Up to Date for the 2021-2022 Winter Season
We tend to get the same questions from guests making their first visit to Breckenridge. We’re here to help to help with answers to the most common questions as well as things you didn’t know to ask! These helpful tips from Breckenridge locals will allow you to better focus on the magical parts of your ski vacation and minimize the hassles. Everything you need to know to maximize the fun and minimize the stress for your Breckenridge, Colorado ski trip is right here in one place.
Book Activities and Restaurant Reservations Early:
Breckenridge is a popular place! If you plan to fine dine (we highly recommend Hearthstone!), make dinner reservations in advance. Tubing and dog sledding will fill up so book those early as well. Tubing is available in Frisco, Keystone and Copper. Call Good Times Adventures for dog sledding.
Discounts on Lift Tickets:
Unfortunately, discounts do not exist. The only place to purchase lift tickets for Breckenridge Ski Resort is at the ticket window or Breckenridge.com. The least expensive option is online in advance. If you plan to spend more than a few days skiing, consider skiing only a half or quarter day for big savings. These options are not advertised online and can only be purchased day of at the ticket window.
Prepare for the High Altitude:
Don’t let altitude sickness spoil the first few days or, worst case, your entire ski vacation. You can prevent and alleviate the symptoms by increasing your water intake prior to arrival, keep water on hand and drink it every day during your stay, especially the first few days. Avoid alcohol, avoid activities that will make you sweat (don’t soak too long in the hot tub) and take it easy your first day. The cans of oxygen you will see around town are a waste of money. Increased fluid intake and avoidance of alcohol are key!
Traction, Traction, Traction:
You are headed to a high alpine environment where ice and snow are a regular part of daily winter life in the high country. The biggest impact is on the roadways. Know about the Colorado Chain Law. You MUST be prepared, not only for your safety and the safety of others, but to drive legally during a snowstorm. Your vehicle must have 4WD, chains or snow tires (note: snow tires are not the same as all-season tires). Don’t be that person who closes down I-70 because your spinning tires are blocking traffic or you caused an accident due to disregarding the chain law. One car without proper traction can have a detrimental effect on thousands of others traveling behind them on I-70. You can potentially ruin your ski vacation and put hundreds of others in danger. Check COTrip for current I-70 road conditions and closures.
If you rented a home with a description stating the 4WD or chains are required- please take that seriously. We will not be able to help you if you get stuck.
Your feet need traction as well! A simple walk down Main Street can result in a painful fall. Learn to walk like a penguin or pick up a pair of traction slip-ons for your footwear.
Tips for Beginner skiers:
The Breckenridge ski resort mountain is the biggest draw for winter-time visitors to this beautiful little mountain town. The powder and expansive terrain attracts skiers and riders from all over the world and even those who have never skied but want to give it a try. For first-time skiers or riders, ski or snowboard lessons are highly recommended and will greatly increase the odds for fun and success.
It might appear easy to glide down the hill on skis or board and while there are the natural athletic types who easily pick up any sport, most beginner skiers and riders will have a learning curve before they can zip down the mountain looking like the pro we all want to be.
So what is the best way to even begin to tackle that learning curve? No doubt, the answer is ski or snowboard lessons with an experienced instructor. Someone who can patiently guide you through every step of the process from locking in skis or boots, to maneuvering flat ground with equipment on, to loading and unloading the chairlift, and then finally tips on techniques for getting down the hill safely.
Depending on the group dynamics and individual budgets, first time skiers in Breckenridge have options for ski lessons, one of which we consider to be a Summit County best-kept secret, but this article is going to share that secret with you- keep reading!
Oftentimes in families or groups, some members have mountain experience while others are brand new or maybe need more practice. The Breckenridge ski school is a great option for such scenarios since ski school participants can be dropped off at the school ski bases on either Peak 8 or Peak 9 (we prefer the Peak 8 location), while the others who are ready can head out on their own, and every one is still at the same place to meet up at the end of the day.
At Breckenridge resort, group ski/ride lessons are available for ages 3 and up. Children’s ski school usually includes ski rentals. Private lessons for individuals or families are also available. The drawback, of course, for lessons at most big resorts, like Breck, is the cost. It might seem impossible for many families of first-time skiers to ever give the sport a try. This is where a little-known secret comes in…
Just 8 miles north on Highway 9, is the small but mighty Frisco Adventure Park. Most Breckenridge visitors will drive right past it on the way into Breckenridge on Highway 9. The tubing hill is very popular and visible from Highway 9. However, on the other side of the magic carpet is the gentle, intimidation-free Frisco Adventure Park Ski & Ride Hill.
The Frisco Ski & Ride Hill is accessed via a magic carpet. It has two wide trails with gentle descents and is uncrowded, even on holiday weekends. There are no overhead ski lifts with onlookers from above. The lodge is so close that trips to the bathroom, snacks, or warming-up breaks can be done frequently without a big hassle.
Tickets are wallet friendly at $40-45 each. Kids 4 and under can ski free on the Ski & Ride Hill with an adult who has purchased a ticket. The close-in parking makes getting that rented equipment from car to the hill an easier process as well. Rentals are not included, but are available in Breckenridge or Frisco.
In the past, kids ages 8 and older and adults can take a 2-hour lesson from a Copper Mountain professional ski instructor in a very small and intimate group allowing for one-on-one instruction and confidence building. This is not currently listed as available on their website for the 2021-2022 season but please check back.
The Frisco Ski/Ride Hill is set to open December 16, 2021. It will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays all season. The hill will be open 10am to dusk most days weather dependent. Reservations are required for ski or ride lessons.
Don’t think because it’s small, there won’t be great photo ops. The views from atop the Ski & Ride Hill overlooking the town of Frisco and the southern tip of the Gore Range are beautiful!
Whether you want to go big or small, ski lessons at both Breckenridge Ski Resort and Frisco Adventure Park are the way to go for first-time skiers.
Summit County has a store for everything you need for a ski vacation, items you forgot to pack or items you didn’t know you wanted or needed until after arrival. On the holidays or busy weekends, however, the Breckenridge City Market grocery store tends to get overcrowded resulting in a very hectic grocery shopping experience. During the busiest of times, some popular items will sell out until the next day’s delivery. If you’re traveling down I-70 into Summit County, take a short and easy 1- mile detour in Evergreen and stock up at the Walmart at 952 Swede Gulch Rd. You’ll find a larger selection. You can also stock up prior to leaving Denver.
If driving up from Texas, the City Market in Canon City or one of the two Walmart shopping centers in Pueblo are your best bets.
The only thing we do not recommend picking up outside the county is rental ski and ride equipment. Keep reading for more information on that.
Don’t rely on Instacart for grocery delivery in Summit County. Instacart workers are few and far between. This is why stopping prior to arrival in Summit County is a good idea.
Christy Sports has the closest locations in Breckenridge to the gondola and Peak 9. Boot comfort is essential for an enjoyable ski vacation so don’t skimp on renting quality equipment. Ill-fitting boots resulting in painful feet are not worth saving a few dollars. Renting locally also has the benefit of being able to exchange skis or boots that just don’t work well for you and the ability to store gear overnight instead of hauling it back and forth from the mountain to your vacation home.
Get your ski and ride gear ready the day before your first planned day on the mountain.
More on Ski/Ride Equipment:
You might own your own equipment, and it’s understandable if you have a great pair of comfortable boots you’d want to bring them along, but with cost soaring for checking over-sized bags, it might be more beneficial to leave your skis/board behind and rent while in town. You can also check costs on shipping rather than checking them on a flight. If you visit often, look into storing your gear here in town.
This year, Vail Resorts requires that all guests entering dining lodges have proof of vaccination, with the exception of using the restroom. If this does not apply to you and your family and the forecast on your ski day will be sunny and dry, pack a lunch and snacks and store it in a locker at the base (locker prices start at $10, not much more than the cost of one burger at a base restaurant). Walking boots and extra layers can also be stored in the locker. Alternatively, water and food can be packed in a backpack. If you have an Epic Pass, don’t forget to have the employee scan your pass at checkout when you dine on the mountain to receive a 20% discount!
Ski Base Storage:
There is no easy way to carry skis and poles! Overnight ski storage is available at the bases of Peak 8 and Peak 9. Take your boots back to your vacation rental to keep them warm, but store the skis (for a fee, of course) to save yourself some of the awkwardness of carrying skis and poles. If you rent from Christy Sports or another local retailer in town, ask if they offer overnight ski storage.
Most of the parking in Breckenridge is paid parking. You can download the Passport app and pay on your phone when you park or at the kiosk. Know your license plate number so you don’t have to run back to your car! When possible, always use the Breck Free Ride or Summit Shuttle. Even if you plan to park in the gondola lot or parking garage, you will have to pay for parking and make the trek from your parking spot to the gondola. If you take a shuttle to Peak 8 or 9, you will get dropped off close in and have maybe 50 yards of walking and no parking fees.
There are several employee parking lots in the downtown core that are often mistaken for free parking. Read signage carefully wherever you park. Please do not displace local employees and park in their spots which will result in a parking ticket as well as public scorn.
Maybe not everyone in your group wants to hit the slopes or maybe one day of your ski vacation entails weather or snow conditions that aren’t ideal for the best experience. There are countless other things to do even in the winter in Breckenridge. Both indoor and outdoor non-skiing activities are available in Summit County!
Fast & Easy Meals Out:
There are dozens of delicious places to eat on Breckenridge Main Street, but if you’re super tired at the end of a ski day and don’t want to cook a meal in your vacation home, a quick and easy restaurant stop without the crowds and parking hassle might be the way to go. The City Market shopping center on Park Avenue offers 3 choices with easy and free parking: The City Market Deli, Soupz On, or Windy City Pizza (not just pizza, they also have a $5 breakfast and other menu items later in the day). All yummy and rated thumbs up by our staff.
Plastic bags are not available at City Market locations and Walmart in Summit County. Our guests are all provided a free Luxe Living re-usable bag and a Breckenridge re-usable bag. We also recommend packing some for easier grocery shopping.
Our Luxe Living staff skis and rides the mountain on a regular basis all winter. Our goal is to help our guests feel like they have friends in town. Here are some of our personal favorite tips and tricks to make the most of your time and help you have the very best Breckenridge ski vacation.
- Wear a pair of thin liners under your gloves. This makes taking photos easy as well as preventing hands from freezing if you have to remove gloves to adjust goggles or face mask. Bonus bonus tip: Snip the thumb off the liner on your dominant thumb and forefinger liner. Don’t skimp on glove quality- get some good ones!
- Dress in layers in case you get too warm.
- Pick one or two peaks that you suit your skill level and interest and stay there for the day rather than wasting time traversing the mountain.
- Have one person in the group carry a backpack with food and water.
- Pack tissues in your pockets. A runny nose is inevitable in the cold.
- Drink water.
- Wear sunscreen.
Luxe Living truly wants our guests to have an amazing Summit County experience. We can always be reached for questions at (970) 968-8005 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.