Summer and fall seem to dominate the free activity landscape with all the hiking, farmers' markets, National Repertory Orchestra porch series concerts at our Breckenridge Associates office and such, but fear not fine friends — winter holds plenty of free and low cost options.
Winter in the high country equals snow. In other parts of the county snowfall may bring groans about shoveling, while snow here generally means opportunities for sliding. But not all snow-sliding activities equal skiing and pricey lift tickets. (Revisit our past article on how to navigate lift ticket and season pass pricing to make the lift-served sliding more affordable.)
The best free snow-sliding adventure west of, well, anywhere? Carter Park Sledding Hill. Park in the lot at the south end of High Street and follow the sound of pealing laughter. This park, tucked into a residential neighborhood in Breckenridge, was home to the original town ski lift - a rope tow. While the tow-rope is long gone, the perfectly pitched hill and massive views of the Ten Mile Range remain. Walk up the side and stay alert for other sledders. Perfect on sunny days and chilly nights - you should bring your own sleds, lots of layers, and hot chocolate. Food Kingdom on French Street and City Market both sell low cost sleds, but many lodging properties have them to lend out to guests. Be sure to ask your host or concierge.
How about a free gondola ride from town to the base of Peaks 7 and 8? No need to show a ski pass, and you’ll float directly over the Breckenridge Nordic Center and the 77-acre Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve, home to moose, elk, beaver, mountain lion, 47 species of birds, and the elusive high country creature, the 5% body fat, skate-skiing, V02 max crushing soccer mom. Beware trying to keep up with this creature on the Nordic trails. Impossible.
The packed Breckenridge event schedule provides tons of entertainment. The Lighting of Breckenridge/Run of the Santas on December 2 is not to miss.
December 14-17 brings the Dew Tour, an Olympic qualifier, back to town with a full schedule of competitions, events and traditionally, live music. Stay tuned as more information is released as the event approaches. Ullr Fest, the beloved local week-long love letter of parties and the famous parade celebrating Ullr, the Nordic god of snow. Ullr Fest takes place January 10-13th, 2018. Local’s tip - share your schnapps - make friends! The International Snow Sculpting Championships may officially start on January 22nd, 2018 and run through the 26th, but beginning on the 16th there is an opportunity to get behind the scenes and help prepare the massive 12 feet tall, 20+ ton blocks of snow for the sculptors. From the 22nd to the 29th visitors are welcome anytime to observe the sculpting process and then to enjoy the finished art works, round the clock, for no charge at all. Located at the Riverwalk Center just a block off Main Street.
Want to speed up your heart rate and slow down to enjoy nature? Try a snowshoe. The Gold Run Nordic Center, located a few miles north of Breckenridge on Tiger Road, offers snow shoe rentals for just $20.
Here’s one for the kiddos and their grown up humans. The Mountain Top Children’s Museum on South Park is just 8 bucks per shorty and $1 for their accompanying adult. A slew of activities, educational play and art projects await you.
And finally, the ultimate pocket-friendly tropical get away - the Breckenridge Recreation Center Pool and Aquatics center offers indoor and outdoors spas, leisure pool, a lazy river, basketball hoop, rock wall, rope swing, and a two story slide. The waters range from 81-104 degrees. Good, clean, cheap, (warm) winter fun!
There is no excuse to sit home by the fire this winter. Unless that is exactly what you want to do … then there is no excuse to go out! Follow your bliss in the high country this winter.