Breck No. 6 in SKI mag |

Breck No. 6 in SKI mag

BRECKENRIDGE – SKI magazine readers have put the Breckenridge Ski Resort in the No. 6 spot, and ski area officials are delighted.

“They love this place, and it really shows,” said Chief Operating Officer Roger McCarthy Monday morning at the base of Peak 9. “I had goosebumps for two whole days after I found out. This is a big deal.”

Monday, the magazine released its annual resort rankings, which show the ski resort has jumped in the reader’s poll from No. 10 to the sixth spot. The overall ratings are listed on the magazine’s Web site,

“This is an important accomplishment,” McCarthy said. “It’s a success story that the entire Breckenridge community has achieved.”

McCarthy attributed the jump to the teamwork between the ski resort and the town, specifically citing the development agreement he and Breckenridge Mayor Sam Mamula crafted over the mayor’s kitchen table last year.

“The thing to celebrate is not necessarily going from 10 to 6,” Mamula said. “It’s the partnership that started about three years ago between the town of Breckenridge and the ski resort. It really works. It not only works, but it’s absolutely necessary in the marketplace and economy we have now.”

The agreement includes approval of about 500 new condos at Peaks 7 and 8.

Mamula said, however, the higher ranking is not about buildings.

“If it were about buildings, Copper Mountain would be rated No. 1,” Mamula said.

The agreement sets out the general terms by which the resort will develop Peaks 7 and 8. As part of the agreement, the resort was able to install two high-speed lifts, one of them on Peak 7, and open 165 acres of new intermediate terrain on Peak 7, increasing that important type of skiing acreage by 30 percent.

The Peak 8 SuperConnect, which links Peak 8 to the base of Peak 9, has made it easy for people to get around the resort, and has helped spread skiers around the mountain’s four peaks and alleviate congestion in many areas. Additionally, the Independence SuperChair, which accesses an additional 165 acres of rolling, intermediate terrain on Peak 7, became one of the busiest lifts at the resort last season.

Mamula credited McCarthy for winning the on-mountain investments before development occurred.

“I don’t know if it’s Roger’s genius, luck or magic,” Mamula said. “But we’ve got the expansion, two new lifts that help people move laterally on the mountain; we’ve had transportation changes, commitment for parking – I don’t think any ski area’s done this, especially in these economic times. The opportunity was pretty damn small, but Roger found a way to hit the target.”

McCarthy cited a variety of other improvements that have helped vault the resort into the upper echelon of the reader’s poll. They include award-winning grooming, improved snowmaking and ski school experiences and a merged transportation system that has taken an additional 100,000 people out of their cars and into ski resort buses.

Now, Mamula said, the pressure is on to improve even more.

“We cruised along for a lot of years at a 10 or less ranking,” he said of the poll. “To see this exponential jump puts pressure on the town and ski area. Our guests will expect more each year – that’ll be the difficult part of it. We’ve got just as much work ahead of us as we have behind us.”

McCarthy said the jump in the polls will certainly be noted in the national media. It also serves as a guide for skiers and boarders making vacation decisions.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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