With five towering mountains, one of which soars to nearly 13,000 feet, Breckenridge's terrain takes off where many other resorts begin. The place can seem massive, and justifiably so, with nearly 3,000 acres, four terrain parks (including a 22-foot-high superpipe), 11 bowls and 187 trails.
Yet Breckenridge remains easy to explore in bite-size bits with little chance for getting lost. That's because no matter where you ski, you'll always end up back at one of two base areas with a choice of beginner and intermediate runs to get you there.
The highlights of what you should hit are almost endless. For starters, be sure to check out the terrain known as Peak 6 from the top of the six-person Kensho Superchair, where intermediate schussers can bounce down a gentle, wide open bowl – a feature typically reserved for experts only. Peak 9 teems with blues, while Peak 8 offers up scores of easier runs with chairlifts featuring conveyor belts that make loading less jarring.
The black diamond crowd will find plenty of steeps high above the treeline off peaks 6, 7 and 8. The views aren't the only thing that will take your breath away, though. These turns happen well above 12,000 feet.
Such high-octane assets can be pretty intimidating when you're a kid just figuring out the sport. That's why Breckenridge's ski school program works to make children feel comfortable with routines – they will always be with the same instructor and frequent a lot of the same places. And they certainly won't get bored; kids can learn tricks in a park-and-pipe program that takes them gradually through the features to build confidence and skill.
What's more, when you have runs like Silverthorne that offer a consistent, beginner-friendly grade for a mile-long descent, you have lots of time to practice between lift rides. By the end of the week, even new skiers and snowboarders can find ways to never ski the same run twice.
The town itself brims with variety, too. Founded in 1859, Breckenridge started out as a gold-mining camp home to some 8,000 miners before becoming a near ghost town in the 1960s. The ski resort opened in 1961 to save the day, and today the town thrives with 350 historical buildings, the largest historical district in Colorado.
Here you can find upwards of 200 restaurants, including The Gold Pan Saloon, to this day the oldest continually-operated bar west of the Mississippi thanks to some crafty subterfuge that took place during Prohibition.
Kids are welcome pretty much everywhere, especially at the Mountain Top Children's Museum, Peek-a-Boo Toys downtown and the 69,000-square-foot Breckenridge Recreation Center, where you can find drop-in ice skating lessons, a climbing wall and an indoor water slide.
On rest days, check out the sledding at Carter Park, go mush a team of dogs or take a Nordic skiing lesson, all available in or very close to town. Or hit the resort's Alpine Coaster, a two-seater experience that traverses 2,500 feet down the mountain.
One Ski Hill Place sits at the base of Peak 8, with direct access to four chairlifts, ski school and the Gold Runner Alpine Coaster as well as the Tenmile Flyer zip line. The resort's private bowling alley keeps evenings fun, and the BreckConnect Gondola is just steps away and connects One Ski Hill Place directly to the town.
You'll find kid-friendly menus just about anywhere in Breck, but head to Downstairs at Eric's on Main Street for pizzas, burgers and an arcade with 18 video games. Grownups will like the 20 beers on tap, including at least one Breckenridge Brewery selection, and flat screens broadcasting the latest sporting events.