Breckenridge Mountain Is Where Powder Hounds Love to Ski — and It's Getting Trendier Every Day
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It all began with a forecast calling for 30 inches of snow.
On the plane ride from Los Angeles to Denver, Colorado the excitement from all the skiers and snowboarders on board was palpable. However, before we even hit the ground the news came that the roads were swiftly closing or backing up on the way to the mountain due to the falling snow.
No worries, I thought. We’ll get there when we get there. It will all be worth it.
What should have been a 90-minute journey from the airport to my destination turned into close to a nine-hour ordeal. But, don’t pity me just yet, dear reader, as I still got to shred down some seriously fresh powder and sleep in one of America’s newest, and coolest, ski-in and ski-out hotels in Breckenridge, Colorado.
It started with a midnight check-in to the brand-new Gravity Haus, a membership hotel that opened its doors in December of 2019. Though bleary-eyed, I was able to make out the faint outline of an extremely chic destination.
By morning, it all became clear.
I awoke at the Gravity Haus in one of its 60 curated rooms located just off the base of Peak 9 at Breckenridge and just one block off of the town’s historic Main Street. Upon throwing my shades back I spotted the fresh snow and the other ski bunnies hopping toward the mountain as fast as they could. I too would be among them soon. But first, coffee. And thankfully, that’s something Gravity Haus has already become rather well-known for.
In each room, guests can make themselves a quick cup with a zero-waste coffee that comes in a biodegradable bag. But, downstairs, guests can also imbibe in a cup from their in-house coffee shop, Unravel Coffee. There, they use only beans they can track from source to cup and roast with an electric and emission-free roaster from Bellwether coffee.
Beyond its tasty caffeine buzz, the hotel prides itself on being as eco-conscious as possible, and that’s evident everywhere you turn. From the zero waste body and bath products, the beds Parachute synthetic-free linens, Monarch Cypress robes and throw blankets by Newly made with microfiber from recycled plastic bottles.
“Our mission is to create a Colorado-lifestyle social club that connects a local and global community of nature-loving, outdoor sports enthusiasts,” Jim Deters, founder and CEO of Gravity Haus, shared with us in a statement. “Adventure travelers and athletes want to play like a local, check-in and out of work with ease, train, and have healthy, smart, and eco-conscious choices that match their modern lifestyle.”
(Though it doesn’t yet have its own masseuse on-site, Gravity Haus does partner with One Ski Hill Place to offer guests a wide array of spa services.)
As I sipped my coffee in style in the hotel’s Japenese-inspired lobby, I met with Clark Rothey, a legend among legends here at Breckenridge, and the man who’d be introducing me to the best powder conditions in America.
You see, Rothey has been with Breckenridge mountain for more than three decades. He’s taught countless people how to ski and ride and has even taught his fair share of instructors how to do the job, too. And that includes his own son, who is now a Breckenridge instructor.
“I came out here with a girlfriend,” Rothey explained of how he made his way to the mountain all those years ago. “The girlfriend left. I didn’t.”
It quickly becomes clear that Rothey is not only the most popular guy around, but is also like the mountain personified.
On our way the chairlift and down every run someone stops to greet him, embrace him, and share a story about how Rothey taught them how to ride all those years ago. Rothey embraces them back in a friendly, easy-going, and enveloping way, just as the mountain does to riders.
During our two days of riding together, he took us down his favorite runs to hunt for the best powder conditions. He listened intently to each avalanche blast going off, signifying a new run would soon be open. And without even looking at his phone for alerts he knew which ones went with each boom.
For us, that meant getting to Six Chair, a two-seater that opened up mid-day to bring us to first tracks down Breckenridge’s deepest snow conditions. It was terrain Rothey hit with ease and unbridled joy that I assumed someone working the same job for 30 years would have lost decades ago.
But, Rothey wants to make it clear that just because Breckenridge is a powder hound’s dream doesn’t mean it’s not welcoming to beginners either.
"What Breckenridge has always catered to and hit very, very well is the families,” he says. “There's no doubt that they hit this extremely well. We have a great kids program, rentals, and terrain that all matches families extremely well.”
As for places like Gravity Haus coming in and spicing up the mountain neighborhood, Rothey is cool with that, too.
“Things are just becoming more hip. It’s like, come and have a good time, whatever. We don't care if you're 50 years old or 22 years old. Come and there's something for you to play with.”
How to Ride:
Where to Stay:
For the best ski-in and ski-out access, there’s no better (or newer) place to stay than Gravity Haus. Located just steps from the mountain, the hotel comes with plenty of plush space for you and your crew, along with a Japanese-style onsen to relax in after hitting the slopes. It also has a bar, restaurant, and coffee shop to fill your belly with any treat you desire.
Where to dine:
For a quick bite right off the mountain head into Gravity Haus’ own Cabin Juice. Despite the name, the restaurant doesn’t just serve juice. It’s also got plenty of nutritious, organic, and delicious items on the menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including grain bowls, tacos, and a vegetarian chili I still dream about.
If you’re interested in getting out of town just a bit visit the Breckenridge Distillery. There, you can sip on their very own spirits including bourbon, whiskey, and gin, all while digging into a meal that includes deviled eggs topped with caviar, nightly empanada specials, truffled mushroom pasta, and more.
Where to Apres-ski:
Breckenridge has a lot of new elements, but one time-tested favorite is the Gold Pan Saloon. For more than 150 years the saloon has served thirsty travelers from all over. In 2017, it was even named a historic landmark. So really, visiting and drinking at the bar is the only true way to pay respects to the mountain gods.
If you just can’t seem to tear yourself away from the mountain for a drink that’s okay. Just head to T-Bar, located at the base of Peak 8. During happy hour you’ll be able to order up a post-ski beer for just $4, cocktails for $5, and grab snacks for just a few dollars more.