Breckenridge ski resort has a more casual atmosphere than its livelier sister resort, Vail, but it boasts an equally stunning landscape: a backdrop of five peaks, crisscrossed by beautifully groomed trails. It also lays claim to the dubious honor of being America's most visited ski area.
Long before the ski industry came, Breckenridge and Summit County was a lively mining community. Gold was discovered in August 1859 and prospector Tom Groves, who claimed the largest single gold nugget ever found in Colorado, now has a trail-Tom's Baby-named after him and his precious find. Years of mining did more than build the county's character; time and the miners changed the face of the land. Summit County is still pockmarked with mines and remains rich in frontier history and folklore.
Breckenridge has some claims in skiing history too, as it was the first resort in Colorado to permit snowboarders and the first in the world to install a high-speed detachable quad chair lift. It also witnessed the first wave of overseas skiers, notably the Brits in the 1980s, and some 10 percent of visitors still arrive from overseas. But the largest influx is caused by the weekenders from Denver.
Updated for Winter 2015-2015 - David B. Cronheim