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Top five things to do in Breck before Opening Day

Family with skis

At this point, we’re all grinding our teeth and bouncing with excitement as we countdown to Nov. 11 (drum roll …) Opening Day! Many people think of this time of year in Breckenridge as the calm before the storm. But truly, it’s one of the greatest times to be in town and no, the place is not a ghost town. True that many of the magical yellow leaves have already fallen off the aspens, the peaks are dusted with snow and that giant dump that leaves a full season white blanket behind could happen any minute.

The trails are ethereal this time of year and the crunching that comes with every hike or bike ride delightfully satisfying. The crowd is minimal, peace-loving and here for a purpose. And speaking of ghosts, there is no better time of year to visit some of Breck’s spookiest and purportedly haunted establishments.

Compared to summer and winter, the ambiance is unmistakably more chill around here. But taste it. Love it. From fitness to whiskey sipping to famous writers, there’s cool stuff afoot:

1) Ski conditioning

Women in BreckIf you happen to be in town this month, there is no better time to ramp up your fitness level for a winter of thigh-burning, powder-chasing days on the mountain. Not only does the Breckenridge Recreation Center have an awesome indoor pool and one of Colorado’s best climbing walls, but it offers a myriad of drop-in fitness classes ranging from pilates to Tabata to “Body Rock.” If you’ve ever wanted to emulate Pink (or get dialed for those inverted moves in the park or pipe) the rec center also has an Aerial Silks class!

2) Dia de los Muertos

True this Mexican holiday of simultaneously mourning and celebrating the dead doesn’t traditionally happen until Oct. 31- Nov. 2, but BreckCreate has an exhibition by Tony Ortega, Days of the Dead: Aztec Adventures of Cholo, Vato, and Pano.  The imagery from this bilingual exhibit relates a child’s view of the time when Halloween ends and the Day of the Dead begins. Old Masonic Hall will also be adorned with traditional craft including vibrant Papel Flores and Calavera Masks.

3) Still on the Hill Craft Spirits Festival

In anticipation of actually being on the hill, this Oct. 21-23 festival combines all there is to love about the fall in Breckenridge – ghost town, saloon, tombstone, mine and haunted house tours, spirits tastings, cooking and make-your-own-shot-glass workshops, a Poker Run and Bar Mix-Off, Grand Tasting and Hangover Brunch. Organizers are even optimistically hoping for a snowshoe tour. There’s something on tap for everyone, not exclusively involving alcohol …

4) Cheap eats

The town of BreckenridgeIf you’ve ever been in town in the off-season, you know it’s prime time to sample local restaurants for screaming deals. The Breckenridge Dining Passport costs $10 (the proceeds of which benefit local charities) and with it, two people have access to specials at nearly every local restaurant. And we’re not just talking about $1 off here, people. The Passport gets you everything from free kids’ meals (Downstairs at Eric’s) and free beignets (The Lost Cajun) to two-for-one dinners and some of the best restaurants in town (Hearthstone , Mi Casa  and Michael’s Italian to name but a few). The Passports are available at the Breck Welcome Center and participating restaurants and the specials go through Nov. 19.

5) Matchstick Movie Premiere at the Riverwalk

Ok, admittedly this last event is after Opening Day but it is still early season and a great way to get pumped up for ski season. Matchstick’s new flick, “Ruin and Rose” begins when a young boy unearths an ancient relic hinting at the lost wonders of winter, he sets off in search of the ghosts that once called the mountains their home. This bold cinematic experience balances stunning skiing with a wild and hopeful journey into the forgotten lands of myth and magic beyond the Empty.

– Shauna Farnell

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