Breckenridge named one of the ‘trashiest’ spring break destinations |

Breckenridge named one of the ‘trashiest’ spring break destinations

Images of typical spring break debauchery in Breckenridge, taken from Instagram accounts for the piece "America's Top 20 Trashiest Spring Break Destinations."
Special to the Daily |

Breck, you’re now one of the trashiest destinations for spring breakers.

Or so says Wyatt Swain, author of’s recent “America’s Top 20 Trashiest Spring Break Destinations,” an annual list of the usual bikini-and-beer suspects: Lake Havasu, Arizona; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the undisputed winner, Panama City Beach, Florida.

How, then, did quiet Breckenridge make the list? Swain has a simple — and predictable — answer: legal marijuana.

“Obviously, there’s nowhere in the United States that’s more lenient on that than Colorado,” says Swain, who wrote the first trashiest destinations list four years ago. “I also know not everyone is going to beaches for spring break. Breckenridge was definitely a place we wanted to bring up, and it wasn’t coincidental that marijuana was legalized when we first added it.”

“This is definitely tongue-in-cheek. We’re trying to be as sensational as we can about it, for better or worse, but we want people to know trashy is fun.”Wyatt

But Swain didn’t simply throw darts at a list of spring break oases and lump them together under the trashy label, though he admits the term is good for social media shares.

As Swain explains it, “trashy” in the spring break realm actually means popular and, for lack of a better term, happening. These are the hotspots college students just can’t avoid, largely because they’re packed with like-minded revelers who don’t mind getting a bit rowdy.

“Rather than name this something typical, like the best spring break destinations, we came up with trashy because a) it stands out, and b) if you’re that typical college student that Hollywood likes to portray, you’re not going to a quiet secluded beach,” says Swain, who had the honor of pouring over thousands of spring break Instagram photos to pair with the online article. “You’re looking for a wild time.”

Of course, “wild time” is a subjective phrase, so Swain developed a ranking system to determine exactly how wild each of his destinations can be. The criteria include just about every dubious thing under the sun: number of liquor stores, proximity to strip clubs and casinos, the legal marijuana thing and, even though it no longer exists, whether or not a town has been graced by the “Girls Gone Wild” crew. Even the presence of Hooters and tattoo parlors factored into the mix.

Then there were somewhat classier elements, such as how many guests arrive solely for spring break — that one definitely knocked Breck down in the rankings, for better or worse — and the severity of open-container laws. Again, Breck came out ahead of its trashier peers, like runner-up Las Vegas, where stumbling around with a 3-foot margarita tower is not only legal, but also requires much less coordination than taking a shotski as dogs weave through a packed bar.

“This is definitely tongue-in-cheek,” Swain says of the list. “We’re trying to be as sensational as we can about it, for better or worse, but we want people to know trashy is fun.”

All this talk of Breck’s trashy side comes as the town was honored on Forbes’ “10 Best Ski Towns in America” list and came in as No. 1 on Singletracks’ “Top 10 Mountain Bike Destinations.” Again, list-making is far from an artform, but the online chatter suggests Breck is just plan popular.

And besides, Swain says, Breck is on the bottom of the list at No. 20, making it the least trashy of the trashiest destinations. It’s also the only ski resort on the entire list: Killington, Vermont, was replaced by Cocoa Beach because, well, the author says it’s actually kind of a boring town, at least compared with the majority of Florida in March.

Still, Swain would like to see more mountain towns attract spring breakers, though he admits the majority of East Coast college students prefer beaches and bikinis over snowstorms and hot tubs.

“I’m a skier, so I would hope it’s the case that more people want to go to the mountains for spring break,” Swain says. “I wanted us to represent those college kids, because the fact is there are many of them.”

And they’re about to descend on Breck. Spring breakers, keep it trashy.

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