(From Breckenridge Website)
With four huge peaks spanning 2,358 acres, Breckenridge has something for all abilities and interests. Every beginner and intermediate trail is groomed nightly so you can enjoy endless turns throughout your day. Or, ride North America’s highest chairlift, the Imperial Express, up to the high alpine bowls for unforgettable views and steeps. If you’re looking for terrain parks, Breckenridge has five—one for every skill level. Breckenridge offers kid's ski and snowboarding lessons (3 to 13 years) as well as childcare and nursery for kids 8 weeks to 5 years.
To give guests the skills they need for a great day on the mountain bike trail, several Vail Resorts have started mountain biking school. Similar to ski school, these classes are taught by ability level and include a guided run down the mountain. I would never have considered mountain bike school before our trip, after all, my family knows how to ride a bike. However, after spending a few hours with Eric Zerowin, Ski & Ride Supervisor and Instructor at Breckenridge Ski Resort, I can’t imagine heading up the mountain without a lesson. Especially when you consider it ends up being only $29 more than a day’s bike rental and bike haul pass. Eric made sure our bikes were in good shape (although most people rent from Breck Sports). We learned how to ride over terrain we'd encounter like rocks, bridges and loose dirt. We learned how to do switchbacks going up and down and were able to practice before hitting a trail that can have a sharp drop off. The practice area is located on top of Peak 8 and open to anyone and includes a pump track as well. A few days after our lesson, we went back and just practiced. Even if you don't need the instruction, you can hire the instructors as a guide down the mountain. They'll pace you and know where the tracks are so you don't have to try to figure out the trail while negotiating the terrain. This is a great idea for tweens and teens who want to go by themselves (or you don't want to go with them). Here's more information on the Mountain Bike School http://www.fieldtripswithsue.com/2012/07/mountain-bike-school.html
Breckenridge is absolutely beautiful! The skiing of course is great, though can be a bit crowded. Breckenridge itself is just a fun place to go. There is so much snow and cute little shops, you feel like you are in something from a Christmas movie. It is a bit more expensive up there but if you are planning a Colorado Getaway, I would suggest keeping Breckenridge in mind.
Breckenridge Ski & Ride school runs out of 3 locations on two peaks. This review is based on our experiences at the Beaver Run school on Peak 9. We choose this location because it is the only one with parking. The Village location has parking across a busy street and the Peak 8 location has access only via the gondola. The kids program is called Mountains of Discovery and is geared toward getting them out of the yard and onto the mountain as soon as they are ready.
My kids are frequent attendees at the Breckenridge ski and ride school and are always ready to go back for more. In fact, my 5 year old acts as an unofficial greeter for the school and welcomes other children that are attending for the first time by introducing herself and showing them around the facility.
The Facility: The Beaver Run location has 2 check in points. Kids 6 and under check in at ground level right beside the only slope side parking lot in Breckenridge. 7 – 14 year olds have to walk up a flight of stairs to their own check in location.
Check In: You can book lessons 2 or more days in advance through the website (www.breckenridge.com) or by calling 1-888-LRN-2SKI. Walk up availability is limited during peak times so reservations are recommended for holiday periods.
Check in is between 8 – 9. Plan to arrive no later than 8:45 to fill out the necessary paperwork and receive the colored id tag that is attached to the skier’s jacket. Parents say their good-byes at the counter and the kids are taken back to the play area for coloring and other activities until it is time to hit the snow (between 9 and 9:30). This time can be chaotic in the lobby so I recommend checking in the day before (available until 4:30 P.M.). Early check in allows you to bypass the lines and is worth the effort.
The Day: The 6 and under skiers are separately by ability and given color coded vests (with handles on the back that allow the lift operators to easily assist them in getting on the lift). The ski school has a fenced yard with a magic carpet and 2 tiny hills for the beginning skiers to learn on. Once they have mastered the tiny hills, they are off to the QuickSilver lift, which services some easy green runs.
The 7 and over skiers are divided by ability and age and hit the slopes between 9:15 and 9:30. They return to the base for lunch but take hot cocoa breaks during the day at restaurants all over the mountain.
Pick up for everyone is at 3:30. All skiers are picked up in the ski school yard and parents must show identification to leave with a child. They are very strict about this policy and will not let you leave with a child without photo id that matches the name on the jacket id tag. Everyone gets a Discovery card that details their accomplishments during the day. As you leave, look for the SharpShooter displays. They often capture great pictures of your child’s day.
• Skiing for more than one day? They will store the kid’s skis at the school so you don’t need to haul them back and forth.
• Using “regulars” as greeters seems to work very well at transitioning shy kids into the environment.
• They are very adaptable to skier’s abilities. For example, they allowed my three year old to ski with the “big kids” down the blues in the morning but switch to an easier group in the afternoon when she got tired.
• Every instructor we have ever had has been great with kids.
• The waiting room has a one-way glass so you can watch the kids on the tiny hills.
• On the weekends it costs $15 to park in the lot. Just dropping off at ski school? Tell the gate attendant and they will let you in for free.
• Peak 9 has two “kids only” ski areas (Ripperoos Forest and the Haunted Forest) that are all time favorites.
• If you rent equipment from the school, they handle the fitting and make adjustments as necessary during the day.
• The parking lot is often very icy. Having a few extra staff in the lot around drop off times would be helpful.
• Ability to make reservations just 1 day instead of the currently required 2 days in advance would be convenient.
• My kids hate walking up and down the stairs to the 7 – 14 year old drop off.