Four perfect days in Breck for the Après Skier
Sometimes, it’s hard not to feel sorry for those adrenaline-addled powder hounds. You know the type: they’re frothing at the mouth when the forecast calls for more than five inches of fresh. Sure, you understand the appeal—after all, you did ski lap after lap of untracked on your last trip to Les Trois Vallées in Switzerland. But there’s more to life—and mountain vacations—than first chair and powder stashes. Behold: four perfect days in Breckenridge for the Après Skier. (Not sure if this suits you? Take our Peak Personality quiz to find out.)
Belly up to the breakfast bar and fire up the moss rock fireplace at One Ski Hill Place, Breckenridge’s most exclusive lodging. The suites here range from elegant studios to four-bedroom condos, with enormous windows, fireplaces, and luxurious details (the bathroom floors feature radiant floor heat, naturally). What’s for breakfast? Send your “better half” out to La Francaise Bakery (411 S. Main Street) for some of the best croissants available this half of the Mississippi (not to mention at 9,000 feet).
Since you will have already pre-purchased your tickets online, all you need to do, once satiated, is mosey down to the ski valet and suit up for your ski day.
Breckenridge has three locations for its renowned ski and snowboard school; for One Ski Hill Place guests, the nearest school is at Peak 8, practically next door. Given that it’s your first day, sign up for a private lesson, regardless of your ability. If you’re a beginner, you’ll appreciate the valuable tips to make the rest of your vacation enjoyable. Intermediate or expert? Think of the lesson as the equivalent of hiring a private guide; with five huge peaks spanning almost 3,000 acres, you’ll appreciate the local knowledge of an instructor.
Lunch tastes better at 11,000 feet, which is why you should plot your ski day to land you at the Vista Haus for a sit-down meal to replenish the morning’s spent energy. Then make your way back to the hotel, and head straight to the Rejuvenation Center, where the blue river stone massage will erase the day’s effort from your muscle memory.
Pick up the kids and let them indulge in the child’s version of a spa: games of “marco polo” in the kids pool and dips in the hot tubs.
Let the concierge help you track down a babysitter (better yet, ask for help before you arrive), order room service, and head out with your loved one to sample some of Breckenridge’s best cuisine. Which is to say, you’ll be eating at Modis, Breck’s hippest and most modern “old fashioned” restaurant.
Here’s a little secret: of the multitudes that visit Breckenridge in the winter, many are not hard-core on mountain enthusiasts. Which means there may be a line when you walk with the family to Daylight Donuts at 305 Main, a Breckenridge breakfast tradition. Sleep in, then head downtown for a hearty breakfast before diving into the morning’s activity: shopping.
Breck Sports is where you’ll find the extra mittens, neck warmers, and new goggles you realized you needed (yesterday), and chances are, you’ll fall in love with some shimmering ski coat or pants. Find something unique for the kids at Magical Scraps Boutique & Studio at 310 S. Main St., and grab your pooch a souvenir at the Breckenridge Barkery (100 S. Main). Breckenridge has more than 200 shops lining historic Main Street, including many art galleries.
A mountain vacation without burgers is like a sailing trip without a boat. Head to Breck’s famous Empire Burger, where the patties are routinely voted the best in town, then head back to the mountain for a spin on the Tenmile Flyer Zipline, where you’ll hit speeds of up to 45 miles per hour (opening in December). If that activates your inner thrill-seeker, next try Breck’s Gold Runner Alpine Coaster.
The kids will love the electrifying arcade at Downstairs at Eric’s, but the parents might appreciate something more upscale. Compromise: dinner at the Steak and Rib (but only if your kids are truly well-behaved), and root beer floats and video games at Eric’s.
Have you ever truly locked gazes with a husky? If not, now’s your chance. Take the family on an unforgettable day of dog-sledding through the Rocky Mountains. This six-mile tour snakes along the Swan River Valley, with knowledgeable guides instructing you on how to mush (that would be drive) a sled team. Yes, you read that right. You drive the dogs.
Afternoon and Evening
Relax after your active morning before heading downtown once more—this time for dinner and a show. Grab a bite at Twist, where comfort food like meat loaf and French fries are concocted with unique spices and flavors. Then it’s on to Breck’s Downtown Arts District, which includes the Breckenridge Theatre, home to the Backstage Theatre Company, the Robert Whyte house, the Quandary Antiques Cabin and Ceramic Studio, the Fuqua Livery Stable and the Tin Shop. You’ll find live performances, classic movies, live music, printmaking, and more.
On your final day, return to the slopes and experience one of Breckenridge’s famed terrain parks. Build skills at Trygves Park, test yourself in Eldorado, and ultimately graduate from Freeway. Then enjoy the hearty soups at Peak 9’s TenMile Station for lunch. Kids will love the interior décor: pick axes, horseshoes, and corrugated tin adorn the walls, and the post-and-beam construction evokes a mineshaft, reminiscent of the area’s history.
Spend the rest of the day exploring Peak 6, Breckenridge’s newest terrain, which adds 543 additional acres to the resort. This is the closest you’ll come to backcountry skiing in-bounds. For a guided tour, call guest services at 800-789-SNOW.
Wrap up the day with a sleigh-ride and dinner at Ten Mile Station. The prix fixe menu offers a five-star dining experience, and the arrival—literally via a sleigh (drawn by a snowcat), is sublime, which pretty much sums up your entire vacation, don’t you think?
– Rachel Walker