Breckenridge Mythbusters

Breckenridge Mythbusters

Getty Images

Breckenridge may be a tiny mountain hamlet with only a couple of thousand year-round residents, but it's the big-time for outdoor enthusiasts. Like most mountain towns, it has its own idiosyncrasies – it's just part of the charm. Test your Breck IQ with these Breckenridge mythbusters:

1. Breckenridge doesn't make wine, but it does have its own version of grape stomping.

TRUE. Each January, teams from around the world converge on Breckenridge for the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships. Preparations begin with Stomping Week: using nothing but a couple of big trucks, some concrete molds and a bunch of persistent people with heavy boots, massive 12-foot-tall solid blocks of snow are created. From these, teams from as far away as China and Lithuania craft intricate sculptures, armed only with hand tools.

Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships
Riverwalk Center
150 W Adams Ave
Breckenridge, CO 80424

2. Breckenridge has some of the highest mountains in North America, but it doesn't have the highest chairlift.

FALSE. The Imperial Express at Peak 9 is not only the highest chairlift in North America (at 12,840 feet); it's also the highest multi-passenger chairlift in the world. So when you hear superlatives about Breckenridge, they aren't just urban myths!

Breckenridge Ski Resort
1599 C Ski Hill Rd
Breckenridge, CO 80424

3. The town of Breckenridge purchased a building to serve as a new Breckenridge Welcome Center. Once renovations had begun, a 19th-century log cabin was discovered in between the walls of newer additions.

TRUE. You'd think in a town with a permanent population under 3,000 that someone would have known about this other two-story structure. At the very least, it seems that a "mysterious hidden cabin" within the walls of another building would have achieved the status of a Breckenridge urban legend. But no matter. The cabin was left intact and became an interpretive museum, where you can walk the floors and see what it might have been like to live in Breckenridge more than 100 years ago.

Breckenridge Welcome Center
203 S Main St
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Daily 10am-6pm

4. The largest gold nugget ever found in Colorado was dubbed the "Million Dollar Baby."

FALSE. It was actually named "Tom's Baby." In 1887, Tom Groves wrapped the astounding 13.5 pound rock in a blanket and carted it to town. It was transported to Denver, and promptly disappeared. The nugget, eight pounds of it anyway, was rediscovered in 1972 at a bank in the capital city. The remaining 5.5 pounds are still missing, making it one of the great unresolved urban myths of Breckenridge.

5. A god from Norse mythology is celebrated each January in Breckenridge.

TRUE. It sounds like it could be just another urban legend, but Breckenridge really does celebrate Ullr Fest, named for the Norse god of winter. This is one chance (among many) for Breck to let its collective hair down and get a little crazy, with wacky sports (Ullympics), the crowning of the Ullr King and Queen (Ullr Nordic Party & Bonfire), the Chilly Chili Cook Off, and the epitome of nuttiness, the Ullr Parade.

Ullr Fest

6. Snowboarding was not allowed in Breckenridge until the late 1990s.

FALSE. Shredders hit the slopes here in 1984, and by the next year Breck was hosting the very first Snowboarding World Cup. This is a town that has embraced snowboarding since its infancy, and today you're just as likely to encounter snowboarders as skiers here. Check the website of the Breckenridge Ski Resort for more information.

7. A colossal blizzard trapped the town of Breckenridge for months during the winter of 1898-1899.

TRUE. This Breckenridge urban legend recounts that snow started falling in November and didn't stop until the end of February. Literally. Every day, the snow accumulated, until finally the townspeople had to dig tunnels just to get to the neighbor's house. No one left, and no outside help could get in because the train tracks were completely impassable.

8. Even though the only way to get there was via small back roads, Breckenridge Ski Resort drew 17,000 visitors in its first year of operation.

TRUE. When Breckenridge opened in 1961, the major east-west route, Interstate 70, hadn't been completed. Nevertheless, thousands of people had skied the one available slope by the end of the season. Compare that to 1971 when 221,000 skiers visited, and 1999, when the resort accommodated 1,441,000 winter sports fans.

9. Today, Breckenridge has a population of around 3,000 people, but that number swells to about 36,000 during peak tourism season.

TRUE. That fact in itself isn't particularly surprising. This is a gorgeous mountain town with loads of things to do. What is surprising is that peak tourist season is in summer! That's right, one of the biggest Breckenridge mythbusters is that there are more visitors during July and August than at any other time of year.

More Breckenridge Articles From Our Partners
Read Full Story

From Our Partners