Steven C. Jordan: Breckenridge memories: more than just a town
Nostalgia is a very weird thing. It plays on peoples emotions differently. If you can recall your first family vacations and the memories that remind you of happiness with parents, siblings and friends, you can relate to this article. These places remain pleasant in your subconscious for obvious reasons. Breckenridge is such a place for me. Our family started coming here in the 1960s. Sledding from Barney Brewer’s house to Main Street in that red toboggan. We stationed our buddies at each intersection and sped to Main street unobstructed 99 percent of the time.
Nobody was here except Shamus O’Toole’s, the Briar Rose and the Whale’s Tail. Peak 8’s T bar was the mountain, as no one could have envisioned peaks 9,10 or 7. It was the beginning of the ski boom and America was developing the Rocky Mountains as a ski industry.
Long nights of hearts and spades with hot soups and chili preceded a day of skiing on the slopes. This was standard operating procedure for our family. The physical aspect of skiing suited the Jordans, and the sheer beauty and unique climate added to our curiosity.
The drive from Oklahoma was even festive, since all five of us knew the vacation had officially started and the unpredictable mountain weather would keep us guessing as to the conditions for this year’s ski retreat. The blizzards at Christmas combined with an outdoor recreation we all loved only seemed to add to our resolve that this was an uncharted territory begging to be exposed. Breckenridge remained our favorite after skiing other resorts, and we finally made it our annual vacation spot. It was suited for families and easy to navigate. Breckenridge citizens have been fortunate in that its planners, developers and community leaders were insightful with a clear vision of planned growth. The community has remained charming with an aesthetic and flow that is well conceived and managed.
No doubt the transition and sale of the mountain from Ralston Purina to Vail Associates was instrumental in the alignment of strategic goals for the ski town to mature. It was always destined for success due to its natural resources and location, but needed the right partners to implement its highest and best use.
As I stand in my favorite parking lot and gaze upon the last 40 years of development and progress the city has made, I cannot help but be melancholy about the discovery and history of this valley. Somehow even as the 10-year-old sledding downtown, I knew I wanted to remain a part of it for the next generation. It provides me a base of which to reminisce about family and created memories and peaceful nights and fun filled days. Now we bring our own family, as my mom and dad did before me. A tradition of Breckenridge. It is more than a town to me.
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