Breckenridge, Colorado: The US Ski Town with a Wild West Aesthetic
A quintessential Wild West town tucked into snow drifts, Breckenridge is home to old-school saloon fronts, storied streets and an upcoming gastronomic scene – plus, some seriously difficult ski runs
12 December, 2022
Breckenridge, Colorado, US.
Sitting just below the Rocky Mountains' Tenmile Range, Breckenridge looks something like a spaghetti western town dropped into an Arctic idyll, with its colourful saloon-style storefronts surrounded by snow-capped peaks.
It's just been pegged as one of America's most affordable ski destinations, which - in the era of low-cost sliving - is music to our ears. We'll be skipping Aspen this ski season and heading 2,500m high to explore Breckenridge's historic sites and tackle some of the US's most notorious double black diamond slopes.
Fancy yourself a black-run baller? Test your grit on the adrenaline-inducing Peak 6. Spanning five peaks of the Tenmile Range, Breckenridge Ski Resort offers a diverse terrain suitable for all abilities, but is best known for having some of the most difficult downhills in the US. Visitors only have to pay one flat fee for all-day slope access to all 155 runs.
Weekends get busy. To avoid long lift lines, quit the slopes for a stroll around the cute shops along historic Main Street. Our favourite? The town's only bookstore, Old Man Berkins.
Where to stay?
Gravity Haus Breckenridge offers the full ski-in, ski-out experience. Located below Peak 9, this Alpine-feel lodge has all the cosy touches of a ski stay (open hearths and wood-panelled walls included), plus a Japanese-inspired onsen spa to soothe sore legs post-slopes.
Where to go for dinner?
It's not uncommon for snow bunnies to sit down for dinner with their goggles still on at happy-hour-haven Tin Plate. Tucked into a 138-year-old mining cabin, this family-owned pizza joint serves wood-fired pies made from scratch. Settle the pineapple-on-pizza debate once and for all with its pineapple pancetta number, topped with pickled jalapeño, red onion and lime pearls. We recommend checking out the seasonal winter offerings at chef Matt Vawter's farm-to-table restaurant Rootstalk, too.
Gravity Haus Breckenridge offers a ski-in/ski-out experience.
And for a drink…
There's a big craft alcohol culture brewing in Breckenridge. Get a taste of it at the Breckenridge Distillery. Take a tour of the stills or, for an insight into the art of fine whiskey production, splurge on the Blending Lab experience. Meanwhile, Carboy Winery has been making waves in the wine world (and put Colorado on the map in America's bottle business). Just don't forget the elevation - at this altitude, two or three glasses of viognier will feel more like five.
Who to take with you?
A history buff. With its ghostly tales, gold mine hikes and railroad museums, this town's aesthetic is straight out of True Grit.
Essentials to pack
Colorado ski resorts enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine a year, which is great for our serotonin; less so for our skin. The higher you climb, the greater the risk posed by UV rays. Pack the sweat-resistant Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion to apply before you start shredding the slopes.
How to get there
Breckenridge is a 90-minute drive from Denver International Airport, which serves most international airlines, meaning you can book a direct flight from London Heathrow.
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