Top reasons why Breckenridge is a perfect family ski vacation

Pit Stops for Kids is happy to take part in the third annual Back to Ski Week, which includes tips on planning a family ski vacation as well as chances to win prizes. To learn more visit the Back to Ski site and sign up for the newsletter, follow @back2ski on Twitter, or like it on Facebook.

Today we hear from inveterate outdoorswoman and lover of the Rockies Amber Johnson of The Mile High Mama about why a visit to Breckenridge, Colorado is perfect for families interested in fun on the slopes. We were compensated for writing this post; all opinions are the author’s.

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From our perch atop Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 6, our senses were in overdrive—first, the sound of silence, followed by the wind clinking through patches of hoarfrost crystals. My husband and I eased off the chairlift as our ski tips sliced through our powder playground, tracing hourglasses down the mountain.

Coloradoans are spoiled with 25 ski resorts but if you’re looking for the perfect winter vacation, look no further than Breckenridge. This authentic mining town 1.5 hours from Denver has it all: a world-class ski resort, the Blue River (a tributary of the raging Colorado River), an idyllic Main Street, gourmet dining, and glittering boutiques. It is also part of an 80-mile network of paved, motorized bike paths that connect other Summit County resorts like Dillon, Keystone, Copper Mountain, and Vail.

Here are just a few more reasons why this upscale yet laid-back resort is one of the best for families.

Ski Bums:

skiing with kids

Breckenridge Ski Area sprawls across the southern sector of Summit County’s Tenmile Range and is consistently ranked as one of the most visited ski areas in the country. But with an impressive 2,908 acres and 34 lifts, the crowds dissipate the higher you go as you carve out your own private Colorado.

After dropping our kids off at ski school, my husband and I did the “freedom” shout and warmed up on groomer Duke’s Run before heading over to Peak 6. As Breck’s new 543-acre addition, it features high-alpine, intermediate bowl skiing (a true rarity).

Peak 6 lives up to its hype so long as you are attempting this timberline-topping terrain on a bluebird day. If there is any trace of wind or snow, you’ll feel like you are trapped inside a snow globe. Fortunately with a resort this size, there are plenty of other areas to take cover or fly high, including four award-winning terrain parks and a 22-foot superpipe.

At the end of an exhausting day, we picked the kids up from ski school and were later able to track their progress via the EpicMix app’s newest feature, EpicMix Academy. Though the wind kept us from the Golden Runner Alpine Coaster, the kids are already begging to take us back to their favorite haunts that included Trygve’s small terrain park with moderate jumps and boxes.

Tip: There’s no parking at the base so park for free in the Gondola parking lots in town and take the BreckConnection Gondola to the base of Peak 8. A complimentary shuttle also runs throughout town and delivered us right in front of Pine Ridge Condos where we proceeded to soak in the hot tub and then burrow up to a fire and a movie while a storm raged outside. That, my friends, is what a ski vacation is all about.

Good Times Dog Sledding:

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TripAdvisor ranks dog sledding as the No. 1 activity in Breckenridge so you’d better believe it is epic. Good Times Adventures is the only snowmobile and dog sledding tour operator in Summit County and offers a 6-mile tour that is perfect for families (adults are $75; children ages 4-8 are $40).

We became acquainted with our team of Siberian Huskies and learned how they are attached to the sled with a series of lines called rigging that includes the tow line (or gang line), tug lines and neck lines. Each sled had a basket where gear or a passenger was carried and were outfitted with a braking device.

Good Times offers various levels of dog sledding and we chose the tamer “Disney” experience. I was thrilled when our guide announced the kids would get to drive the team during our slow and steady uphill climbs (many dog sledding operators only let their clients sit in the basket). They were in their element; rosy-cheeked, their “MUSH” commands echoing through the trees as the pitter-patter of husky paws on snow distilled Colorado’s Swan River Valley to its purest incarnation.

After my son’s turn, he moved to the basket while I drove him for the first time. Notoriously cautious when faced with new challenges, he lectured me, “Now, Mom. Lean into your turns and remember…have a good time!”

With Good Times Adventures, it’s tough to do otherwise.

More Breck fun:

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Cross-country skiing. Breckenridge may be known for its ample snow and giant halfpipes, but the resort also has more than 30 miles of cross-country trails, plus an additional 25 trails in the surrounding White River National Forest.

Skating. Children of all ages love the Stephen C. West Ice Arena, which offers both an indoor and outdoor ice rink. Located on Boreas Pass Road, it is open for public skating seven days a week.

Sledding. Grab your tube and join the locals over at Carter Park, one of the few places to sled in town. The hill is located at the south end of High Street and adjacent to Breckenridge Elementary School.

Main Street. This charming Historic District is dotted with boutiques, eateries and galleries. My kids are huge fans of the unique Peak a Boo Toys (and the big indoor play area is a bonus on cold days). The town’s Arts District recently showcased seven new buildings and will offer expanded workshops for travelers, especially kids. If you stop at the Welcome Center, head upstairs for some cool old ski exhibits and a great view of the slopes. Also check-out the Mountain Top Children’s Museum, which is perfect for younger kids with out-of-the-box, imaginative exhibits.

Events. Breckenridge has an awesome line-up of events but our favorites include Ullr Fest (In 2015 from January 11-17), where the community plays tribute to the Norse God of Snow. Also in January, the International Snow Sculpture Championships hosts snow artists from across the globe transform 20-ton blocks of snow into an outdoor art gallery.

Want help planning your Breckenridge trip? Be sure to visit the GoBreck website.

About the author

guest reviewer

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Comments

  1. Getting up on skis this year. Can’t wait to try new places!

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