Ski-slope history: How the Peak 8 runs at Breckenridge were named and what the names mean
Ryan Summerlin November 23, 2015
Note: This is the second in a six-part series about the history of the ski run names at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Last week’s article recounted the manner in which many of the original runs at the Breckenridge Ski Resort were named — names such as Springmeier, Rounders and Little Johnny. Let’s expand this run through history to the rest of Peak 8. We should note that none of the early runs were actually named until the mid-1960s, roughly five years after skiing began, and that most of Peak 8’s names relate to early ski-area persons or situations.
Two Peak 8 runs — Northstar and Southern Cross — refer to stars, as well as geographic directions. In the very late 1970s and early 1960s, respectively, when these two runs were cut, they were the northern- and southern-most runs at Breck, hence their names. Duke’s, just to the south of Northstar, was originally named Tenderfoot (when cut in the mid-1960s) but was renamed in 1972 after Paul Duke, mountain manager in the mid-1960s. Duke was also a local hero after he rescued two employees, despite being badly burned himself, from the explosion and fire disaster that took place on Jan. 10, 1966, in the main ski-area building and ticket office near the current lift ticket and ski/ride school sign-up office at the base of Peak 8.
On the southern side of Peak 8, besides Southern Cross, we find names such as Frosty’s Freeway and Tiger. Frosty was an actual person — Frosty Cooper — who was an early snowcat driver in the winter and one of the crew that cut new trails in the summer. Alas, Frosty is no longer with us — he passed away a number of years ago in Grand Junction, but his widow lives today in Canon City. Tiger was named after the Royal Tiger Mines Co., a local mining company formed in 1921 by local mining engineer John A. Traylor. Over a 15-year period, Royal Tiger came to own most of the mines and mining claims in French Gulch and the Swan River area before it went bankrupt in the mid-1930s. The original name of the Peak 9 area, when it was opened in 1971, was Royal Tiger Mountain.
Some of the more interesting names are those that are no longer officially used. Tuxedo Junction was the flat area near the top of Callie’s Ally, Crescendo and the Springmeier learning area. Many weddings used to be held there in the summer, hence the name. Piccadilly Circus was the flat area near the top of Chair 5, Swinger, Mach 1, Park Lane and the tops of one-time T-bar and poma lifts that ended there and was named after the confusion of the many intersections in that area — similar to its London namesake. Just below Piccadilly on the Four O’clock run and going downhill toward the midway load area of the Peak 8 Superconnect is a narrow cut through the trees — the location of the old 7-Up lift, one of the area’s earliest lifts (1962), whose base was near the current midway load area.
And we can’t forget the learning areas on lower Peak 8. Trygve’s is named after Trygve Berge, one of the two original ski school co-directors. Berge and his partner, Sigurd Rockne, were Norwegian Olympic skiers and were instrumental in designing and developing the early ski area. Both are still alive and well in the Breck area. Dyersville was named after the 1880s mining town — located in the woods to the southeast of Breckenridge — founded by local evangelist Father Dyer as his retirement home near the Warriors Mark Mine. And then there is Twister, originally named Dave’s Delight, after one of the early trail cutters.
Many thanks, again, to Maureen Nicholls and to Robin Brown for many of these early oldies but goodies.
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