treat yourself with a massage, facial or just hang out in the adults-only grotto all day and let the bubbles take your worries away. My personal favorite is Infinity Spa.
  7. Ice Skating – Can you say perfect date night?! Check out the ice rink at the Grand Colorado on Peak 8! 
  8. Fly Fishing – There’s a sweet spot in the winter where the rivers have either yet to freeze over, or they’re melting just in time and the fish are ready to bite! Walk into any local fly fishing shop, ask them where the fish are and they will be more than happy to direct you to the perfect spot. Dress warm and make sure you have all the right equipment!
  9. Dog Sledding – I went dog sledding for the first time last winter and all I can say is, “wow.” All my favorite things combined: dogs, the outdoors, smiles and sledding. Check out Good Times Adventure Tours  and make your reservation now!
  10. Hot Tubbing – who doesn’t like slipping in a warm tub after a long day of adventuring?
  11. Movie Night – However you feel most comfortable—in or out! Rent a movie and pop some corn or head over to Breckenridge’s Speak Easy Movie Theater, where you can see the best flicks. Not to mention, you can also enjoy a nice glass of wine there, too 😉 . 
  12. Hot Chocolate & Baking – An extremely underrated activity for those days when it might just be a little too cold out, or maybe your legs are still shaking from skiing the day before!
  13. Snowmobiling – Yup, it’s as fun and fast as it sounds! Grab your family or group of close friends and make your reservation today at Breckenridge Snowmobiling.
  14. BreckCreate Art Classes – Check out the classes that BreckCreate has to offer and explore your creative side with some professionals.
  15. Dinner Sleigh Rides – Every year, I go back to Two Below Zero for a magical dinner sleigh ride. It is one of my favorite winter activities. There’s something so beautiful about riding a horse-drawn sleigh through the glistening snow-covered trees under the moon then drinking a warm cocoa with some entertainment and a fantastic meal to finish the night off.
  16.  Gr8 Escape Room at the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 – Put your detective hat on and test your problem solving skills with some friends. Call the Grand Colorado’s Activities Desk to book your reservation: 970-547-8781.
  17. Snowcat Tours – Reach new heights and explore the places you never thought you’d find yourself! Not to mention, the COOLEST form of transportation ever.
  18. Historical Tours with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance – Go back in time to when Breckenridge was all but a small mining town with a few saloons. The guides at the Heritage Alliance are sure to make you smile and you will walk away feeling like a true history buff.
  19. Gold Runner Coaster – Ride a roller coaster on a mountain in the middle of winter? Yes, please! Get your tickets online at Breckenridge Ski Resort.