Depending on how you look at things, we either got a lovely extended fall or were robbed of primo skiing due to unseasonably warm weather. If your thinking falls into the latter camp, you'll be glad to know that resorts are finally opening – and offering more than ever this year.
In this year's edition of Edge, our snow-activities guide to resorts in Colorado, we've told you about what’s new at every major ski area in the state, must-do experiences and insider tips. We’ve also done our own tireless research all over the state and reached out to some experts for suggestions on how to make the most of it all, whether you’re looking to drop some coin for something special or just trying to get by as a dirtbag ski bum like the rest of us. We'll roll those out at resorts open, like Breckenridge, which opens today, Saturday, November 19.
BRECKENRIDGE SKI RESORT
What’s new: Longtime regulars will notice improvements all over the mountain. For starters, notes Breckenridge spokeswoman Ashley Smith, there’s the 490-seat Pioneer Crossing restaurant at the top of the Independence SuperChair on Peak 7. The new restaurant, which is set to open in December, “will offer a variety of housemade options like fresh salads made to order and a Mediterranean station, all coupled with dramatic views of beautiful Summit County, and will highlight the mining history of Breckenridge’s past,” Smith says. It should also help relieve crowds at the busy Peak 7 base-area restaurants.
Signature experience: Come up for the tenth annual Dew Tour action-sports festival at Breckenridge December 8-1, where top pro skiers and riders will compete in a modified halfpipe and on jump and rail zones in a reimagined slopestyle course. Spectating during the Dew Tour is free. But even when the mountain isn’t hosting such high-profile events, your chances of seeing Olympians catching air there are high.
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Insider info: Download the EpicMix app, which now allows guests to keep tabs on real-time lift-line times from their phones to help steer clear of busy zones.
Splurge: Take a lesson, whether you’re a first-timer or have been at it for decades, because there’s always something new to learn. For the more advanced, Breck’s Ski & Snowboard School specialty classes can get you into the terrain parks and halfpipes, on the steeps, or even into full-on high-alpine backcountry terrain. All-female lesson groups have been a particular focus in recent years. For a good group outing, Smith suggests the new Breck Guides program, priced at $1,230 for a group of up to six people. “Breck Guides is a European-style, in-bounds guide experience to help you explore some of Breck’s best high-alpine terrain, secret powder stashes and more with your own private top guide,” Smith says.
Ski bum tips: Carpool with four or more people to get free parking in the Gondola Lots Monday through Thursday or a $5 discount Friday and Saturday, or park for free in the Airport Lot on Airport Road and catch the free shuttle in. For lodging, try the Bivvi Hostel.
Drink local: Pull up a beach chair at TenMile Station on Peak 10, or find the party at the TBar on Peak 8, before heading into town. There, Smith recommends Broken Compass Brewing or the tasting room at Breckenridge Distillery and its new restaurant. “Expect bold flavors paired with spirit flights and, of course, a killer cocktail menu,” Smith says. Afterward, head to Brooklyn’s Tavern and Billiards to shoot pool, or to Cecelia’s Martini Bar and Nightclub or Liquid Lounge for dance parties.