Breckenridge’s 60th anniversary begins with waffles, music and 5 inches of fresh snow
Windy weather and warm waffles was the scene the morning of opening day Friday, Nov. 12, at Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8. The resort’s 60th anniversary kicked off with the BreckConnect Gondola spinning at 8 a.m. followed by the Colorado SuperChair and 5-Chair firing up at 8:30 to give guests about 50 acres of terrain on the 4 O’Clock and Springmeier trails.
For Shawn Daws, the day began even earlier. He arrived at the base around 5:15 a.m. to be on the first chair of the Colorado SuperChair. The shuttle driver and river guide works nights so he can ride each day, yet Friday was his first day of the season.
“It’s my backyard, and I love it,” Daws said. “I love this mountain. It’s the best mountain.”
It was the third opening day the seven-year Breckenridge resident has attended at the resort. He was on the first chair of Vail Mountain last season and is thrilled that the reservation system to ski is gone. Daws lived in Pennsylvania before Colorado, but grew up riding Taos and Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico.
Joining him Friday was Zion Laman from Castle Rock and his three friends. The two parties rode the first chair at Breckenridge last season, as well. It was Laman’s fourth day of the season, with the other three at Keystone Resort.
Support Local Journalism
“Breck is pretty easy to get first chair,” Laman said. “There are some places where you have to camp multiple nights.”
The 16-year-old and his group stayed overnight at the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 and skied down the road to get in line at about 5:30 a.m., shortly after Daws.
“We were supposed to get here at 4, but we got lazy,” he said.
Skiers and riders who arrived early Friday were greeted with a DJ, free waffles and 5 inches of snow that fell overnight.
“It was awesome,” Laman said after his first run. “There was a little bit of fresh powder at the top. It was sweet. I loved it.”
Matt Baker, a snowboarder who was also one of the first to complete a lap, thanked the Norse god Ullr for the conditions.
“It was great,” Baker said. “Ullr has been kind. It’s a little hard and kind of windy, but Ullr was kind.”
There was a base depth of 18 inches reported, and 15 inches fell throughout the week before Friday morning’s mostly cloudy weather.
Six-year Breckenridge resident and event producer Cara Loux arrived after the initial surge.
“It’s a lot better than I thought it would be,” Loux said while taking a break on the deck of the Vista Haus between runs.
She doesn’t do opening days often due to work, and Friday was her first day of the season, but she said she came out to meet up with old friends and enjoy her home mountain.
“I did Wake Up Breck yesterday for the first time ever,” Loux said. “It was cool to see almost over 2,000 people line up to watch the opening of a garage, get a mug and activate local businesses. I like to see that.”
Next on her list for the season is Breckenridge’s upper terrain and skinning in the backcountry.
Over at 5-Chair, which wasn’t running during last season’s opening day, was Jennifer Stone and her family from Colorado Springs. It’s been a tradition for the past five years to come out for opening day.
“We took the kids out of school and came up last night,” Stone said. “We just love being in Breck.”
The mountain is where her 13-year-old twins learned to ski, and learning was once again on the agenda as one made the switch to snowboarding. They chose 5-Chair to ease into the new equipment before lessons Saturday at Keystone.
Stone said this season feels more normal when compared with last year. While the ski reservation system is gone, reservations will still be required for on-mountain restaurants as well as proof of vaccination at cafeteria-style eateries. Face coverings are also necessary indoors.
Stone is also excited for the new Freedom SuperChair to debut on the north side of Peak 7. The opening of the lift is planned for early December. Spokesperson Sara Lococo said more Peak 8 terrain is the current priority, followed by opening Peak 9 and then Peak 7.