16th Apr, 2012

1980s Transforms Breckenridge Ski Area, New Homes Built

By opening ski lifts to new terrain while builders constructed new Breckenridge Colorado homes, Breckenridge Ski Resort transformed itself during the 1980s.  Almost 20 years old, the Breckenridge Ski Area and its new Summit County real estate developments started gaining national and international attention.  [Note: This story follows our previous blog post, “Now Comes Breckenridge Real Estate in the 1970s.”]

The expansion and refinements to the Breckenridge Ski Area encouraged increasing numbers of skiers to buy homes in Breckenridge for full-time living and vacation homes.Investors stepped up to the plate.  Builders and developers obliged with new exclusive condominium buildings including Sundowner, Pine Ridge Condominiums, Park Place Condos, Liftside Condos, Village at Breckenridge, and many more.  The elite ski real estate offered buyers fabulous views and proximity to national forests and Main Street eateries and shops alike.

In the Summit Daily Newspaper (12/4/2011), Geoff Mintz describes the 1980s as “the age of the neon one-piece, rear-entry boots and 200-centimeter GS skis.”  The ski equipment sounds obsolete now but then it created quite a buzz.  Mintz spoke with veteran skier Rick Ascher of Pup’s Glide Shop.

“There was a good sense of community back then.  People were skiing all the time.  You’d know everybody up there.  It was kind of the end of the era when things became more corporate.  Things really started to change, and there were more and more newcomers, as (Breck) became more on the map.”

Record numbers of skiers (725,000) visited during the 1979-1980 season after Breckenridge opened Lift 6 on Peak 8.  It provided direct access to the Back Bowls.  The 1980-81 season experienced an extreme snow drought and had to close for over half of the season.  Ski resorts depend on snowfall to be in business.  So Breckenridge had $2.5 million worth of snow making equipment on Peak 9 for the next year.  In addition, the world’s first high-speed detachable quad chairlift was installed on Peak 9.  For the 1982-83 season, a lift was added to connect Peak 9 with Peak 8.

By the 83-84 season Breckenridge was ready to host the Michelin World Freestyle Invitational and the Hawaiian Tropic Celebrity Pro Am.  The next year a T-bar lift was added to the top of Horseshoe Bowl to access the North Bowl area.Before the middle of the decade, Breckenridge had more than 150 ski instructors on board.  All the while prices for lift tickets went up about a dollar a year.  Prices for ski lessons also increased substantially.

Then Peak 10 opened in 1985, offering access via the F Lift to intermediate and expert terrain.  Breckenridge hosted the Swatch Freestyle World Cup during the Ullr Fest in January; it’s now an annual circuit.  At the end of the decade, the Imperial Bowl opened.

Perhaps the most astounding change as a group of “rabble-rousers” creatively built up mounds of snow to practice tricks on one ski.  Snowboarding debuted in the resort and Breckenridge never looked back.

For information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Breckenridge Condos for sale

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