Breckenridge Ski Resort
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Breck seen from the west side of the summit of Dercum Mountain, at the Keystone Ski Area
|Location||White River National Forest
Summit County, Colorado, USA
|Nearest city||Breckenridge, Colorado|
|Vertical||3,398 feet (1,036 m)|
|Top elevation||12,998 feet (3,962 m)|
|Base elevation||9,600 feet (2,926 m)|
|Skiable area||2,358 acres (954 ha)|
|Longest run||"Four O'Clock" - 3.5 miles (5.6 km)|
|Lift system||30 total (1 gondola, 2 high-speed 6-passenger Superchairs, 7 high-speed quad chairs, 1 triple chair, 6 double chairs, 13 surface)|
|Terrain parks||25 acres (10 ha)|
|Snowfall||300 in/year (760 cm/year)|
Breckenridge Ski Resort, or just Breck, is perennially one of North America's top two most visited ski resorts, and is located in Summit County, Colorado in the town of Breckenridge. The resort is owned and operated by Vail Resorts, Inc., which also operates three other resorts in the state (Vail, Beaver Creek, and Keystone), and also in California Heavenly Ski Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, and Northstar at Tahoe at Lake Tahoe.
Ski area information 
Breckenridge opened on December 16, 1961. At the time, it consisted only of several trails on Peak 8, including present day trails like Springmeier and Northstar. The main lift was a double chairlift, Lift 1, which had a midway unloading station.
A year later, a double chairlift was installed up the double-black trail Mach One. The lift, later numbered Lift 3, ran from near the present-day Peak 8 SuperConnect's midway load station up to near the top of Lift 5.
In 1965, Lift 1 was supplemented by Lift 2, constructed to serve the south part of Peak 8. A base lodge was also opened on Peak 8, but it destroyed in an explosion (suspected to be caused by a gas leak) shortly after completion. Breckenridge expanded into high alpine terrain with the construction of a platter lift from near the top of Lift 2 to near the top of present day Lift 6 in 1967.
Aspen Skiing Company era 
In 1970, Breckenridge was purchased by the Aspen Skiing Company. From 1970 to 1978, the resort expanded onto Peak 9, opening four double chairlifts (Lift 4, and Lifts B, C, and D) and one triple chairlift (Lift A). Lift A serviced beginner terrain, while Lift C services trails on the north part of the main Peak 9 face. Lift D ran from near where the Beaver Run SuperChair originates today to near the top of a NASTAR course on American. Lift B ran alongside Cashier, originating near the top of the old Quicksilver Quad and offloading near the top of the Mercury SuperChair. In 1979, Lift 6 opened, replacing the platter lift. An alpine slide was opened on Peak 8 underneath Lift 5 during this time.
Breckenridge and other ski resorts faced a severe drought in the winter of 1980-1981 and installed snowmaking systems the following year. In 1981, Breckenridge installed the world's first high speed detachable quad chairlift, the Quicksilver Quad, running from the Village base area to near the bottom of Lift B. The lift was constructed by Doppelmayr.
In 1983, Riblet constructed Lift E, a double chairlift servicing the north-facing chutes on Peak 9.
In 1984, Doppelmayr constructed the T-Bar, providing access to most of Peak 8's bowl terrain.
In 1985, Breckenridge expanded to Peak 10, with the opening of Lift F, a Poma fixed grip quad. A year later, it was upgraded to a high speed quad and renamed the Falcon SuperChair. Runs on Peak 10 were named by mountain manager Jim Gill after World War II planes, like Crystal, Cimarron, Doublejack and Mustang. The same year the conversion happened, Poma built the Colorado SuperChair, replacing the aging Lift 1.
Victoria Ltd. era 
In the 1987-1988 ski season, Breckenridge topped one million skier visits, as it was sold to Victoria Ltd of Tokyo. Local residents supported the change in ownership, as some believed that the Aspen Skiing Company was exploiting revenue from Breckenridge to support its own four ski areas. Despite Aspen's withdrawal of ownership, signs of this era are still present around Breckenridge: a lift sign on th Falcon SuperChair has a font similar to that of Aspen trail signs, and several trail signs with Aspen's design can still be found scattered around Peaks 9 and 10.
Peak 9 continued lift upgrades. In 1990, Poma constructed the Beaver Run SuperChair, replacing Lift D and providing top-to-bottom lift access on Peak 9. A few of Lift D's towers were retained on the original lift line and are currently used by the ski patrol as a lift evacuation training area. This area can be seen through the trees by riding the Beaver Run SuperChair and looking to the right after the lift crosses under the Peak 8 SuperConnect, or looking to the left while riding the SuperConnect after this point.
Vail Resorts era 
In 1996, Poma constructed the Snowflake double chairlift, providing mountain access for a number of condominium developments off of Four O'Clock Road. The lift has a midway load partway up that provides access from Peak 9 to Peak 8 as an alternative route to the Peak 8 SuperConnect. The highlight of the lift is a complex 45 degree turn just above the midway load station. As the lift runs clockwise, uphill chairs make a simple 45 degree turn, while downhill chairs must make two turns and cross over themselves.
In 1997, Lifts 2 and B were removed. That same year, Breckenridge constructed two Poma high speed quads. On Peak 9, the Mercury SuperChair replaced Lift B. The replacement lift runs parallel to the Beaver Run SuperChair, originating just uphill from Lift A to make navigation easier, but ends farther uphill, closer to the top of Lift E. On Peak 8, the Rocky Mountain SuperChair was added, which made it possible for skiers to access the T-Bar and north Peak 8 trails without needing to take a long catwalk from the Colorado SuperChair.
In 1998, Ten Mile Station opened at the bottom of the Falcon SuperChair, replacing a restaurant at the top of that lit. By the following year, the eighteen-year-old Quicksilver Quad was beginning to show its age. That year, the world's first high speed quad was replaced with Quicksilver Super6, a high speed six pack. The original quad was relocated to Owl's Head, Quebec, where it still operates. Quicksilver Super6 runs from the Village base area up Silverthorne trail (to the south of Lift A) and ends at Ten Mile Station. It also carries the unique distinction of being North America's first and only double-loading chairlift. The lift has two separate loading areas. An automated rail piece is used that alternates chairs between the two, giving each an even number of chairs.
Breckenridge carried out a massive expansion and lift upgrade in 2002, expanding onto lower Peak 7. It was the largest of resort improvements done in Colorado that year. A new pod of intermediate trails with names like Monte Cristo and Lincoln Meadows was cut in the space to the north of Claimjumper and below the cat-track used by skiers to return from Peak 7's bowls. To service the new terrain, Leitner-Poma constructed a second high-speed six pack, the Independence SuperChair.
In addition to Peak 7, Leitner-Poma also built a new high speed quad connecting Peak 9 to Peak 8. The Peak 8 SuperConnect replaced the aging Lift 4 and improved navigation between the two peaks (prior to 2002, transitioning from Peak 9 to Peak 8 required going to the top of Peak 9 and taking a black trail called Shock or a blue run called Union to the bottom of Lift 4). It originates on Peak 9 at the junction of the trails Red Rover and Sundown (just down a hill from Lift A), runs to a midway load and turn station at Lift 4's loading station, then runs up Lift 4's line to the Vista Haus. Construction of the Peak 8 SuperConnect was difficult, as the new lift crosses over two lifts that had existed for years: the Beaver Run SuperChair and Lift C. As a result, the SuperConnect begins with a steep climb out of the bottom loading terminal and several very tall towers in order to cross the former lift. To guarantee that chairs are available for people using the mid-station, a system of automatic loading gates is used. These gates open when the chairs are turning into the loading area and activate a sensor. The gates can also be programmed at the bottom to not open for select chairs at a programmed frequency. Depending on how crowded the resort is, the frequency at which chairs are sent through the bottom terminal empty can be programmed differently by the lift operators: on busy days (like holidays), it generally will be every second or third chair. On less crowded days, this frequency might be every fourth or fifth chair. The midway-load station has gates that are programmed to open when they detect an empty chair coming into the upper terminal.
A big drawback of the Peak 8 alpine bowls from the beginning was that much of the terrain required taking a lengthy 45 minute hike from the top of the T-Bar, rendering them inaccessible for the most part, as this meant people had to endure bitter temperatures and howling winds. In 2005, this problem was alleviated when Leitner-Poma constructed the Imperial Express SuperChair, which beat Loveland's Chair 9 to become the highest chairlift in North America. Originating at the top of Lift 6 and topping out at 12,840 feet, the Imperial Lift services the Imperial Bowl and cut the 45 minute hike to a 3 minute lift ride. The T-Bar was retained, as it provides round-trip access to trails in the Contest Bowl and the area immediately north of it.
In 2006, the BreckConnect Gondola was constructed, improving access from the town to Peak 8 base area. It originates at the transit center off of Park Avenue and Ski Hill Road, and runs up to a first midway turn station at Shock Hill, servicing a condominium development. From here, the gondola runs up to just below Peak 7, where it has a second turn terminal and station, servicing Peak 7, the Crystal Peak Lodge, and the Grand Lodge on Peak 7. The gondola then has a final leg that runs over to Peak 8 base. When it opened, the Peak 7 base area had not yet been developed, and the Peak 7 station merely functioned as a turn terminal.
In 2008, Breckenridge began developing Peak 8 and Peak 7, shifting the main center of activity from Peak 9 to Peak 8, which also emerged as the main entry point to the resort, with the majority of guests now accessing the mountain via the BreckConnect Gondola. From 2008 to 2010, One Ski Hill Place was constructed at Peak 8 base, in between Lift 5 and Lift 7, and OSHP opened to the public for the first time in 2010. The lodge has a new food court facility supplementing the existing infrastructure. Also in 2008, the Crystal Peak Lodge and Grand Lodge on Peak 7 were built at the Peak 7 turn station on the BreckConnect Gondola. To tie the new lodges in to Peak 7, the Independence SuperChair was extended downhill by 535 feet.
The Future 
The 2011–12 ski season was Breck's 50th Anniversary Season, with the resort implementing a year-long celebration in honor of a half-century since the resort was founded on December 16, 1961. Part of this celebration included the announcement of a 543 acre expansion on Peak 6. It will include a six person high-speed lift and a fixed-grip chair to access most of the new terrain. Breckenridge expects to open this new terrain for the 2013-2014 ski season.
On March 29, 2013, Breck announced that the resort has launched plans to completely re-imagine the resort's summer activity offerings on the mountain as part of the Vail Resorts Epic Discovery summer program, which if it meets with USFS approvals, is expected to launch to the public in summer of 2015. 
Breck comprises four adjacent peaks of the Ten Mile mountain range. Peak 10 is the southernmost part of Breckenridge, servicing only difficult-rated terrain. Formerly classified as blue-black runs, the runs of Crystal, Centennial, and Doublejack runs were reclassified in 2011 as black diamond runs, to bring the resort into alignment with the NSAA, who discontinued use of "blue-black" runs in the industry, leaving Peak 10 to be only expert-rated terrain.
Peak 9 services mostly intermediate terrain, with a significant number of beginner runs on the lower part of the mountain, though it can also access black-rated expert runs such as Devil's Crotch and the Windows hike-to terrain that lead down to E-chair on the north side of Peak 9.
Peak 8 is accessed from the Colorado SuperChair, Rocky Mountain SuperChair, 5 Chair and the Peak 8 SuperConnect. The lower part of Peak 8 accesses a few green runs, but is mostly intermediate mixed with some advanced runs. Peak 8 is also home to some of the world's best terrain parks, as freeskiers & riders have their pick of Freeway (black diamond rated) and Park Lane (blue rated) terrain parks, which are home to the 27-person Breck Pro Team, as well as numerous other extreme sports from around the world who use the parks to prepare for such events as The Dew Tour and X-Games. The back bowls on Peak 8 can be accessed via 6 Chair or the T-Bar, both can be used to access the Imperial Express lift and the northernmost (Peak 7) and westernmost bowls (Lake Chutes), which include some very difficult terrain with slopes up to 55 degrees.
The lower part of Peak 7 can also be accessed from the Independence SuperChair at the Peak 7 base area, which accesses intermediate terrain spread across rolling, hilly tree-filled blue runs.
Imperial Express 
On August 2, 2005, construction began on the Imperial Express Superchair, which opened in time for the 2005–2006 ski season. It is the highest lift in North America, reaching a peak elevation of 12,840 feet (3,910 m). It can be accessed from 6 Chair and the T-Bar.
Hiking from the top of the Imperial lift allows access to the peak of Breckenridge (Peak 8) and some of the best terrain on the mountain, including some cornices with very nice, soft landings. It can get very windy and cold at the top, and in poor visibility conditions the peak will usually be closed.
The Lake Chutes, a series of daunting chutes with an incline of up to 55 degrees is reachable from the top of Peak 8. The chutes are some of the steepest terrain in the region, running vertically for about 400 feet (122 m).
BreckConnect Gondola 
Construction of a new eight-person gondola was announced on March 12, 2006 and the grand opening was January 18, 2007. The eight passenger gondola runs from the downtown Breckenridge transportation center to a mid-station at Shock Hill, over the Cucumber Gulch Preserve, to a mid-station at the Peak 7 base area, and ends at the Peak 8 base area. It serves as a base transportation system designed to reduce dependence on buses to get between the town and the resort's Peak 7 & 8 base areas. The gondola has a maximum hourly capacity of 3,000 people and takes seven and a half minutes to reach the Peak 7 base area from the transportation center and another two and a half minutes to reach the Peak 8 base area.
The gondola runs both in winter (every day of ski season) and in summer (every day of Breck Summer Fun Park operations), and is free to the public.
On September 13, 2006, the town and ski resort announced the name and logo of the new gondola as the BreckConnect Gondola.
Breck's Chairlift Innovations 
The Breckenridge chairlift system has broken new ground over the years by implementing several new state-of-the-art engineering marvels, and the system today includes several renowned lifts, such as the sole double-loading lift in North America and the highest lift in North America.
- First High Speed Quad in the World (Quicksilver Quad, 1981, now runs at Owl's Head in Quebec)
- First (and only) double loading lift in North America (Quicksilver Six, 1999)
- Highest Lift in North America (Imperial Express SuperChair, 2005)
- 31 total
- 2 high-speed 6-passenger SuperChairs
- Quicksilver Super 6—Peak 9
- Independence Superchair—Peak 7
- 7 high-speed quad lifts
- Falcon Superchair—Peak 10
- Mercury Superchair—Peak 9
- Beaver Run Superchair—Peak 9
- Peak 8 Superconnect—Peaks 9 and 8
- Colorado Superchair—Peak 8
- Rocky Mountain Superchair—Peak 8
- Imperial Express Superchair—Peak 8
- 1 triple lift
- A-chair—Peak 9
- 6 double lifts
- C-Chair—Peak 9
- E-Chair—Peak 9
- Snowflake—Town and Peak 8
- Rip's Ride/7-Chair—Peak 8
- 5-Chair—Peak 8
- 6-Chair—Peak 8
- 4 surface lifts
- T-Bar—Peak 8 (Public)
- Trygve's Platter—Peak 8 (Ski School)
- Eldorado Platter—Peak 9 (Ski School)
- Camelback Platter—Peak 9 (Ski School)
- 9 carpet lifts (All ski school)
- Ski and Ride Carpets A–D—Peak 9
- Ski and Ride Carpets 1–4—Peak 8
- 1 Gondola (finished January 2007 and operational)
- Breckconnect Gondola—Town, Shock Hill, Peak 7, Peak 8
- 2 high-speed 6-passenger SuperChairs
Dew Tour 
In December 2008, Breckenridge hosted the first Winter Dew Tour. It was the first action sports tour for winter sports and is owned and operated by Alli, the Alliance of Action Sports.
Breckenridge continues to host the event annually in the 2nd or 3rd weekend in December each year. In the 2012/13 season, the Dew Tour was condensed to only 1 winter stop, with Breck being the only winter host, in addition to the Dew Tour's other beach & urban stops. Currently the Dew Tour is contracted to operate in Breck through the 2013/14 season.
Many of the top athletes in action sports from around the world continue to participate in the Winter Dew Tour. The Breck Pro Team usually constitutes many of the athletes each year, and are jointed by other participants such as Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Tanner Hall, Andreas Wiig, Gretchen Bleiler, Simon Dumont, Sarah Burke, Tom Wallisch, and Travis Rice.
- History of the Breckenridge Ski Resort "History". Retrieved October 18, 2012.
- "50th Anniversary Season". News.breckenridge.vailresorts.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "Breck's 50th Anniversary Season". News.breckenridge.vailresorts.com. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Mountain Information". Breckenridge. 2009-07-02. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- [dead link]
- Denver, The. "The Denver Post's Colorado Ski Guide (published 23 October 2009)". Denverpost.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
-  WORLD'S TOP ATHLETES SHAUN WHITE, HANNAH TETER, TRAVIS RICE, TANNER HALL, TOM WALLISCH AND SARAH BURKE LEAD IMPRESSIVE LIST OF ATHLETES COMPETING ON WINTER DEW TOUR
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