Breckenridge is an iconic ski destination but being such a large resort can make it confusing to know what it’s like and if it’s good for beginners or families. This being our first year skiing and snowboard, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for either. When I finally made it to Breckenridge, I instantly realized why it’s so popular. Breckenridge has so much to offer for all skiing and riding levels, but I found it especially great for beginners and families.
Getting Oriented With Breckenridge
Breckenridge is a world-renown ski town and for a good reason. The town of Breckenridge has everything you want from a small mountain town. It’s nestled between gorgeous peaks and has so many restaurant options for the hungry skier, as well as for the foodie at heart. But it’s not the town that makes Breck world-renown, it’s the incredible number of options you have on the mountain.
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Breckenridge ski resort sits very close to the center of Breckenridge town. Not that you can take the ski lift into town like you can in Park City, Utah. But you can ski from the top of Peak 8 to the base of the mountain and then walk 10 minutes or less to Main Street. There are also free buses that can get you anywhere you want to go in Breckenridge. They’re easy to use and they run often so you’ll never be waiting more than 10 minutes.
Main Street is where you will find most of the restaurants, cafes, and plenty of shopping opportunities. In fact, all the big names in outdoor gear- Patagonia, North Face, Marmot, Columbia- have shops on Main Street.
Our favorite places to eat in Breckenridge are The Crown and Crepes A La Cart. After a long day on the slopes though, I grab a pizza from Windy City Pizza & Pub and head north to Broken Compass Brewery. I love the kickback atmosphere here and that you can bring your own food.
One of my favorite things about Breckenridge is that the BreckConnect Gondola is free. Whether you are here in summer or winter, you have to ride the Gondola. The views are incredible!
The gondola has three stops. First, it takes you to the residential area and access to snowshoeing and Nordic trails. The second takes you to Peak 7 and the last is Peak 8. More on each peak below.
Important Tip: The gondola allows lodge dwellers to be close by. At Keystone, a lift ticket is necessary to reach the mountain’s peak and access the restaurant. However, at Breck, convenience reigns with three lodges strategically positioned amidst the action: Peak 7, Peak 8, and Beaver Run. So, if skiing isn’t your preference or if your kids require breaks frequently, it’s effortless to step into the lodge restaurants and swiftly return to the slopes.
Parking in Breckenridge
There are a lot of places to park in Breckenridge, but most are paid parking. The lots right next to the BreckConnect Gondola are very convenient but cost about $10 for the day. Parking at the satellite lot is free and drops you right at the gondola. Another option for free parking is at the Ice Rink.
Important Tip: Park at the free satellite parking lot on Airport Road. The bus picks up and drops off frequently and then your kids don’t have to walk at all.
Seriously, Breck is HUGE! I had no idea there were so many options for runs at Breck. There are 5 peaks each one suiting different levels of riders and skiers. This is probably the biggest reason that I like Breck. Having options is great and it makes it feel more adventurous to jump from peak to peak. Because the mountain is so big, it never feels crowded here.
I like that the green routes are wide so I didn’t feel like my little kids were going to hit or get run over. I also love that green routes are truly green. They were perfect for learning on and there were quite a few different runs we could choose from.
Breck’s green routes are great if you have never snowboarded a day in your life however learning to snowboard in general is actually easier on steep runs. If you are in the phase of snowboarding where can just manage to get down the mountain without falling, you’re actually going to love the blue routes at Breck. If you are just learning, no need to hit the bunny slopes, the green runs are very easy especially.
Related Blog: Best Exercises For Skiers
One of my kids’ favorite parts of skiing at Breck was kid adventure zones. Breck has trails that branch off the green trails and weave through the forest with fun tunnels and decorations that my kids loved.
This peak offers a plethora of blue runs and a few black diamond runs, catering perfectly to intermediate and advanced skiers and riders. However, being above treeline, it’s not an ideal spot during windy or snowy days. Yet, on sunny days, you’re rewarded with the most breathtaking views.
Perfect for beginner skiers and riders looking to move past the green routes.
For intermediate skiers, I like that it has a nice mix of easier blue runs that weave through trees. I can take my younger kids down the easier blue run, Pioneer, while can take the slightly more challenging blue run of Angel’s Rest and Wirepatch and meet up at the bottom. Plus, peak 7 tends to be less crowded than peak 8 & 9.
Not the best are if you are an intermediate, but a diverse mix of beginners and advanced runs.
There are numerous bunny slope-style green runs, along with a few wider and longer green runs. Most of the black runs below the tree line are situated on Peak 8, which also hosts the majority of the terrain parks. Peak 8 attracts the most attention due to hosting all the competitions.
Breck’s Peak 9 is the best peak for beginners to start on. Not only that, but there are a lot of blue runs that connect with green runs on Peak 9 so you can easily progress when you are ready.
Where Should Beginners Start From?
Beaver Run (Peak 9) is the perfect place for when you are just starting out. If your kids are young, get them in ski school. I luckily had enough skills to just teach my kids myself, but the learning areas by Peak 9 are perfect runs for learning.
On your first day on the mountain, head to Peak 9 and go to the Quicksilver Chair. Start off by riding Silverthorne. Once you have a hang of that, ride Red Rover over to the A-Chair. The lift line is typically very short here. This chair can take you to the top of Silverthorne again or ride it all the way and give part of Upper and Lower Lehman a try. Don’t forget to give the spooky forest a try before moving on to the blue runs.
Best Runs When You’re Ready For Blues
Once you are ready for blue routes this is our favorite combo of runs so we can ski most of the mountain. It’s really cool how all the peaks connect and this combo allows you to ski from Peak 6 all the way to town.
- Take the gondola (or bus) to Peak 7
- Hop on the Independence Super Chair
- Start off by taking one lap down on Pioneer before getting back on Independence Super Chair
- Ride Monte Cristo to the Zendo Chair
- If it’s Zendo Chair is open, ride down Delirium to get on the Kensho Super Chair and ride one of the many blue routes down Peak 6
- If Zendo is closed, take another lap up Independence and ride down Angel’s Rest or Wirepatch
- Continue on Lost Horizon until it reconnects with Monte Cristo (There is one short steep section at the end of Monte Cristo)
- Now it’s time to move toward Peak 8
- Ride the Indepence Chair and go left to ski/ride Claim Jumper (Do not go Northstar with kids, it’s steep)
- At the base of Peak 8, get on the Colorado Super Chair
- Now you get to ride 4 O’Clock
- You can either ride 4 O’Clock all the way down to the gondola
- Or…When you are about a third of the way down 4 O’Clock there is a sharp right that will take you to Sawmill. It’s rarely crowded and my kids loved skiing here! This will take you back to Peak 9 where you can catch the bus back to the gondola or start your adventure again.
There are so many hotels, resorts, lodges, condos, and houses in the town of Breck and scattered along the base of the mountain. What makes Breck so cool is that many of the resorts, condos, and houses are ski-in/ski-out or back up to the Nordic trails. If you can afford it, staying right at the base of the lifts is is totally worth it. Some of the main resorts are:
The Grand Colorado sits right at the base of Peak 8, a stone’s throw away from 4 different lifts, making you centrally located to all terrain at Breck. Peak 8 is where all the energy is and if you like being in an upbeat atmosphere, this is the place for you. You’re also right at the gondola drop off making it simple and easy to go into town for food, drinks, and fun. If that’s not fast enough then you can also use the resort’s free shuttle service to get where you want to go in Breck. The Grand Colorado is quite a bit cheaper to stay at than the neighboring lodge, One Ski Hill Place which is a huge benefit. Book now by clicking here.
The Grand Lodge lies one peak over on Peak 7 which would personally be my first choice of places to stay in Breck. Peak 7, as I mentioned before, is an amazing peak for intermediate skiers and riders. Staying at the Grand Lodge gives you instant access to this variety of blue runs and I personally like the good vibes and mellow atmosphere at the base lodge. Just like Peak 8, Peak 7 also sits right next to the BreckConnect gondola for fast access to downtown Breckenridge or you can use the resort’s free shuttle service. Book now by clicking here.
Grand Timber Lodge doesn’t sit at the base of Peak, but you get a much more secluded and relaxing feel here. Grand Timber is still ski in + ski out as it’s only a short 5-minute walk to Snowflake Lift which brings you up the mountain right between Peak 8 and 9. This resort is very scenic and backs up to forests and trails. The lodge has many free buses that come by and of course, there is also a free shuttle you can use to get down to Breck. Book now by clicking here.
If you have an RV, you can stay at Tiger Run Resort. Or if you are self-sufficient in your RV or van, you can free camp in the Dillon parking lots.
Related Blog: 25 things to do in the Breckenridge Area in Winter
Conclusion on Breckenridge Resort
- Diverse terrain
- Never feels crowded
- Close to town with lots of food and shopping options
- Need a full day to get around. Where at Keystone we could go and ski for an hour and get two laps on Schoolmarm, you feel like you need a lot more time to fully expereince Breck’s best terrain.
- If you are paying for just a day pass, Breck is a little more expensive
If you are a total newbie at skiing or have kids that are just learning, Breckenridge is the perfect destination. Sure you need a full day, but you are probably going with the intention of being on the slopes for most of the day.
Ski Breck With The Epic Pass and save $$
The Epic Pass can save you a lot of money on lift tickets if you’e skiing more than 2-4 days in the whole season. Click here to get full details.
- The A-Basin/Keystone pass (now replaced with the Keystone Plus pass) from Epic.
- Add on Breckenridge to make it the Summit Value Pass
- Upgrade to the full Epic Pass and get access to dozens of ski resorts outside of Summit county as well.
- Or go through the Ikon pass and just get Copper Mountain access.
Related Blog: Best Ski Passes Compared: Epic vs Icon vs Indy Ski Pass
Other Breckenridge Blogs:
- 25 Things to do in Summit County in Winter
- 24 Things to do in Silverthorne
- Best Exercises For Skiers
- 3 Best Breweries Summit County
- Pack List for Ski Trip: 26 Essentials for Skiing and Snowboarding
- How to Hike the 14er Grays Peak
- Best Fall Hikes near Breckenridge