Breckebeiner Nordic ski fundraiser celebrates Breckenridge Nordic Center’s 50th anniversary |

Breckebeiner Nordic ski fundraiser celebrates Breckenridge Nordic Center’s 50th anniversary

Under sunny, bluebird skies on a warm spring-ski Sunday, 50 years looked good on the Breckenridge Nordic Center at the 17th annual Breckebeiner Nordic Ski-A-Thon.

This year’s event at the Breckenridge Nordic Center celebrated 50 years of Nordic skiing in Breckenridge by asking individual participants or teams to ski 50 kilometers on the center’s trails. The annual fundraiser for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center also set its goal at $50,000 in honor of the 50th anniversary.

Nordic skiing in Summit County has come a long way in the half-century since Gene Dayton founded the Breckenridge Nordic Center, which was several years before Dayton helped to found the BOEC. Though Dayton was not able to attend Sunday’s celebration, his wife Therese, who helps run the Breckenridge Nordic Center with him, spoke to what her husband has meant to the Summit County Nordic skiing community and how much the sport has grown in the county since Dayton first moved here in 1967.

Back when Dayton first visited Summit County in the 1960s, he did so to complete his master’s studies specific to the area’s blossoming Alpine skiing community. Shortly thereafter he set in motion his effort to build a Nordic skiing community here in the county.

“Gene was setting tracks with his own skis in the backcountry,” Therese said. “He was pulling tracks that were around his waist. We’ve come a long way in 50 years.”

Five decades later, the Breckenridge Nordic Center has found a state-of-the-art home in its “Oh Be Joyful Lodge,” one that Dayton could have only dreamed of 50 years ago.

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