Breckenridge is known today as an outdoor enthusiasts dream. It has transformed into a popular destination location due to the growing success of Breckenridge Ski Resort that has become one of the top ski resorts in the nation. Infrastructure was developed to accompany the growing population along with the growth of summer activities. Rafting, mountain biking, fishing, boating, camping, and hiking are just a handful of activities that bring visitors to the area year after year.
Before the ski resort developed, what brought people to Breckenridge was gold. This was a common theme among towns in Colorado in the mid 1800’s. Gold mines sprouted along the Blue River which later transformed into hard rock mining. Because of the rich mining history in Breckenridge, you can still find the remnants from this generation spread around town. Breckenridge has over 350 historic buildings which make it the largest historic district in the state. Some mines are open to tourists along with tours of the historical buildings in town.
Between the mining generation and the ski generation, Breckenridge struggled to find its identity until 1936. Legend has it that a women’s group stumbled upon a map that did not have Breckenridge on it creating buzz that it was independent from the United States Government. This was false but made national news and led to Breckenridge being called “Colorado’s Kingdom.”
Breckenridge Ski Resort opened in 1961 and clocked almost 17,000 skier visitors. Breckenridge has grown tremendously since its early years and has become one of the leaders in innovation and creativity in its 50 plus years of operation. For instance, in 1981 Breck installed the world’s first high-speed quad chairlift. Then in 1984 Breckenridge became Colorado’s first major resort to allow snowboarding. Though both are very prevalent in the ski world today, at the time they were groundbreaking decisions.
Breckenridge has since been purchased by Vail and is a part of the Epic Pass that allows skiers and snowboarders to access some of the greatest ski resorts in the world with just one ski pass.