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Strike pure gold in the stunning Wild West town that's the peak of perfection

Beautiful Breckenridge, in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, has a real Wild West feel about it - hardly surprising, as it started life in 1859 as a gold-mining town.

Now its fortunes are based on the white gold that falls from the sky - but lovingly renovated timber-fronted buildings still line Main Street and there's a choice of saloons to satisfy any visiting cowboy.

The resort is high - the town is set at 9,600-ft, and the top station is at a lofty 12,840-ft. This altitude means that the resort has an excellent snow record, with an average each season of 300-ins. The altitude also means that there are wide-open runs above the tree-line too, although most are cut through heavily-wooded slopes. The height also means that visitors should take it easy for the first day or two to get acclimatised, and to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.

The slopes are extensive and extremely varied - and served by no fewer than 34 lifts, a very high number by American standards. There are excellent facilities for beginners - the resort prides itself on its care of novices - and a huge range of blue cruising runs for intermediates. On top of this, experts are spoilt for choice with no less than 55 per cent of the runs classified as black with a good choice of double diamond (very challenging) runs.

Breckenridge is also a magnet for boarders, and a number of major snowboarding competitions are held here. Much of the accommodation is slopeside - we love One Ski Hill Place at Peak 8, and Crystal Peak Lodge is located at the base of Peak 7.

Dining out can have a Wild West feel, such as the Brewery or Kenosha Steakhouse - or there's the 100-year-old surroundings of Hearthstone and fine dining at Relish.

The Maggie, at the base of Peak 9, attracts those looking for live music at apres-ski time and the Gold Pan saloon is said to be one of the oldest bars in the West. Threee20South has live bands.

And one top tip - make time to take the free bus to nearby Silverthorne, a must-visit factory outlet complex full of bargains.

Hearthstone Restaurant

Hearthstone Restaurant

The Hearthstone brings the best out of Colorado’s great seasonal produce to give guests a taste of modern American cuisine. Featuring naturally raised beef and game and sustainably caught seafood, Chef Michael Halpin’s menu reflects his passion for fresh and uncomplicated food, where taste matters more than anything.

The Hearthstone is decorated in traditional Victorian period style, hosting guests in a century old house which stands proudly over the Breckenridge ski resort and the majestic ten mile range. Gaze out of the traditional windows whilst sampling one of over 220 wines representing every major world wine region, chosen for the highest quality.

Gold Pan Saloon

Gold Pan Saloon

At 130 years old, the Gold Pan Saloon has long stood proudly as part of Breckenridge though today’s visitors are there for the slopes and not the gold. Locals and visitors alike come to frequent the saloon to come in from the cold and take in the warm welcome that comes naturally here.

Enter and bask in the enticing heat of the pot belly stove that draws you in. Mingle with other guests over a specialist Gold Pan cocktail and share ski stories whilst dining on a hearty meal. With a menu incorporating local favourites and an impressive selection of sandwiches and burgers, you’ll be spoilt for choice for bar snacks whatever time of day - the breakfast burrito may be too hard to resist.

Whether you just come in to enjoy the music, a game of pool, or simply to bask in the history of “the oldest operating bar in Summit County”, this après ski venue will have you feeling right at home.