(BRECKENRIDGE, Colo.) — Located about 110 miles west of Colorado Springs, Breckenridge is a small town with a big personality. Summer events kick off June 30 and in the meantime, FOX21 News is getting a look at why Breckenridge should be on everyone’s summer bucket list.
Those who live and work in Breckenridge say the best way to get around town is through a combination of walking and driving. Although the restaurants, bars, and shops on Main Street are best explored on foot, Breckenridge continues to make visitors’ stay more enjoyable while maintaining a sustainable mountain resort.
“Located near Main Street is the base of the BreckConnect Gondola, right in the center of town,” said Sara Lococo, Breckenridge Senior Communications Manager.” The BreckConnect Gondola is our guests and our visitors’ transportation up to the peak eight base area at Breckenridge Ski Resort.“
While the town of Breckenridge is in the middle of an off-season, crews are hard at work to start the resort’s summer operation on June 30.
“That’s when the BreckConnect Gondola will start running again,” Loco said. “That’s when we’ll start our Epic Discovery activities up on the mountain, great family activities such as a ropes course, climbing wall, Mountain Coaster, hiking, biking, just really fun ways to explore the mountain that people know and love in winter, but to see it in summer.“
The BreckConnect Gondola offers a free transportation experience. Most visitors will travel to Breckenridge in a personal car, but once they’re on the mountain, a car is not needed.
“A lot of people come to us in cars, are traveling here by car, but once you’re here, you can really leave your car in one place, whether it’s at your lodging property, a parking area,” Lococo explained. “We want to encourage people to utilize the BreckConnect Gondola, utilize our free ride free bus system around town, and once you’re on Main Street it’s a really pretty area to explore by foot.”
It can be hard to navigate through a mountain town, but friendly bus drivers like Jim Popovich are ready to help.
“I’ve been driving a bus now for eight months,” Popovich said, “It is a very rewarding and relaxing profession, it’s a great feeling.”
Popovich has lived elsewhere but says there’s nothing that matches the energy of Breckenridge.
“I used to live in Avon, and Avon doesn’t have the same vibe as Breckenridge does,” Popovich explained. “You’ve got a lot of full-time residents here who were here before the mountain was huge. They came out here just to live the lifestyle.”
Popovich and all other bus drivers in Breckenridge can get visitors where ever they need to go, and they are filled with tips to make the most of your trip.
“Don’t forget to mention the best-looking drivers,” Popovich said.
Like most residents, Popovich says whether you’ve been to Breckenridge before or it’ll be your first time, there are some local spots most people don’t know about.
“We have the oldest operating bar west of the Mississippi,” Popovich explained. “It started in 1879 called Gold Pad Saloon, I think anybody that’s in town that drinks, you should go in there and have something to whet the whistle, even if it’s just to have a soda.”
Depending on what you want to do in Breckenridge, Popovich says you better stay four days minimum to get the full effect.
The BreckConnect Gondola will run daily starting June 30 through Labor Day. Sitting at an elevation of 9,600 feet and a top elevation of close to 13,000, Breckenridge is a high alpine environment. Before you head out on your trip, Breckenridge has some tips.
“Even in summer, that means being prepared for a variety of weather types and always checking the weather forecast before you go out on a mountain adventure,” Lococo explained. “What’s great about the mountains, especially for folks coming from Colorado Springs or in other warmer cities, is you can beat the heat here. We have amazing temperatures throughout most of the summer that sit in around the mid-seventies and no humidity. So it’s a great way to cool off in the summer and enjoy the outdoors.”
Like the majority of Colorado, the month of June in Breckenridge is often filled with afternoon thunderstorms.
“It’s really important to check the weather forecasts and we also recommend starting your outdoor adventure earlier in the day that helps you, summit a 14er, get up on our high Alpine Camp at the ski resort, and do those activities before a potential storm might come in and change things.”
During a summer trip to Breckenridge, visitors may experience construction at the base of Peak 8. Breckenridge Ski Resort is replacing the 5-Chair lift in order to further enhance the recreational experience for its large population of beginner and low-intermediate skiers on Peak 8. The new lift will be open come the 2023-24 winter season.
Ahead of the winter season, Breckenridge says it’s time now to get your Epic Pass. Active duty and veteran members of the military can lock down an Epic Pass for the 2023-24 season at around $200.
Stay tuned to FOX21 Local News this week as we continue to highlight everything Breckenridge has to offer.