It’s that time of year again here in Colorado – ski season! The champagne powder has begun doing its magic in the high-country and the locals her in Colorado are gearing up for an epic season – including me! To get things started – and to celebrate Breckenridge opening for the season – I felt it necessary to share some fun facts about one of America’s favorite ski resorts. These fun tidbits might just help break the ice when you’re riding up the lift.
15 Fun Facts About Breckenridge
1. Breckenridge was founded in 1859 by a small group of prospectors who struck it rich when they discovered gold along the Blue River. Like so many other Colorado mountain communities, this drove a Gold Rush in the area resulting in the development of the town.
2. The town of Breckenridge is only 7 miles long and 2 miles wide, yet it’s currently home to 76 restaurants and bars.
3. When the town was originally founded, it was spelled BreckINridge in honor of the Vice President at the time. (The people in town were angling to use this “honor” to get a local Post Office…and it worked.) Two years later that Vice President took sides with the Confederate Army when the Civil War broke out. The townspeople didn’t like this so they changed the spelling to BreckENridge.
4. Breckenridge was inadvertently left off a U.S. map in the mid-1800s and became known as “Colorado’s Kingdom”. The mistake was NOT discovered or corrected until 50 years later. (Every summer the town celebrates this unique part of its past with the Kingdom Days celebration.)
5. In 1960 the population in Breckenridge dwindled down to less than 400; people feared Breckenridge would fall off the map – again. But when the ski area opened in 1960, the population soared and today it’s over 3,500. Skiing truly brought new life and industry into Breckenridge.
6. The first Breckenridge ski area to open was Peak 8 in 1960, followed by Peak 9 in 1971.Today Breckenridge is home to Peak 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Peak 6 opened in 2013).
7. Breckenridge became Colorado’s first major resort to allow snowboarding in 1984, followed by Steamboat Springs and Vail in 1987.
8. The three most-visited ski resorts in America’s are: No. 1 Vail Mountain, No. 2 Breckenridge Ski Resort, No. 3 Keystone Resort.
9. Colorado is home to 53 peaks that rise 14,000 feet or higher – these mountains are dubbed 14er’s. From Breckenridge they are part of your daily view – Quandary, Grays Peak and Torreys Peak. While these peaks make for a good view, they also contribute to the snowfall in Breck as they increase the chances of fresh snow at the ski resort. (more on this)
10. More than 1.5 million people come to Breckenridge to ski each year. Another 1.5 come to enjoy the summer activities.
11. What’s so cool about a chairlift? Try riding on the highest one in North America – 12,840 feet. You can at Breckenridge, just jump on the Imperial Express chairlift. Imagine the views…
12. While Breckenridge may top the list as one of America’s favorite ski resorts, the little mountain town has hung onto – and takes care of – its history. The town has one of the largest historic districts in the state of Colorado, with more than 200 structures on the National Register of Historic Places. (That’s a lot of buildings within 7miles.)
13. Want to taste a little of Breck’s past? Grab a drink at the Gold Pan Saloon, a popular “drinking hole” from back in 1859, which is still pouring today. The Gold Pan Saloon is one of the oldest running pubs in the country. To be more exact, the Gold Pan Saloon is the oldest operating (oldest continuous liquor license) saloon west of the Mississippi.
14. There are nearly 700 hotels, Inns and Bed & Breakfasts in Breckenridge, not to mention 4,348 condo units. (That’s A LOT of pillows.)
15. It’s all about the number 300 in Breckenridge. The town enjoys 300 inches of snowfall and 300 days of sunshine per year (on average).
Learn anything about Breckenridge here? Pass it along – sharing is caring! And if you’re planning to visit Breckenridge soon, you can learn more about its history by joining a group historical walking tour through the Breckenridge Welcome Center and Museum (203 S. Main St), they also offer information for visitors to conduct a self-guided tour.
Elaine Schoch (pronounced the German way – Shock) is the editor and founder of Carpe Travel as well as an award-winning travel writer, wine judge, certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 and certified American Wine Expert. She is married to The Husband and has two kids, Princess One and Two – who’s interest and knowledge in wine is quite extensive. Not to mention the stamps in their passports.