The story behind trail names at Breckenridge
You may have noticed that many of Breckenridge’s 187 trails have odd names (Devil’s Crotch anybody? We’re not gonna touch on that one). Unsurprisingly, most of them date back to the area’s mining history, founders and famous historical figures. Let’s look at a few …
When Breckenridge Ski Resort was born in 1961, it was comprised only of a double chair and a handful runs off of Peak 8, all of which originally had numbers instead of names. The names came a couple of years later as the resort expanded, and naturally, one of the first runs – Rounders – was named after the guy who first envisioned the ski area – Bill Rounds of Porter and Rounds Lumber Company. Calley’s Alley was named after Caroline Rounds’ favorite run.
By far the steepest run in Breck’s early days, Mach 1 was named in the ‘60s shortly after the speed of sound had just been broken. The trail has been known to give skiers a similar sensation. Four O’Clock, as you might guess, was so named because it’s frequented in the late afternoon as the route down the mountain.
When Peak 9 first opened in 1971 it was originally called Royal Tiger Mountain after the mining company that owned most of the operations around Breckenridge.
Many of Peak 9’s runs are named directly after mines. Country Boy, Wellington, Briar Rose, Union and Cashier were all lucrative zinc, lead and silver sites in and around Breckenridge. Silverthorne, both the town and the ski run, were named after 19th century prospector, Judge Marshal Silverthorn.
One of the peak’s steepest trails – Tom’s Baby – was named after the largest piece of gold discovered in Colorado, in 1887, right outside of Breckenridge.
There’s an aviation theme to the trail names on Peak 10, which opened in 1985, thanks to former Breck ski patroller and then mountain manager Jim Gill, who had served in the Air Force and is responsible for naming trails Corsair, Spitfire, Blackhawk, Mustang and Falcon after various famous aircrafts. One name that pre-dates the ski resort is The Burn. The steep, gladed slope was the location of a forest fire that struck the area around 1900 and nearly reached the town. If you look carefully, you can still make out burnt stumps poking out of the snow.
By the time the ski area expanded to include Peak 7 in 2003, all of the lower trail names were based on historic places in the area. Fort Mary B, named after Mary B, one of the first women in Breckenridge, refers to a stockade of log cabins where miners lived in the mid to late 1800s. The Wirepatch and Monte Cristo were silver and gold mines. Angel’s Rest was the name of a saloon in Dyersville, now a ghost town in the woods on the south side of Breckenridge, where the remnants of cabins still dot the area. Whale’s Tail was named because of the shape of the slopes between the top of Imperial Bowl (the whale’s head) over to the crest of Peak 7 (the tail), which from a distance does indeed look like a whale.
The newest of Breck’s terrain opened for the 2013-14 ski season, the majority of Peak 6’s trails were named by ski fans from across the world. Breckenridge executives invited the public to submit trail names and received ideas from a whopping 1,800 people. The theme was things that “awaken your sixth sense” – hence, The Six Senses area on Peak 6’s steep hike-to terrain. Of the 1,800 entries, 25 names were selected, all whimsical – Euphoria, ESP, Wanderlust, Bliss, Unbound, etc. Zendo and Kensho chairlifts are named after terms in Zen Buddhism. Zendo refers to a state of meditation (which you have plenty of time for during the snail-like ride) and Kensho refers to a type of awakening.