Everything To Know About Ski Conditions in Breckenridge

Lining the mountainscape above the town of Breckenridge is the aptly named Breckenridge Ski Resort. Spanning across 5 peaks of the Ten Mile range, it is nearly impossible to not be in awe when you drive down the highway and see the town, mountains, and resort for the first time. With Breckenridge’s base elevation of 9600 ft above sea level, often you can find amazing snow conditions and lots of sunshine. Although, different times of the year present different terrain, conditions, and things to know about your time on the slopes. Having lived in Summit County for close to ten years, let me share some helpful knowledge on what to expect when visiting the resort.

Early Season: Mid-November to Mid-December. 

Breckenridge typically opens the second weekend of November. While not the first resort to open in Colorado or even Summit County, they usually have some of the best early season snow. With recent upgrades to the snowmaking system, gone are the days of the “White Ribbon of Death”. Opening Day is a great time to visit as it is full of energy and the town itself is still waking up from the off season. Early in the season, Breckenridge Ski Resort’s dedicated snowmaking and grooming teams follow a standard pattern of terrain openings: Open the mountain at Peak 8 with the Colorado chair and a few trails underneath it, usually a green and blue level run. After Colorado chair, with natural snowfall and favorable snowmaking conditions, shortly the Rocky Mountain Super Chair will open.

It is usually a goal of the resort team to have Peak 9 with its long mellow sloping groomers open by Thanksgiving. That means for the first big holiday of the season they will have the Quicksilver, Beaver Run, and Mercury chairlifts spinning. During this time more and more terrain will open from natural snowfall, but be cautious off of groomed run as natural terrain and “snow snakes” (sticks, rocks, or natural obstacles) that can be could be hiding under shallow snow. The snow on groomed runs will be good and can be great even with just a little natural snowfall. Temperatures will be milder these months with November usually having highs in the upper 30s and lows in mid 20s, while December begins to cool off with highs in the upper 20s and lows in the high teens.

If enough natural snowfall has occurred, Ski Patrol and Resort Ops teams will begin to expand up the mountain and look to open the famed T-bar or 6 Chair on Peak 8. These areas are heavily dependent on natural snowfall as they are a high alpine environment where snow making equipment is not installed. Getting the first run down Contest bowl or Horseshoe bowl could be an exhilarating experience, but with early season conditions still, caution must be exercised!

The next to open will be Peak 7! This depends a lot on favorable snowmaking temperatures and natural snowfall, so the range of dates for when the Independence and Freedom Super Chairs begin to run is quite large. On average snowfall years, you can expect this peak with its long blue groomed runs to open before Christmas.

The Holidays: Late December – Mid January

With three peaks open and plenty of visitors wanting to spend their holidays in a winter wonderland, more advanced terrain will begin to open up (once again, natural snowfall and good snowmaking temps dependent). The next terrain openings vary from year to year, but more often than not, once conditions are right, Peak 10 and its steep advanced runs will open up for some leg-burning fun. The average daily temperature this time of year is in the 20s with lows in the low to mid-teens. During this time, skiing on the weekdays is crucial to get more runs and avoid long lift lines. This peak opened in 2013 is the latest addition to Breckenridge’s expansive terrain. Peak 6 has a little bit of everything: Groomed runs, trees, open bowls, and a hike to high alpine chutes all accessed by the high-speed Kensho 6-pack chair. Peak 6 has several blue runs which are great for the intermediate skier or snowboarder.

Mid Season: Mid January – March

The heart of the season. By now hopefully, your ski legs are warmed up as the final pieces of the mountain to open will be accessed by the highest chair lift in North America. Unloading at 12,840ft above sea level, the Imperial Chair stands above them all. From here you can access black diamond and double black expert terrain in the Imperial Bowl and Whale’s Tail – or you can take a groomed single black-rated run, Imperial Ridge back down to lower elevation. The views from the top of this chair and the mountain are stunning and you can see mountain tops all the way to Pike’s Peak!

This is the time in the season when Breckenridge is most likely to have a good base of snow and your best chance to catch a powder day! March is typically Colorado’s snowiest month, and when the snow starts dropping & the whole resort is open, it is game on! Colorado enjoys over 300 days of sunshine annually, so you are able to soak up some rays on a bluebird day in the Mid Season. January and February typically have a high temperature of around 30 degrees and low temperatures in the low teens.

Spring: March – April 

Let the sun shine! While we often time get big dumps of snow in March, when it isn’t snowing, the temperatures are heating up to almost 40 degrees! Did someone say sweatshirt weather? These are great days for those who love skiing but maybe not the cold temps that are often associated with it. Breckenridge’s elevation keeps the snow in great condition and you can find stashes of powder for days after a storm.

April – May: Late Season 

Still yearning for a ski day? You can often find warmer temps and less crowded slopes in the late season. The mountain will begin to scale back operations and close down Peaks 10, 6, and 9 and the conclusion of April, leaving Peaks 8 & 7 open for the final month of the season. By this time, you can expect to be surfing the slush on warm sunny days – although, I’ve experienced a handful of sneaky late season snow storms at the beginning of May before! In April highs are consistently in the 40s and creep up even higher in May! Usually, the slopes are quiet this time of year, and the town has a little less foot traffic as well.

Once May rolls around, terrain availability is all dependent on the weather. The Resort intends to stay open until Memorial Day, but that is all weather dependent and trails will begin to close down. Closing day, whether on May 31st or earlier, is usually a blast. You’ll see (and should participate in)lots of costumes and celebrations of a season well spent.

Sometimes it is hard to think back, months and months ago to the first time you strapped in on a board or skis, but if you spent any of that time during one of the aforementioned seasons, hopefully, the interim is filled with happy memories. This guide on terrain, temperatures, and conditions is all very weather dependent and it is best to check our Breckenridge Ski Resort’s snow report and lift & terrain status page before planning your visit. In addition, you can utilize the great weather reporting service, OpenSnow to check on how much snow has fallen or what is in the forecast. No matter the season you decide to visit Breckenridge, staying slopeside offers amazing access to the slopes, I’d highly recommend the special offers at the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 or the Grand Lodge on Peak 7! Click here for some exclusive offers for these properties!

Hot Boozy Drinks

There are few better ways to reward yourself than with a hot boozy drink after a day on the mountain. Take a stroll down Main Street and try out some of the best boozy hot chocolates, ciders, spiced wine and anything that you could desire.

Breckenridge Holiday Traditions: Team Edition

If you’re visiting Breckenridge for the holidays, you may have holiday traditions that you bring with you, or you may be looking to start new traditions with your family. The Best of Breck team has shared their favorite ways to celebrate the holidays in Breckenridge so you can feel right at home!  

Breckenridge Holiday Guide

When it comes to the holiday season, we like to consider Breckenridge a winter wonderland. There’s magic around every corner with twinkling holiday lights, a fresh blanket of snow and a bright and spirited atmosphere. Seasonal events, winter activities and pure holiday magic make Breckenridge the perfect holiday destination.  

Holiday Events  

There’s no better way to get in the holiday spirit than by attending one of Breckenridge’s iconic events. The first Saturday of December brings the Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas, an event that heralds the holiday season. The event kicks off with a holiday dog parade, followed by hundreds of Santas racing down Main Street. The grand finale occurs when Blue River Plaza is illuminated with more than 250,000-holiday lights. 

Celebrate all things winter and pray for snow December 8–11 at Breckenridge’s Ullr Fest. This multi-day event honors Ullr, the Norse God of Snow, and is filled with celebrations like the “unofficial” world’s longest Shotski, Ullr Parade and Ullr Bonfire. 

Holiday Activities 

There is an abundance of activities available around Breckenridge so you can make new holiday memories with your family or celebrate an old tradition. 

  • A Christmas Story: Join Breckenridge Backstage Theater as they perform A Christmas Story December 7–30. Secure your tickets in advance here! 
  • Sleigh Rides with Breckenridge Stables: Picture a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the quiet snow, wrapped in a warm blanket next to your loved one while the sound of sleigh bells rings in the air. We can’t think of a more quintessential holiday activity. 
  • Winter Ice Show: Enjoy an evening of holiday-themed entertainment at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge on December 10. This family-friendly show includes performances from local youth and adult figure skaters. 
  • Ice Skating: If you’d like to give ice skating a whirl, head to the quaint outdoor ice-skating rink at the Grand Colorado on Peak 8. Grab a cup of hot cocoa at Ullr Café, rent your skates and enjoy mountain vistas and outdoor firepits between laps.  
  • Sledding: Enjoy a little free holiday fun by heading to the sledding hill at Carter Park! Many people leave their sleds to be reused, or you can stop by the local City Market to buy your own. 
  • DIY an Ugly Sweater: Join BreckCreate for a date night on December 16 and prep for your next holiday party by creating your very own ugly sweater. You and your partner will craft to your heart’s content while enjoying an adult beverage, or two.  
  • Shopping: Breckenridge is a haven for small, locally-owned boutiques and shops. Grab a cup of coffee and take a stroll down Main Street while you tick items off your holiday shopping list. Our holiday shopping guide will help you find all the unique and specialty shops in town. 

Holiday Lodging 

During the holidays, you might want to feel at home even if you’re away from home. The Grand Colorado on Peak 8, Grand Lodge on Peak 7 and Grand Timber Lodge are all properties that will make you feel right at home. From their superior service and amenities to their spacious residences, there is a little bit of everything you need. As a bonus, these properties offer the option to add a Christmas tree to your room for an extra fee. Be sure to secure your dates before they are gone! 

Holiday Tips 

  • Make Advance Reservations: The holidays are a popular time of year and bring many visitors from all over the world. Lodging and dining tend to fill up early and fast, so be sure to plan ahead for special dinners. In addition, booking ski rentals and activities ahead of your stay will ensure you and your family will spend more time together and less time in lines. 
  • Explore Hidden Gems: Breckenridge is filled with hundreds of bars, restaurants and shops and some of them are a little off the beaten path but well worth the visit! Discover a few Breckenridge hidden gems when the popular stops in town are hopping. 
  • Plan for Winter Weather: In December Breckenridge is like a winter snow globe with average highs in the 30s and average snowfall around 57 inches. Be sure to be prepared to keep warm and dry with the appropriate outerwear and layers. Our winter packing guide has you covered from gloves to ChapStick.