I have a certain fondness for Breckenridge. When first leaning how to ski, it was at Breckenridge where everything finally “clicked” for me. One thing I don’t remember as a kid, though, was big crowds at Peak 8.
As you likely know by now, parking anywhere near the mountain is paid. This is one reason I sometime pick Keystone over Breckenridge: depending on what time I get there, can I just walk from my car to the lift or do I have to go find a colored bus? The Airport Lot is not readily marked as you come into Breckenridge. So, for my first day back I cruised right past it and had to loop back. Oh well.
We arrived a bit after 9 and had no problem parking, jumping on a bus and heading to the main Gondola.
Peak 8 and Peak 9 only
Our second mistake was jumping off the bus at the Gondola. The Red Route (from the Airport Lot) will stop at the Gondola and then at Beaver Run. Naturally, everyone descends upon the Gondola to head up the mountain. This means crowds, in the future I’ll head straight to Beaver Run
Since Peak 7 isn’t open yet (it opens this Friday, December 3), it seemed like the Gondola was never going to get us there. Again, once we got off at Peak 8, this is where everyone was. Since the Colorado and Rocky Mountain Super Chairs are right next to each other, there’s no other way to describe the level of crowdedness, confusion, and all around cluelessness that happens at the base of Peak 8.
Don’t get me wrong, Peak 8 is a great place to ski a variety of terrain. Plus, the Rocky Mountain Super Chair is the fastest and easiest way to get straight over to the T-Bar. There are some redeeming values, I just struggle with the crowds sometimes.
One Ski Hill
When you first arrive at the base of Peak 8 you can’t help but notice the new One Ski Hill resort. Talk about luxury. The place is huge and seems like a nice addition to the mountain. I’ve heard there is some nice apres cider and snacks, I’ll have to stop by soon to confirm this.
Peak 9 had some nice blue runs and we stayed most of the day over there. The bottom of Beaver Run had some crowds of its own, but mainly around “rush hour” times, especially before lunch. Worth noting, the Coppertop restaurant plays some of the worst music around on the outdoor patio (Lady Gaga doesn’t do it for me), so perhaps I’ll bring my own tunes for the lift line.
One nice thing about nice sunny days is that, if you can’t have the snow, you get to enjoy the outdoors a bit more. We sat outside in the lounge chairs at Ten Mile Station and enjoyed the sunshine. Those chairs are addictive though. Be warned, it may become an accidental napping spot by early afternoon.
In general, Breckenridge was crowded but fine. No new snow, no real good man made snow, so we took it easy. I’m looking to come back when some of the higher terrain (Peak 10) opens up and when the t-bar gets some new snow.