Wow is all I can say. If any of you were up in the Colorado mountains in January, particularly in Breckenridge, it would have been hard not to notice (and play in) all of the great snowfall we received. The new year came in strong with frequent storms through the first two weeks of the month. After a little break and over a week of some calm, sunny weather, one of the biggest storms to come through Breck in several years graced the area. Over 38″ of snow fell the last few days of the month, upping the January snow total to 123″, as reported by Breckenridge Ski Resort. Obviously, the skiing & riding conditions are unbeatable right now. A 77″ settled mid-mountain base allows for fantastic coverage. Many of the upper mountain runs have never been deeper, and your chances of skiing over some rocks or tree tips are pretty slim now! Breck’s famous above-treeline expert terrain is now wide open, with ski patrol recently opening Snow White, Lake Chutes, and some of the high alpine hike-to terrain on Peak 6. If you’ve been longing to experience some of our quintessential alpine terrain, now is the time to get up to Breckenridge! Availability is tight for all weekends through about the middle of March, but don’t hesitate, there is still plenty of time left this winter for a Breck vacation.
The Hearthstone Restaurant. Image courtesy of GoBreck.
Snow graces town street lamps. Image courtesy of GoBreck.
Breckenridge Welcome Center. Image courtesy of GoBreck.
After an exciting last 6 weeks of Olympic qualifications in California, Colorado and Utah, I was thrilled to hear that Breck’s very own Bobby Brown and Keri Herman both qualified for the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics.
Bobby Brown (follow him on Twitter here) grew up skiing for local club Team Summit, and soon realized skiing bumps wasn’t nearly as fun as catching air. After winning a few Dew Tour slopestyle events in 2008 and 2009, Bobby came on the scene big time with his signature X Games slopestyle gold in Aspen in 2010. Ever since he has been a contender in any slopestyle or big air contest he has entered. The 22-year-old athlete is sponsored by Breckenridge Ski Resort, Red Bull, Salomon, Under Armour, Smith Optics and more.
Twenty-seven-year-old Keri Herman (follow Keri on Twitter here) has been living in Breck since 2004, and is one of the top female halfpipe and slopestyle skiers. Growing up in Minnesota, she focused on ice hockey as a kid and early in college, and it wasn’t until moving to Denver to attend college that Keri soon found a love for freestyle skiing. The two-time Dew Tour and four-time X Games medalist came in to the 2013 season hot off a World Cup slopestyle gold medal performance in Argentina, and won the Copper Grand Prix Olympic qualifying event this past December here in Summit County. Keri is currently sponsored by Scott, US Freeskiing, Monster Energy, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Discrete Headwear and more.
As you can imagine, both athletes have been under enormous pressure since the beginning of winter, knowing the qualifying events would be very competitive for a coveted spot on the US Olympic team. Now that both Bobby and Keri are officially going to Sochi, both skiers are excited to be able to relax just a bit, get their bodies back healthy again, and focus solely on improving their skiing for a chance to medal in February.
Hard to believe but Breckenridge locals and visitors alike have been celebrating the Ullr Festival now for over 50 years. Wait, has Breckenridge been around that long?! Yes, the town of Breckenridge was formally established in 1961, and just two years later in 1963, the very first “Ullr Dag” (Norweigan for “Ullr Day”) was started by some Breckenridge Ski Resort ski school instructors in hopes of bringing more visitors to town. Ullr is the Norweigan god of snow, and each year we pay homage to this mythical god in hopes of a bountiful snow year. As you may have heard, Breck’s roots go back to the 19th century gold rush, but now our economy revolves heavily around the “white gold.”
This year’s Ullr Festival offers a whole host of activities, most, but not all, are entirely family friendly.
- Tuesday, Jan 7 – Ullympics (6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.) Partake in wild events such as the frying pan toss, group ski racing and ski boot relay. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Breckenridge Riverwalk Center Lawn, 150 West Adams.
- Wednesday, Jan 8 – SYRCL Wild and Scenic Film (5:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m.) – High Country Conservation Center and Continental Divide Land Trust are partnering to bring the film festival to Breckenridge. HCCC and CDLT share complementary missions of resource and land conservation. We are excited to come together to bring the community thought-provoking and beautiful films to inspire involvement and action. Breckenridge Riverwalk Center, 150 West Adams Ave. $15.00
Breck’s Got Talent (Doors open at 6:00 p.m., Show at 6:30 p.m.) – Join local radio station, Always Mountain Time, for a town-wide talent show. For more information or to register email@example.com. Breckenridge Theatre, 121 South Ridge. $5.00. Advance tickets available at the Breckenridge Welcome Center.
- Thursday, Jan 9 – Ullr Parade (4:30 p.m.) – The centerpiece of the week, the Ullr Fest parade showcases Breckenridge’s wild winter fun. Main Street Breckenridge. Don’t miss the World Record Shot Ski Attempt at 4:00 just prior to the parade (click here to sign up for the shot ski). Register for the Parade HERE
Ullr Bonfire (5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) – Join us for the town bonfire. Christmas trees are welcome! South Gondola Parking Lot. FREE
- Friday, Jan 10 – Comedy Night (7:00 p.m. Doors Open, Show at 8:00 p.m.) – Comedy Works comics descend on Breckenridge for a night of big laughs. Breckenridge Riverwalk Center, 150 West Adams Ave. Admission TBD
- Saturday, Jan 11 – 2nd Annual Ullr Classic Pond Hockey Tournament (9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) – Close out the week with a pond hockey tournament held at the Gold Run Nordic Center, 200 Club House Drive. Register online $150 per team and FREE for spectators.
With the Holiday season in full swing, we have a lot of guests arriving in town now. Many come every year over the Holidays, while others are experiencing it for the first time. Breckenridge is truly a magical place this time of year, with fresh snow, Holiday lights, window decorations & wreaths, and plenty of happy visitors! This is a festive time, so cozy up with family & loved ones, relax a bit and be thankful that you are in Breck. Below I’ve listed 5 of the most popular things we recommend to all guests, family & owners here for the Holidays.
1) Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around town. This is a unique way to experience Breckenridge, either on a 30-minute historical tour or a 20- or 10-minute ride around town. Warm blankets & hot chocolate provided. Meet at the corner of Washington and Main Street, no reservations needed. Operated by Breck Stables.
2) With the full moon having recently occurred December 17th, clear nights are still providing a lot of moonlight for outdoor evening activities. A moonlit snowshoe tour is extremely popular, and made easy by our friends over at the Breckenridge Nordic Center on Peak 8.
3) Ring in the New Year with Breck’s torch light ski parade or the big fireworks display.
4) Make a reservation and enjoy a romantic dinner at The Hearthstone, an old Victorian building that is now one of the nicest restaurants in town. Or drive Swan Mountain Road over to Keystone, and experience the quaint Ski Tip Lodge, formerly an old stage coach stop that is now a charming inn and four-star restaurant.
5) Check out the sixty-foot-tall town Christmas Tree in Blue River Plaza!
6) And lastly, share your experiences through social media using #breckbecause
New this year in Breckenridge, a company out of Utah has selected Breckenridge as one of three locations for one of their Ice Castles. This is a unique creation created by thousands of icicles, strategically formed through a complex system of water piping and sprinklers. Then mother nature helps out, with wind, sun and air temperature all lending a hand in this creative process. Depending on the weather, the sculptors will repeat this process daily for almost a month, and soon the end result is a magnificent display of archways, tunnels, walkways, caves and towers, all safe for exploration.
Ice castle formation in Breck on December 3rd. Photo courtesy of Ryan Baines.
After a fairly warm Thanksgiving here in Breck, the first week of December has ushered in the coldest air of the season, with below 0 temperatures settling in the last 4 nights. Rest assured, this has been great news for Brent and his crew creating the ice castle, so their anticipated opening of December 26th looks to be right on schedule. Admission is $10/person, ages 4 and up. Click here to buy tickets. Or for a limited time, take advantage of this Groupon offer of 40% off, 2 tickets for $12, or 4 tickets for $24.
Perhaps stemming from my recent lack of routinely eating breakfast, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my favorite places in town for lunch. As little as 10 years ago, there were just a handful of classic local eateries that were famous with the locals for a quick lunch during the work week. Today the Breck lunch scene is thriving, with a wide variety of food offered in unique atmospheres. Still popular today, Downstairs at Eric’s offers a great Club sandwich, Turkey BLT, or Gyro. If you’re in the mood for Mexican, snag a table at Mi Casa, overlooking the Dredge Pond, and dig in to the Mango Duck Quesadilla or a tasty burrito. One of the better burgers in town can be found at either the Breckenridge Brewery or Empire Burger. If you’re looking for something a little bit different, I’d recommend the Autumn Turkey Sandwich and an excellent Americano at Cuppa Joe. Despite a pretty limited lunch menu, this popular coffee shop has also quietly become the #1 ranked restaurant in Breck according to TripAdvisor. And one of the best values for a quick bite can always be found at Soupz On. Besides their fresh soup selection, their Taco Salad and Pork Torta are out of this world.
When was your last day on the mountain? For many of us, it has simply been too long! After several months, the end is near, with Breckenridge Ski Resort officially opening this Friday. With about 6″ of new snow since late last week, and more forecast tonight, it is shaping up to be a great opening. Unlike last fall, we’ve had snow almost every week in October, and November is off to a great start. There is snow on the ground just about everywhere, and we won’t have to rely on just the “white ribbon” this year for opening day conditions. Many locals have been skinning in the backcountry for some decent early season turns, and other folks have been doing some mellow cross country tours on Sallie Barber Rd and Baldy Mtn since early October.
Many early season events have been getting us excited for the ski & snowboard season now for several weeks. Traditionally, many of us begin thinking about winter at the Team Summit ski swap on Labor Day weekend, looking for that great deal on a pair of boots or new boards. Then there’s the Backcountry Ball in mid-October, and finally tonight, we have local premieres of “Valhalla” at the Backstage Theater in Breck, and “Elevation” at the Backcountry Brewery in Frisco. And perhaps the biggest news of the season will be the opening of Peak 6 at Breck, with over 500 acres of new terrain, representing a 23% increase in terrain expansion. This is the largest expansion in over 10 years, and will offer more amazing above treeline skiing and riding. This is raw, natural terrain, so its opening date is entirely up to Mother Nature. We hope abundant snows the next couple of months will allow it to open by the New Year, but time will tell. So get your stoke on, and we’ll see you on the mountain this winter. As always, if you’re looking for a vacation rental for your next Breck trip, let us help you plan your trip!
Sweetgrass Productions’ VALHALLA – Trailer 2 from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.
Bring in the New Year with a boom! Watch a spectacular array of fireworks, (launch location TBD). You can find best visibility from downtown Main Street. Weather permitting, catch the Torch Light Parade flowing down the Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Not surprisingly, here in Breck we’ve had some snow on a few different occasions in September. But most of the accumulation was up above about 11,000′. So we haven’t yet had some decent snow here in town at 9,600′. Well that could be changing tomorrow night! The Weather Channel’s first named winter storm of the season, Atlas, is taking aim on the northern Rockies. I was curious why the Weather Channel began naming storms last season. Though it definitely creates some self-serving drama for the media, I do agree that increased awareness and communications will result in better public safety.
While the brunt of the storm looks to be mostly in Wyoming, several weather sites have forecasted total snow accumulations of 4-8″ for the Breckenridge area from late Thursday evening through Friday night. Snowforecast is calling for the cold front to arrive tomorrow night, with snow levels eventually falling down to 7,000′. Since Breckenridge is between central and northern mountain areas, I am agreeing with Joel Gratzo of OpenSnow that we may see somewhere between the 3-6″ and 6-12″ forecasted for both areas.
Okay, Labor Day has come and gone, the aspens are changing, and this morning we are looking at a nice dusting of snow up on the highest peaks above town. We are now focused on winter bookings and helping our customers find the best Breckenridge vacation rental for the upcoming ski & ride season. With over 16 years experience helping guests find the best rental property, we have several tips below we’d like to share:
- Are your dates flexible? Typically, families must travel over the holidays or when the kids are out of school. Those times of year can be the most expensive. If you can avoid peak ski travel weeks, your trip will be less expensive, there will be more deals available, and the mountain will be less crowded. For additional savings, consider planning a trip for early or late ski season. Bargains will be plentiful at both ends of ski season.
- No time like the present! Yeah, we know this sounds self-serving. Sure there are good deals out there on last-minute distressed inventory, but often the price won’t be the only thing “distressed.” Since there is such a wide variety of properties in Breck, we highly recommend booking early to ensure you get the possible selection. Our nicest properties are often booked more than 5 months prior to arrival.
- Purchasing airfare. Start your search by checking a few of the major online travel providers, like Travelocity, aggregator sites like TripAdvisor Flights or Google Flights, or consolidators like CheapTickets. Airfarewatchdog is another good source of low fares. Checking these sites will give you an idea of which airlines fly your particular itinerary, what the going rate is and what restrictions might apply. Then you can head directly to the airline website to see if the same flights are any cheaper (some airlines guarantee to offer the lowest possible fares on their own websites).
- Book directly with a professional property management company. It may take a bit more research, but booking property-direct will provide you with the best service, as on-site staff are the most knowledgeable. They can answer all of your questions about the rental properties, the area, activities and much more. Property staff can more often honor guest requests as well. While it may seem easier to book a vacation condo through a large online travel agency (OTA) or wholesaler, the staff typically don’t live in the area, and really aren’t that familiar with the vacation rentals in your destination. We also urge caution if you are booking your rental through VRBO. Often times, the owner is not in the immediate area, and any problems that may arise are often not dealt with in a timely & professional manner.
- Reserve your ski/snowboard rentals & lessons early. Handling these items in advance may not always provide great savings, but by doing so you will not have to stress about this in the weeks leading up to your trip. Then you can focus on the fun things, like which peaks to ski this year, the best apres-ski bars, and off-the-hill activities like snowmobiling and dog-sledding.
- Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone! People today are trying to do more and more online. The internet allows us to shop & bank online, keep up with our social networks, and even book a winter vacation rental. However, many guests can get overwhelmed with the choices, or they may spend hours researching something which staff can answer in a few seconds. Pick up the phone, start a live chat session, or send us an email. We are here for you!