How the early ski runs at Breckenridge got their names
January 31, 2013
For a good lesson on local history, go skiing. At Breckenridge Ski Resort, many of the runs are named after early ski area characters or events, and some after the personal whims of early locals. Here’s the story behind some of the first runs, plus their lower run-outs, named in the early days after Peak 8 Ski Area (Breck’s original name) opened in December of 1961.
Four O’Clock was probably the first run cut through the woods. It went from its current location near present-day Vista Haus down to Park Avenue. Its name, appropriately, derives from the fact that it was the way down to town at closing.
Springmeier (the correct spelling was actually Springmeyer) was named, for reasons only the forest knows, after a colorful local character of the 1940s to 1960s – Alva Springmeyer. His story is shrouded in mystery except that he came from Oklahoma and made quite a bit of money in oil (this was known because the local postal clerk noted the monthly checks he received from some oil interests). Springmeyer married Agnes Adams, who owned a millinery shop in the current location of Skinny Winter gift shop on Main Street. Springmeyer kept his herd of goats in the rear of the building in winter. The couple lived in the log cabin next to Gold Pan Saloon that currently houses Twin Moose yogurt shop. Springmeyer also invested in local real estate and probably made a killing when the ski resort developers needed land for lodging, retail and other facilities. Maybe that’s why his name graces one of Breck’s ski runs today.
Rounders and Callie’s Alley were named after the resort’s first developer – Bill Rounds (nicknamed “Rounder”) – and his wife Carolyn (nicknamed “Callie”). Rounds owned Rounds and Porter, a Wichita, Kan., lumber, oil and real estate development firm. Callie still lives in the Denver area, while Bill passed away some years ago. The final run – Spruce – was simply named after the official Colorado tree.
The resort’s original chairlift was named the Heron #1 and ran from near the base of the current Rocky Mountain Superchair to a point above and north of Vista Haus. The chair had a mid-point off-loading capability in the flat area below the intersection of Spruce, Swinger and Rounders. The northernmost run back to the base – the continuation of Spruce – was named Ego Lane because it was so easy that it boosted your ego and courage on the way down. On the opposite, south side of the tree island on the left side of Ego Lane was Boreas Bounce, currently the lower part of Crescendo.
Later runs in the same general area include two named after successful movies of 1977: “High Anxiety” and “The Goodbye Girl.” Both of these runs were cut during the late 1970s ownership of the ski area by 20th Century Fox when the movie studio, flush with profits from these movies as well as “Star Wars,” ventured into the ski recreation business for a short time.
And then there was Little Johnny, whose real name was Johnny Sheron, a fiery, party-loving, height-challenged lifty of the mid- to late-1960s who lived in Fairplay. Who knows where Little Johnny is today – but his name lives on in the snows of Breckenridge.
Many thanks to Maureen Nicholls for some of the details in this article.