Sustainability Tips From the High Country Conservation Team

With a mission to promote practical solutions for waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community, HC3 is a non-profit resource for people who care about the sustainability of Summit County.

Volunteer Opportunities in Breckenridge

Whether you live in Breckenridge or are just visiting, there’s no better way to give back to our mountain community than by volunteering a little time. There are countless nonprofit organizations in Breckenridge and Summit County that provide services to our residents, the planet and beyond. If you’d like to give back, consider a few opportunities below. 

Year-Round Volunteer Opportunities 

FIRC  

The Family Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) has served Summit County since 1993. FIRC provides a variety of services like housing assistance, mental health navigation, food market, parenting support and so much more. FIRC is always looking for volunteers to assist in their food markets and in their thrift store in Breckenridge, Thrift & Treasure. 

Smart Bellies 

Smart Bellies is a backpack food program that has been feeding students in Summit and Lake Counties since 2018. Each week this generous nonprofit provides nutritious, kid-friendly meals and family bags of produce to children and families in our community. You can sign up to help pick up supplies, pack bags of food or deliver directly to homes.  

Breckenridge Backstage Theater 

Breckenridge Backstage Theater relies on volunteers to help them put on amazing performances and events. During their theater rotation they are often looking for volunteers to help with concessions, tickets, constructions and more. Why not catch a show and support a local nonprofit at the same time?

Volunteers working on a trail in Breckenridge.

Seasonal Volunteer Opportunities 

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District 

If you happen to find yourself in Breckenridge in the summer, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD) is always seeking volunteers to help with trail and forest health projects. If you enjoy some of the hundreds of miles of trails throughout Breckenridge, volunteering to help restore and build trails is a great way to give back to the land.  

Summit Huts 

If you enjoy backcountry skiing in the winter or long hikes in the summer, you may have noticed a few backcountry cabins on your adventures. These incredible cabins can be rented by backcountry travelers, but they need help to be maintained! These volunteer opportunities typically include physical labor like wood splitting and maintenance projects. Volunteers are rewarded with a free night stay in any of the Summit Huts Hutmasters Quarters for each day of volunteer work. 

Breckenridge Events 

Breckenridge is a town full of popular events like Oktoberfest, the International Snow Sculpture Championships, Wine Classic, Breck Film Fest and more. Many of these events are looking for volunteers like you to help the event run smoothly. At celebrations like Oktoberfest, volunteers receive a stein and two drink tokens which makes your time giving back even sweeter! 

Racers at the starting arch at the RAM Walk in Breckenridge

Charity Events 

FIRC Fashion Show 

If you don’t have time to volunteer with FIRC at the thrift store or food markets, attending their annual Fashion Show fundraiser is a fantastic way to show your support. Each year local models use reimagined thrift store finds to bring a new theme to life.  

RAM Walk 

The Rob Millisor Heart Health Walk was established in memory of Rob Millisor, one of the owners/developers of Breckenridge Grand Vacations. Each year you can participate in the race or walk to raise money for heart health research which has included the installation of AED units around Breckenridge. If you can’t make the event, you can opt to donate. The total raised from 2016 –2022 has been over $1 million. 

The Great Rubber Duck Race 

This longstanding Summit County Tradition, put on by the Summit Foundation, has supported our mountain community for more than three decades. The race typically takes place on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. The race itself features over 10,000 ducks, purchased by donation, that race down the Blue River in the heart of Breckenridge, vying for the top spot and prizes. 

Rubber ducks floating down the Blue River in Breckenridge

Don’t Have Time to Volunteer?  

If you can’t give back time but would like to donate in some way, the Summit Foundation is a fantastic organization that has supported our community for over 35 years. The Summit Foundation has given $46 million back to the community since 1984 and provides student scholarships and grants to local nonprofits. You can feel good knowing your dollars will go directly to the community you know and love.

How Breckenridge is a Regenerative Travel Destination

Sustainable travel has become an important part in choosing vacation destinations and Breckenridge does it well as a Mountain IDEAL sustainable destination. But have you heard of regenerative travel? Regenerative travel focuses on how travel can improve not only the environment but the communities that people visit so you can have a net positive impact on the destination you are visiting.  

How can you do that with a trip to Breckenridge? Read on to find out all the ways you can give back to this beautiful mountain town when you visit.  

Sustainability in Breckenridge 

Breckenridge has a carbon-neutral goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy by 2035 and there are many actions you can take during your visit to contribute. Free public transportation is available throughout Breckenridge and Summit County so you can reduce your footprint while you sit back and relax. In addition, the Town of Breckenridge has a bag fee of 10 cents per bag, so bringing your own reusable bag is highly encouraged.  

If you are looking for more ways to travel and stay sustainably in Breckenridge, our Sustainable Travel Guide has you covered. 

Group of Mountain Bikers in Breckenridge

B Like Breckenridge 

B Like Breckenridge is a movement born in the spirit of our historic mountain town by the Town of Breckenridge. According to the Town of Breckenridge, its cause is “one that reminds us to act with intention. To be thoughtful in how we interact with nature, wildlife and one another. And to do our part daily, however big or small, to preserve and protect our communities, our natural environment, and our world.” 

B Like Breckenridge embraces the spirit of regenerative travel and encourages using less, walking more, leaving no trace, sticking to the trails, respecting wildlife, nature, and each other, and being a responsible steward of our communities. 

Two people volunteering on trail work in Breckenridge

Volunteer Your Time  

There are so many ways to volunteer your time during a trip to Breckenridge. Countless nonprofit organizations that serve the community seek weekly volunteers like the Family and Interculture Resource Center and Smart Bellies. Breckenridge also hosts a plethora of amazing events throughout the year. If you’re coming to town for one of these events, consider volunteering a few hours. By volunteering at these events, you typically receive free entry or drink vouchers!  

Aerial View of Breckenridge Ski Resort, the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 and the Grand Colorado on Peak 8

Stay with a Company that Gives Back 

Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV) is the family-owned parent company of Grand Timber Lodge, the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 and the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 in Breckenridge. The owners of BGV realized they have an obligation to financially support the many nonprofit agencies that make Summit County such a wonderful place to live.  

BGV Gives was established to facilitate and further extend BGV’s philanthropic reach and impact in the community and now supports hundreds of local nonprofits and organizations. One prominent initiative includes the annual Rob Millisor Heart Health Walk that has contributed over $1 million to The Rob Millisor Heart Health Fund at The Summit Foundation to support heart health programs, education and research. 

By booking your stay at one of BGV’s properties you are actively contributing to the success of BGV Give’s philanthropic efforts and the local community!  

Your Guide to Sustainable Travel in Breckenridge

If you’re planning a trip to Breckenridge, consider adding a sustainable travel plan to your checklist. Earlier this year Breckenridge became the second town in the world to be certified as a Mountain IDEAL sustainable destination. What does that mean? Breckenridge has put time and energy into creating a plan for a sustainable future including a carbon-neutral goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy by 2035. With more than one million visitors annually, your travel habits can make a difference in our mountain community. 

Travel to Breckenridge Sustainably 

Denver International Airport (DIA) is the closest airport to Breckenridge, so travelers can expect at least a two hour drive to arrive in mountain paradise. Instead of renting a car, beat the congestion and traffic of I-70 and opt for a discounted shared shuttle from the airport to your lodging.  

Once you’re here, the Breck Free Ride bus system provides free public transportation throughout Breckenridge. With several color-coded routes and an interactive schedule, it takes the headache out of navigating. An added sustainable bonus — the Free Ride fleet includes two all-electric buses! 

For travelers arriving via electric car, Breckenridge has 22 public electric vehicle charging ports at conveniently located around town 

Sustainable Lodging Options in Breckenridge 

Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV), a developer and manager of three properties in Breckenridge, is committed to sustainable efforts through responsible business practices that ensure minimal impact on the mountain environment. Thirty-nine percent of waste created at BGV’s resorts or corporate offices is diverted through recycling and compost efforts. Plus, 100% of the electricity consumed at the company’s corporate offices is offset by solar panels.  

As of April 2022, BGV has signed a 4.9 megawatt community solar subscription with Pivot Energy. This is one of the largest community solar subscriptions in the history of the hospitality sector and a vital component of BGV’s sustainability initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.

Guests of Grand Timber Lodge, the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 and the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 will find they too can contribute to BGV’s sustainable efforts. Each property offers a complimentary shuttle service to transport guests around town and also provides electric vehicle charging stations in their heated garages.

Guests are encouraged to help in sustainable efforts by utilizing on-property water bottle refilling stations, setting their thermostat at or below 68 degrees, reusing their towels and turning off lights and televisions when not in use. In addition, guests have access to recycling throughout the properties and can make use of countertop compost pails available at the Front Desks. 

Gear Rentals

If you’re new to skiing and snowboarding and are in need of some gear for your trip, you’re not alone! There’s no need to buy a whole set up with a plethora of thrift stores and rentals available in Breckenridge.  

Consider renting your skis, helmets and boots through companies like Ski Butlers, Breck Sports and Alpine Sports. Many companies are located on properties or will deliver to you no matter where you are staying! For ski pants and jackets, visit Ridden in Breckenridge. The shop offers consignment items along with outerwear rentals and even sled rentals for the nearby sledding hill at Carter Park 

Reduce Waste 

Be sure to add your reusable bags and water bottles to your packing list.  

In an effort to discourage the use of plastic bags, Breckenridge passed a plastic bag ban this year which means only paper bags are available at stores for a 10 cent fee. Practice BYO BAG to avoid fees at checkout. No bag? No problem! Ask the property’s Front Desk or a local retailer about the reusable bags that the Town of Breckenridge provides. 

The Town of Breckenridge has a goal to reduce waste headed to the landfill by 40%. Help reach this goal, and enjoy fresh mountain water, by bringing your reusable water bottle and refilling at one of the water fill stations around town. 

Sustainable Activities in Breckenridge 

Skiing is the ultimate outdoor winter activity and Breckenridge Ski Resort is known for its world class skiing and riding. Vail Resorts’ comprehensive sustainability commitment, Epic Promise For A Zero Footprint, aims to achieve zero waste to landfill, zero net emissions and zero net operating impacts to forests and habitat all by 2030. While you’re on the slopes, take a look around you. Breckenridge Ski Resort has installed lower energy chairlifts that use 30% less electricity along with low energy snowmaking guns that use more than 50% less compressed air than traditional snowmaking guns. 

Bonus sustainable activities for the non-skiers include cross country skiing and snowshoeing at the Breckenridge Nordic Center. Here you can rent the gear you need and explore over 2,000 acres of beautiful high alpine forest. 

Bottom line whatever vacation activity you choose you can take steps to leave Breckenridge better than you found it.