Colorado : Safety by City
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Breckenridge, Colorado sits at a breathtaking 9600 feet above sea level before you even get on a ski lift.
It’s just 90 minutes from Denver, but it feels like a world away.
Known to locals as simply “Breck”, this mountain has all kinds of activities throughout every season but really heats up when the weather cools down with skiing and snowboarding.
It offers the highest chairlift on this continent.
You don’t even have to be an avid skier to enjoy this town.
Nordic skiing is popular in Breck, with two resorts dedicated to Nordic and cross country skiing.
You can take a dog sled ride, enjoy the scenic mountain views, stroll the historic downtown area, or visit the cutest troll you’ll ever meet.
This is a haven for festivals as well, including the International Snow Sculpture Contest and a winter festival celebrating the Norse god of snow, Ullr.
Films, arts, and holidays are celebrated here year-round and it just adds to the laid-back yet fun atmosphere of this mountain oasis.
It’s not as affluent as Aspen in attitude and it’s not as much of an extreme party vibe as you’d see in Telluride.
This is a town that welcomes everyone and seems to get the amenities just right.
Warnings & Dangers in Breckenridge
OVERALL RISK: LOW
These ski resort towns should give classes on community safety because they are so safe. Crime numbers here are very low. You can feel safe asking a local for advice without checking your pockets afterward.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Ski towns want you to ditch the car as much as possible in the name of the carbon footprint. They make up for it with plenty of options. Here you can take the local Free Ride (that is the actual name) to get around. If you're staying at one of the big lodges in town, ask about free shuttles in the area and to/from the Denver airport. There's also a bus service around Summit County called the Summit Stage.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here. No pickpockets have been reported in the past several years.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You have to worry about wildfires, avalanches, flash flooding, thunderstorms, and blizzards here, albeit at different times of the year for each one. The Colorado National Weather service is excellent at reporting the risks in all regions of the state and rarely does a disaster catch you off guard here. There's a medium risk, but you'll be able to be better prepared if you study the Breckenridge Emergency Management Plan on the city's website.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
This town hasn't had more than two robberies in a year since 2010, and in three of those years, there were no robberies. That makes it a low risk.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Denver would be the closest hard target, but there's a low risk of Breckenridge getting a direct attack.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
While there's a low risk of scams in general, be warned of rental scams if you are staying outside of the major resorts in town. This is happening in almost every popular tourist area I've researched. A scammer will steal pictures of a home for rent, and post them on a website like Craigslist and what seems like an incredibly low price. Travelers snatch up the good price and reserve it with a deposit. When they get to town, the house either doesn't exist or is owned by someone else and the traveler has no place to stay and no way to get their money back. Be sure to rent with a local property company directly to make sure you're not being scammed.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk for women here. The community is safe day and night, but of course, after dark, you want to take extra precautions, especially if you are drinking. Meeting new people is fun, but stay in public places with them.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Breckenridge is another town that not only has a low risk in tap water because it's safe by all standards but also asks people to only drink tap water to avoid the litter that bottled water creates. You might taste a little chlorine in the water here as it's used to clean the water. To get rid of any hint of that, you can let it sit overnight in the fridge so it can air out.
Safest Places to Visit in Breckenridge
Start at the Main Street Mall for shopping, dining, and getting a lay of the land.
It’s going to be helpful if you take it easy the first day or two to avoid or limit altitude sickness.
There are more than 200 shops and 100 restaurants in Breck, ranging from super casual to very pricey.
This outdoor village area is just stunning with a historic gold-rush era feel to it mixed with a modern art vibe.
Check out the resort ski school for new skiers/snowboarders or experienced athletes who just want a refresher.
There’s also a day-long ski school for kids where they are separated into skill-level groups and enjoy a custom-tailored experience while getting stronger at skiing.
Breckenridge Sawmill Museum shows how people built homes before the invention of the sawmill.
This is a self-guided tour and free for everyone.
When you are ready to hit the slopes, you have several choices beyond traditional skiing.
Nordic skiing is an alternative to flying down a mountain on two skis or a snowboard.
There’s also snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Which one is “easiest”, you might wonder?
They all require a certain level of difficulty and don’t listen to anyone who calls Nordic skiers “Nordorks.”
It’s pretty challenging and ideal for people like me who are scared of heights and don’t want to spend large sums of money on lift tickets and wait in long lines at lifts.
You can also go underground on your Breck vacation with a mine tour.
After all, this town wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Gold Rush.
There are also ghost tours to take a night and quite a few versions, from entertaining to downright terrifying.
Places to Avoid in Breckenridge
As far as crime goes, you don’t need to avoid any area here.
That’s good news since the town is only seven miles long and two miles wide, right?
If you don’t like crowds, avoid going on holidays and three-day holiday weekends.
There’s an unwritten rule among locals about never skiing on the weekends because of the long lines.
Since this is the closest resort to Denver, you are going to get a lot of city slickers coming up the mountain for a day of skiing, whereas in places like Aspen you’ve got mostly the vacation crowd.
Avoid trying to do too much too soon.
Altitude sickness is real and can be very dangerous if not managed correctly.
This ski town is a good 1000 feet higher than other popular Colorado ski towns.
Diamox is a prescription drug you can get from your home doctor to take before your travel and during the first few days to ward off altitude sickness.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Breckenridge
- Bring reusable bags for purchases in Breckenridge because every vendor will charge 10 cents extra if they have to provide the bag. This is part of a green initiative in the town.
- In the town, there’s free WIFI everywhere, so take advantage of that. It’s available for residents and tourists. If you are going deep into the mountains, the signal won’t be available. Check with your phone provider about where you get service in that section of Colorado, as each is different.
- Skiing really does a number on your muscles in places you didn’t even think you had muscles! There are spas and yoga studios in town where you can stretch out those sore limbs or have someone melt the tension away with a massage. Don’t suffer when you can tackle a few more runs after some TLC.
- When you do hit the slopes, it’s tempting to try the Black Diamond runs like Psychopath, but if your skillset isn’t there, stay on the beginner or intermediate runs until you are ready.
- You’re going to spend the day above 10,000 feet when hiking or skiing most likely, and the sun is incredibly intense at that elevation. Wear sunscreen year-round. I know some people like to have “raccoon eyes” to show off they went on an epic ski vacation, but it’s not worth the risk of severe sunburn. Goggles are a must too for eye protection against snow blindness and sun damage.
- Check the avalanche dangers daily along with the lift & terrain status. For example, on the day I’m writing this the current weather is 24°(F) and dangerously windy. Winds might not worry a skilled skier, but the kiddos are going to struggle and beginners might be miserable. Avalanche dangers will help you know which sides of the mountain to avoid and certain weather dangers might impact snowshoeing more than skiing.
- Breck is a dog-friendly community and they are welcome in many businesses and activities. If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon or marking on its leash, this means the dog needs a little bit of space. It might be getting adjusted to life outside the shelter, going through service dog training, or having some aggression issues.
- Bears, moose, mountain lions, and coyotes are all over this part of the state and whether one roams into town or you see one in the wilderness, you need to be prepared. The city’s website details how to handle each encounter, as there are separate tactics for each animal. For example, you can climb a tree to avoid a moose but a bear will climb right up there with you (and he’s better at it).
- Marijuana is legal in Colorado, but it’s not a free-for-all. You can’t just stand outside smoking a blunt or enjoying a gummy. You can only use marijuana on private property where the homeowner allows it.
- Anyone visiting Breck should sign up for CodeRED alerts from Summit County. Messages are sent via text or email when there is any kind of emergency, threat, closure, or civil situation. You can sign up on the county website or just download the CodeRED app from your preferred store.
So... How Safe Is Breckenridge Really?
Breck is overall a very safe place, but it’s not untouchable.
There were 15 violent crimes in 2020 and 5 of those were against a stranger.
There have been three homicides since 2010 and the police here are quite tenacious.
In 2021, they found a suspect in the 1982 murders of two hitchhikers using DNA submitted to a genealogy database.
Theft from automobiles was one of the biggest categories of the 109 incidents that happened, a good reminder to lock up the car before you go inside or on the slopes.
Items left lying around in plain sight were also another top category, but given that three million people visit this area each year and just 109 thefts happened, that’s a very low average.
You can feel safe in Breckenridge and many of the dangers you’ll face will come from the outdoors, so study up on the natural emergencies that can happen here as diligently as you protect your belongings.
How Does Breckenridge Compare?
|New York City
|Niagara Falls (Canada)
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Once you arrive in the United States, your passport or Visa will be checked at the time of entry, either at the airport, border, or port of entry. No additional processing is needed to get into the states or cities.
You will use the U.S. Dollar here. For the best value on lift tickets, buy them seven days in advance. Since you can do that online, you won't need to pull a wallet out in public at the resort.
You will need good base layers, warm middle layers, and a warm ski jacket and pants. Gloves, scarves, hats, goggles, sunscreen, and thick socks are needed, too, in the winter. Warmer months still get down to the 50s at night, so bring pants and sweatshirts or a jacket. You'll need good hiking boots and be sure to break them in at home before you arrive or you'll end up with blisters at 10,000 feet.
The Denver Airport is two hours east, but check traffic and weather before you head out as there might be traffic or slick roads to deal with. If you're staying at a resort, you should get a shuttle to the airport.
Get travel insurance. The weather can change here so quickly, leading to delays or cancellations. If I-70 gets shut down in a snowstorm, you'll have no choice but to wait and risk losing your reservation.
Breckenridge Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Colorado - Safety by City