The History of Skiing in Breck

Good news, folks… We are officially skiing Breckenridge! And let me tell you, it’s amazing—although I might be slightly biased. Breck has a long standing history of providing incredible skiing and riding. But, how did all of this get started?

Skiing can be dated back to 600 BC in modern-day China, although the evolution of the sport took place in Scandinavia. Do you remember the Norse God, Ullr, that we prayed to earlier this fall for an epic ski season? Well the word “ski” comes from an old Norse word. In the beginning, skiing was used as a means of survival. Like Ullr, people skied for hunting and travel purposes. They used one long ski and one short ski—kind of like a skate. Animal fat was boiled down and used as ski wax.


Photo Credit: Breckenridge Heritage Alliance

In 1809, a man named Olaf (no, not the adorable, lovable snowman!) was the first recorded ski jumper, making him the earliest known person to ski for sport. A mere 40 years later, the first organized ski tour took place in Norway. This was the first known recreational skiing event. By 1936, the first chair lift was constructed in Sun Valley, Idaho. With this lift, we have the evolution of skiing in the United States!


Let’s jump to the amazing Breckenridge, Colorado. Chair Lift 1 opened in 1962 and was later renamed the Colorado Super Chair. The following year, another lift joined the mountain. It was the first double chair—it could carry a whole two people to the top of the run! By 1965, Breckenridge had constructed its first base area lodge. Sadly, a gas leak caused an explosion, bringing the building to the ground shortly after opening. Later that year, a rope tow was built to get skiers up to Lift 6.


The next addition to the slopes of Breckenridge was the Alpine Slide in 1978. It is still fully operational today and has remained largely unchanged since it’s construction. This was shortly followed by the introduction of the world’s first high-speed quad chairlift on Peak 9. And in 1984, Breck was making the history books for being Colorado’s first major resort to allow snowboarding.


With the financial backing of parent company, Vail Resorts, the mountain received a $32-million-dollar facelift. This included building the Ten Mile Station and two high-speed quad chair lifts along. In 2002, Breckenridge was again making history when they experienced the largest terrain expansion in Colorado. They even became the first resort to have more than one high-speed six-person lift! The gondola followed 5 years later allowing skiers easier access to Peaks 7 and 8.

Breckenridge Ski Resort Winter 2006-07

Today, Breckenridge Ski Resort boasts some of the best world class skiing anywhere complete with all the amenities. From high speed chair lifts to lodges on every peak, Breck’s got it all. They even have five huge peaks, 2,908 skiable acres, a 22ft Superpipe, four terrain parks, eleven bowls, and the highest chair lift in North America! Come check it out for yourself. Join the locals who get to enjoy more powder days than our bosses like—that is, if they weren’t riding the lifts with us!


Fun Fact: The Falcon Chair on Peak 10 services runs all named after WWII planes: Crystal, Cimarron, Doublejack, and Mustang!