Skiing is definitely one of the highlights of a vacation to Breckenridge, Colorado. The mountain runs were perfect for our family of beginner to intermediate skiers. And the lift lines the few days before Thanksgiving were quite manageable. Although many people travel to Breck for the skiing, the authentic mountain town at the base of the slopes sets this area apart from other nearby ski resorts. Here are some of our favorite reasons to visit Breckenridge beyond skiing.
6 Reasons to Visit Breckenridge, Beyond Skiing
Breckenridge isn’t your average ski resort. Although the skiing in Breckenridge is awesome, there is a lot to do off the slopes. Breck is an actual mountain town with a rich history that goes back to fur traders and gold mining — before skiing was even a thought. In addition to the ski resort, Breckenridge has a bona fide community, one that likes to have fun. This season, take a break from the slopes and visit Breckenridge beyond skiing.
Here are three free signature special events to wrap your visit around, as well as, three more things to do in Breckenridge beyond skiing to enjoy anytime.
Breckenridge Beyond Skiing: Special Events
Snow Sculpture Championships
The International Snow Sculpture Championships is a three-week event in January. Snow artists from around the world come to Breckenridge to compete. The sculptures start as 12 foot tall, 20+ ton blocks of snow and are transformed into beautiful works of art using only hand tools. See workers stomp the snow into blocks the first week. Watch artists carve their sculptures the second week. And weather permitting, the sculptures remain on view for another week.
If you know anything about Vikings, you know they love to have a good time. There is no better place for a Viking to have fun than Ullr Fest in Downtown Breckenridge.
Grab your horned helmet and meet on Main Street for the Ullr Parade, followed by a Ullr town bonfire. The party continues with ice-skating and Ullr helmet decorating for kids. Join in. Or just watch the Ullympics where participants compete in events such as the frying pan toss, group ski racing and the ski boot relay.
Afterward, relax a little and take in a Breckenridge Bucks hockey game at the Steve C West Ice Arena.
Race of the Santas
Santa needs to get in shape for the long haul around the world. He does that by racing down Main Street Breckenridge with 100’s of folks dressed in his likeness.
Santa may be doing it for the health benefits, but others are in it for Ullr helmets and prize packs for top finishers. Others are just in it for the fun, walking, jogging or just skipping along at the back of the pack. Everyone from young to old is encouraged to come in costume and proceeds benefit a local charity. Stay late and enjoy the lights throughout Downtown Breckenridge.
Breckenridge Beyond Skiing: Community Fun
One of the many reasons I love Breck is that it’s not just a contrived ski resort, but a real working, breathing town with a history beyond snow. A history you can learn about at the museum located in the Breckenridge Welcome Center, or on one of the many Breckenridge Heritage Alliance tours. In the wintertime, take a snowshoeing tour. We went on the Iowa Mine Trail hike because it had old mining equipment along the way that kept the little one interested and moving.
Our guide, Rick, is a retired plant manager from New Jersey, and a history buff. He told us stories of the area and the miners that worked the land, and let us into a miner’s boarding house, showing us how the men lived before skiing was even a thought.
He also reminded me of what I adore about Breckenridge, the laid back vibe. Rick forgot the waivers we needed to sign, so he just pulled out a piece of paper and had us sign it. I had to laugh thinking of all the lawyers I know in Atlanta who would have probably made him go back and get ‘official’ waivers with all the legal mumbo jumbo.
Carter Park Free Sledding Hill
The history hike was a little much for my youngest, but he perked up at the suggestion that we go sledding at the free sledding hill in town. Ask your rental company if they can supply sleds, or if all else fails, purchase a few saucers at the City Market Downtown.
We met a family from Dallas, TX on the hill. They were just as excited to see snow as we were. As a full moon appeared creating a blue filter on the hill, and we packed our sleds to leave, a family of foxes came out to play. It was a storybook ending to a great day.
Shopping in Breckenridge
My kids may not think this is fun, but I loved browsing the unique shops in downtown Breckenridge. My favorite is Marigold’s Farmhouse Funk and Junk. You never know what you’ll find there, or at Ole Man Berkin’s Bookstore. This local used bookstore is a bit off the beaten path, and a bit off in general, which is what I love. If you need a card to send to your ex who just broke up with you, this is the place to find it.