DILLON — For many, a trip to Summit County is a chance to break away from the routines of everyday life, venturing into the snow-drenched mountains to lose themselves at one of the area’s world-class resorts or to skin up a backcountry slope in search of untouched powder.
But when the day calls for a break from the slopes — or its just too cold to be outside — there are plenty of options for some indoor fun, as well.
“Summit County has a whole lot more to offer beyond the mountains,” said Matt Neufeld, president and CEO of Breckenridge Creative Arts. “There’s a lot of things that make this area really attractive, from the amazing arts experiences, educational opportunities, the culinary experience and things for the whole family.”
If you’re looking for an easy way to kick back, a warm way to keep fit, or a place to uncover the area’s past, Summit County has you covered.
Those looking for a fun way to challenge themselves should consider one of the county’s escape rooms.
Guests can search for sasquatch, take part in a paranormal mystery or try to survive a snowbound cabin at Mountain Time Escape Rooms in Breckenridge. At the Frisco Escape Room visitors can take on historically inspired adventures as a miner searching for stashed loot from a heist or help to solve a saloon owner’s murder in 1881. At Escape Room Breckenridge, parties can sneak into Santa’s cottage to try to erase their names from the naughty list or slip into a secret agent’s shoes to find a missing agent before a hidden bomb detonates.
“It’s such a unique experience that families can do,” said Nicolette Cusick, owner of Escape Room Breckenridge. “You might be walking into the inside of a pirate ship or a wizard academy to save an owl. They’re all very different challenges that let you race against the clock, solve puzzles, find clues and crack codes. It’s so much fun for people of all ages.”
Visitors also can learn to throw an ax at Mtn Axe Breck or catch the latest flick at the Skyline Cinema 8 in Dillon. Afterward, head over to Elevation Bowl to bowl a few frames or challenge a friend to pinball or pool.
“Everybody wants to be out, but this winter people may not be able to ski every day of their trip with the restrictions for what the resorts can do,” said Jeff Crandall, general manager at Elevation Bowl. “This is a great way to get out of the condo.
“It’s a chance to relax, and it’s a little more low key and casual. You don’t have to be rushing around to make sure you’re getting to the mountain on time to get your full ski day in.”
Discovering Summit’s history
Summit County also offers an abundance of cultural gems to discover, allowing visitors to steep themselves in the area’s history and arts.
Some of the premier spots for visitors looking to get out of the cold are the county’s museums, which take guests back to the early days of the area’s rugged, Western history.
“A lot of people think of Breckenridge as a resort town and a ski destination,” said Larissa O’Neil, executive director of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. “So it’s fascinating for folks who aren’t from here to learn that it was a really rough and tumble mining town and how fast it went from a tough place that was really challenging to live in to this place that’s so sought after to come ski, recreate and appreciate the mountains.”
At the Barney Ford Museum in Breckenridge, visitors can walk through Ford’s home as they learn about his past as an escaped slave who became an entrepreneur and civil rights activist. Visitors also can check out the Edwin Carter Discovery Center, which was built by Carter in 1875 as a way to preserve local flora and fauna and lives on as a record of his life and work.
Guests can experience an authentic classroom from 1892 at the Dillon School House Museum or venture over to the Frisco Historic Park & Museum, which has collected and preserved some of the most important buildings in the town’s robust history.
“We like to think that we’re not only sharing our history but reflecting the values of our community and connecting our visitors to this space,” said Rose Gorrell, Frisco Historic Park museum manager. “And it keeps people coming back because they get to have a really multidimensional experience. Not only do they get the mountain or lake but a really strong cultural space, as well.”
When there’s a blizzard outside, you don’t need to neglect your fitness.
Summit County has plenty of ways to keep in shape out of the cold. To start, there’s a pair of excellent recreation centers in Silverthorne and Breckenridge. Both centers offer lap pools, gymnasiums, tracks and weight rooms. Visitors also can book personal trainers and take classes.
For those looking for a more specific exercise, the county has a plethora of other fitness and wellness opportunities including yoga, cycling, Pilates, martial arts, barre, CrossFit and more.
“It’s just such a great option for people to come in when the weather isn’t great or to find workouts that complement their skiing,” said Paneil Dennis, owner of CrossFit Low Oxygen in Frisco. “There are so many choices between barre, dance studios, Pilates studios or yoga. All of those things, along with CrossFit, support healthy movement.”
So whether there’s a sideways snowstorm or you just need a break from the mountains, there’s a lot of ways to enjoy the day inside.
Under level red restrictions, capacity at many businesses is limited to 50%. Gyms and fitness centers are limited to 10%, and museums and some other businesses are closed. Be sure to call ahead for updated hours and rules.
This story originally published in the winter edition of Explore Breckenridge & Summit County magazine.