If you’re on the search for exciting ski resorts in Colorado for your next excursion, you might have come across the Winter Park and Breckenridge resorts.
Both resorts are pretty great, but which one is the best and how do they compare?
Well, you’ve come to the right place because this article will compare Winter Park vs Breckenridge against a number of factors so that you can go right ahead and make the decision.
Winter Park vs Breckenridge
The main difference between Winter Park and Breckenridge is that Winter Park is larger, easier to reach and has cheaper accommodation options. Plus, it’s great for beginners and intermediates.
Breckenridge on the other hand has a higher elevation, offers more runs and is great for advanced skiers. Plus, the resort has a better lift system and gets more snow than Winter Park.
Also read our comparison of Breckenridge vs Telluride
Let’s take a look at these in more detail:
Easiest To Reach
Planning on how to get there is the first and, on most occasions, the toughest call to make.
Located just 60km away from Denver, you can reach the Winter Park resort either by driving which will take you roughly one and a half hours, or take a train from Union Station which will take you around two hours.
On the other hand, the Breckenridge resort is located 100 km away from the Denver airport and will take around a couple of hours to get there by car.
So you’ll be spending almost the same amount of time journeying to both these locales (unless you’re heading to Winter Park in a car), but you’ll have PLENTY of nice scenery and the excitement of your days on the slopes to look forward to on your way there!
Skiable Area And Elevation
Winter Park is larger than Breckenridge and has a skiable area of around 3081 acres, and a summit elevation of 12060 ft.
Breckenridge on the other hand, has a skiable area of 2908 acres, and a summit of elevation of 12998 ft.
While the skiable area of the latter might be smaller than the former, Breckenridge has a higher elevation (nearly 1000 ft more!) which means it has good snow on the slopes for much longer compared to Winter Park.
Both resorts provide ample terrain for skiers of all skill levels to enjoy and have a good time. Winter Park has around 165 ski runs onsite, while Breckenridge offers 187 trails.
Winter Park IMHO has better terrain than Breck and has three main areas for skiing – Winter Park Mountain, Mary Jane, and Vasquez Ridge.
Winter Park has very evenly-spaced greenery and is easy to navigate, while Mary Jane has mogul runs and tree-line runs for the truly adventurous skier.
Vasques Ridge is similarly exciting but is located quite far from the main grounds, but if you’re willing to take the route, you’ll be met with amazing terrain.
Also read our comparison of Breckenridge vs Park City
Breckenridge might not be as large as Winter Park, but the resort has over 1000 acres of bowls and boasts the third longest ski run in the entire state, at 3.5 miles! The resort also has places for novice skiers such as Peak 9, which also houses lessons and schools for new skiers to learn the sport.
Best for Beginners
Overall, the best resort for beginners would be Winter Park. 24% of the runs at Winter Park are for beginners, while Breckenridge has only 13% of suitable runs for beginners.
While areas like Peak 9 are perfect for beginners, Winter Park outdoes Breckenridge with its vast space that is open to beginners.
Most of these runs are at the base, and on relatively flatter ground, so beginners have more than enough space to get to know the sport and have fun at the same time at Winter Park.
Moreover, Winter Park is relatively less crowded compared to Breckenridge, so the extra space will definitely help out beginners.
Best for Advanced And Expert Skiers
Breckenridge is the best resort for advanced skiers. 64% of Breckenridge’s runs are marked as advanced or expert runs. With daring summits and 5 beautiful peaks, expert and advanced skiers would really enjoy Breckenridge.
On the other hand, 55% of Winter Park’s runs are designated for advanced and expert skiers.
Snow Quality And Best Powder
Winter Park receives an annual snowfall of 326” while Breckenridge receives 366”, which makes Breck better in terms of snowfall, and quality.
The powder can be found in both resorts, especially during peak season, but Winter Park is known for the smooth fluffy powder that sits on top of a proper snowpack. So if you’re into chasing powder, Winter Pack would be the place for you.
Longest Ski Season
Both resorts have almost similar season length, starting from November until mid May. However, due to Brecks massive elevation it enjoys longer snowfall which can lead to a longer season.
Also read our comparison of Breckenridge vs Copper Mountain
So if you’re busy during the beginning of the year, Breckenridge will still have a nice locale ready for you to have fun, even as late as Spring!
Breckenridge has a better lift system than WP. They have 35 lifts for your use – 1 tram, 5 high speed sixes, 7 high-speed quads, 1 triple chair, 6 double chairs and 15 surface lifts.
Winter Park has a total of 25 lifts, despite its larger area – 1 tram, 2 trams, 7 high-speed sixes, 4 high-speed quads, 6 double chairs, and 5 surface lifts.
So you might experience some crowds at Winter Park, waiting for their turn for a lift, which can affect your overall experience at the resort.
Breckenridge would be a cheaper option, considering their lift prices. At Breckenridge, prices range from $97 – 149 on weekdays and $116 – 179 on the weekends.
Breckenridge has great accommodation as well – places like the Crystal Peak Lodge and the Mountain Thunder Lodge which offer lodgings at around $300-400 during the off-season and $700-800 per night when it’s peak season.
Winter Park ski lift ticket prices range from $150 -179 on weekdays, and $121-157 on weekends.
Winter Park also offers accommodation at places like the Winter Mountain Lodge and the Gravitas Haus, the former will cost around $145 per night while the latter will cost between $235 – $500 per night.
So, accommodation at Winter Park is a little less than Breck and if you’re looking for a cheaper accommodation option, WP it is! But I am sure you could find cheap lodging at Breck as well.
Your choice really depends on multiple factors – if you’re looking for a family friendly ski resort that is less crowded and has a good number of green runs and is easier to reach, Winter Park is your best bet. Plus, accommodation is cheaper.
But if you’re an advanced skier who’s looking for variety and a lot of space – the best choice would be Breckenridge.