About BreckenridgeBreckenridge offers all the perks of a high-altitude environment and then some. With the winter months comes the thrill of snowboarding, downhill skiing, snowmobiling and dog-sledding. There also are more laid-back snow-related activities to indulge in, like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing; those ready to explore these pursuits on scenic trails can visit the Breckenridge Nordic Center, where the varied terrain satisfies beginners and experts alike. If gliding across the ice is more your style, hit Maggie Pond at the Village at Breckenridge for some quality outdoor skating.
When the summer months arrive, locals stash their cold-weather gear to bike the area's trail system or hike through meadows dotted with wildflowers. The Breckenridge Welcome Center provides visitors with information on trails suitable for hiking and mountain biking. For less-strenuous bicycle touring, a popular choice is the Blue River Bikeway, a 10-mile paved stretch between Breckenridge and Frisco—if you get tired, you can ride the Summit Stage bus back to “Breck.” Fly-fishers cast their lines in the meandering Blue River year-round to hopefully snare some trout, and duffers hit the links at the Breckenridge Golf Club, a 27-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus that's nestled in a valley at 200 Clubhouse Dr.; phone (970) 453-9104
This recreational paradise traces its roots to the gold rush, when prospectors panned gold from the Blue River in 1859. Nearly 250 historic structures reminiscent of the mining era are preserved in one of Colorado's largest National Historic Districts, and Breckenridge's charming Main Street houses galleries, shops, eateries and nightspots within these colorfully restored Victorians. Weary shoppers can hop on the free Breckenridge Trolley, which travels down the main drag and provides access to the ski slopes and other points throughout town.
For those inclined to learn more about the town's storied past, the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, (970) 453-9767, conducts historic walking and mine tours; athletically oriented individuals also can take advantage of their guided ski and snowshoe excursions. If you prefer to do your sightseeing behind the wheel, catch Boreas Pass Road (FR 223) south of town, a route traveling along an old narrow-gauge railroad bed and cresting at 11,482 feet; you'll see stunning views of the Blue River Valley and an old railroad camp perched at the summit.
Breckenridge presents a medley of enticing events throughout the year. One of the most unique is the International Snow Sculpture Championships in late January, when teams from throughout the globe create frosty works of art from massive 20-ton snow blocks. Plenty of activities are packed into 4 weeks from mid-March to late April during Spring Fever; outdoor concerts, competitions, family events, comedy shows and a beer festival are all part of the agenda. Mid-July to mid-August brings the sounds of classical music at the internationally acclaimed Breckenridge Music Festival—Classical Orchestra Summer Series, offering a variety of styles including chamber music, country and jazz.
Visitor Centers Breckenridge Welcome Center 203 S. Main St. Breckenridge, CO 80424. Phone:(970)453-5579 or (877)864-0868
Self-guiding ToursInformation about a walking tour through Breckenridge's historic district is available at the Breckenridge Welcome Center.
High Altitude HealthTemples throbbing, gasping for breath and nauseated, you barely notice the scudding clouds or the spectacular view.
You might be suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Usually striking at around 8,000 feet (2,450 m) in altitude, AMS is your body's way of coping with the reduced oxygen and humidity of high altitudes. Among the symptoms are headaches, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, insomnia and lethargy. Some people complain of temporary weight gain or swelling in the face, hands and feet.
You can reduce the effect of high altitude by being in top condition. If you smoke or suffer from heart or lung ailments, consult your physician before your trip. Certain drugs will intensify the symptoms. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness, adjust to elevations slowly; a gradual ascent with a couple days of acclimatization is best if you have time. For example, if you are planning a trip to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, you might want to spend the first night in a lower altitude city such as Denver as opposed to heading directly to an environment with extreme elevations.
On the way up, eat light, nutritious meals and stay hydrated by drinking a large amount of water, taking care to avoid caffeine, alcohol and salt. In addition, your doctor may be able to prescribe medication that can offset the effects of high-altitude.
If you develop AMS, you should stop ascending; you will recover in a few days. If the AMS is mild, a quick descent will end the suffering immediately.
Other high-altitude health problems include sunburn and hypothermia. Dress in layers to protect yourself from the intense sun and wide fluctuations in temperature.
Finally, after you lounge in the sauna or whirlpool bath at your lodgings, remember to stand up carefully, for the heat has relaxed your blood vessels and lowered your blood pressure.
Things to Do Barney Ford House Museum
Skiing Breckenridge Resort
Snowmobiling Good Times Adventure Tours and Dog Sledding
White-water Rafting Good Times Rafting
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