Breckenridge Unwrapped Blog - A Guide to Events, Skiing, Activities, Lodging, Vacation Rentals & Life in Breckenridg

Gaper Day…A Local’s Perspective

Viva Gaper Day!

Written by William Lancaster

G.A.P.E.R.Guaranteed Accident Prone on Every Run

Imagine a day where locals celebrate everything about living in a little mountain town, such as as powder days, cliff drops, and new friendships. A day when we consecrate the end of the season. To “kick up one’s heels” and say goodbye to the pandemonium that is peak ski season. The tourists start to dwindle away and residents begin to make their summer plans. Fluorescent ski suits, Pit Viper shades, fanny packs and skinny skis. This is “Gaper Day.”

Nietzsche once said, “Out of chaos, comes order.”  This is a very appropriate statement. A great deal of stress can be put on locals during the ski season. Questions like, “Where do you put the moguls during the summer?” and “Which ski is the left one and which is the right one?” arise frequently during the winter in a ski community. The chaos that is ski season inexorably ripples into the calm water that is summer. April 1st, or Gaper Day, is the culmination of all of the season’s stress and the springboard to some much needed time off.

Some people might say that the gaiety of Gaper Day is nothing but the locals’ opportunity to poke fun at the tourists that have helped support the ski season that year. From an elemental standpoint that may be true. However, there are many variables (and parallels) to the celebration. In Hispanic culture, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is not the revelry of a person’s death, but their life. The same can be said of Gaper Day. We do not celebrate that the tourists are gone, but that they have come!

Get in touch with your inner Gaper. Applaud yourself and those around you for surviving yet another season. Let loose the rope of this ski season and sail towards the next. Viva Gaper Day!

Thanksgiving in Summit County – What to eat, where to go and what to do.

Written by Kelly King

Breckenridge Restaurants

Many local restaurants are offering holiday spreads in addition to their normal menus. Families looking for a traditional holiday meal or a big Thanksgiving dinner with a twist can celebrate without having to cook!

Blue River Bistro is offering a three-course Thanksgiving meal, including garlic and thyme roasted turkey, shallot and gruyere mashed Yukon potatoes, roasted pear and pecan dressing, maple butternut squash hash and fresh cranberry and orange sauce. Reservations recommended. (970) 453-6974

Spencer’s at Beaver Run Resort returns with its annual buffet-style spread. After a long day on the slopes, you can ski to the dinner table and choose between chef-attended pasta and meat-carving stations, snow crab and shrimp, and pie and cake. Adults dine for $42, children for $19. Reservations recommended. (970) 453-8755

At gourmet Hearthstone Restaurant, the Thanksgiving menu includes roast turkey breast, cranberry orange compote, smoked duck and Calvados cornbread stuffing, and maple whipped sweet potatoes. Adults dine for $42, children for $19. Reservations required. (970) 453-1148

Other restaurants with Thanksgiving plates include the Motherloded Tavern (home-style cooking, $10.95), Sevens at Grand Lodge on Peak 7 (gourmet, $35, 5-9 p.m.), Quandary Grille (traditional, $19.99, half-price for children), and Modis (starts at 5 p.m.).

Thanksgiving Dinner Pick-Ups

Lost Cajun, Cajun Fried Turkeys and Turkey Dinners: $55 for just the Turkey (10-12 lbs), $95 for a whole meal including a half gallon of gumbo or other soup, potato salad or close slaw, and bread. 970-547-8330

At City Market in Breckenridge, you can place an order online in the bakery or deli to be picked up at the store.

Local Events

Thanksgiving Day — Frisco Adventure Park Opens
The Frisco Adventure Park tubing hill and Nordic center open for the season. Sleigh rides will also be departing from the Frisco Nordic Center and will take you through the Peninsula Recreation Area down scenic trails with spectacular mountain views.

Thanksgiving Day — Frisco Turkey Day 5K
The first annual Turkey Day 5K is open to all ages and takes place on the Summit County Recpath and town of Frisco side streets. All racers are invited to make a non-perishable food donation at the event, which will benefit the Family and Intercultural Resource Center of Summit County.

Black Friday sales at the Outlets in Silverthorne run from 12 a.m.–1 a.m.

Get Your Grub on at the 20th Annual Frisco BBQ Challenge

Written by Jamie Goswick

One of Summit County’s most anticipated events is less than two weeks away. I’m talking about the Frisco BBQ Challenge! This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event and it kicks off Thursday, June 13th with an evening of live music.

Around 70 BBQ-ers are expect to compete in a wide range of categories including pork, ribs, chicken, brisket, anything goes, barbecue sauce, side dish, salsa and dessert. And get this … there’s even a competition for the kids who can BBQ! In fact, there are two age groups and anything goes for the kids competition, so kids may prepare whatever they like.

Other BBQ activities include chef demonstrations, pig races and a Whiskey Tour put on by the Breckenridge Distillery. There’s also plenty of musical entertainment, including a performance on Friday afternoon by jazz musician Hazel Miller.

And what better way to burn off all those BBQ calories than a 6K run? Back for its second year, the Bacon Burner 6K Race will take place Saturday at 9:30 a.m., beginning and ending at the Frisco Bay Marina. The race is broken down into three categories: competitive racer, average runner and family/walk/jog. All participants get a t-shirt and a free beer ticket to the BBQ challenge! Cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children.

The Town of Frisco asks that you please keep your dog at home for the BBQ and the Bacon Burner 6K Race. Come on down and have a great time!

BBQ Schedule

Thursday, June 13, 2013

7 p.m. – 20th Anniversary Recognition

7:30 p.m. – BBQ Kick-Off Concert featuring Bonerama


Friday, June 14, 2013

11 a.m. – 9 p.m. – BBQ Open to Public

11:30 p.m. – Chef Demonstration w/Vaughn Hobbs

12 p.m. – Pig Races

1 p.m. – Music Entertainment – 101st Army Division Band

2 p.m. – Pig Races

3:30 p.m. -  Music Entertainment – Hazel Miller

4 p.m. – Pig Races

5:30 p.m. – Celebrity Chef Demonstration w/ Brain Malarkey

6 p.m. – Pig Races

Breckenridge Distillery’s Whiskey Rub It, Smoke It, Sip It BBQ Tour (Reservation Required)

Music Entertainment –TBD


Saturday, June 15, 2013

10 a.m. – 6 p.m. – BBQ Open to Public

Pig Races

Music Entertainment – Wild West Water

11:30 a.m. – Chef Demonstration w/ Chris Fritts of Silverheels

12 p.m. – Pig Races

12:30 p.m. – Music Entertainment-TBD

2 p.m. – Pig Races

2:30 p.m. – Chef Demonstration w/Kevin Clarke of Colorado Mountain College

3:45 p.m. – BBQ Challenge Awards Ceremony

4 p.m. – Pig Races

Music Entertainment-TBD

6 p.m.  – BBQ Happy Hour

First Snow in Breckenridge! – September 17, 2012

A view of Breckenridge Mountain from Boreas Pass

Clouds clearing off, showing some of the white stuff left behind

A view during the storm from the top of Breckenridge's Peak 8

A view from Breckenridge's Horseshoe Bowl during the storm

That's about an inch at Breckenridge's Peak 7 Warming Hut

Snow at Keystone Ski Resort

Snow at Loveland Ski Area

Snow at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Snow at Copper Mountain Resort

Snow on top of the Ten Mile Range

The Honey Hole

Summit County Beauty

Everyone has a place they go to unwind, and mine, currently, is a spot on the Blue River that I have dubbed the “Honey Hole.” The name comes from a place that I once visited with my father when I was extremely young. So young, in fact, that it is one of those memories that is barely a memory at all; not much more than a couple of mental snapshots hanging on the edge of the abyss of forgetfulness. This memory is so blurred that I might even need to double check with my father at some point to confirm that it even happened. In any event, my memory of the honey hole comes from Missouri where I spent the first few years of my young life. It was a wooded area, there were old, rustic cabins scattered about, and most importantly, there was a creek. Within this creek, there was a deep hole where many fish, their type unbeknownst to me, gathered. I recall using small pieces of pink bait, shaped something like an oversized fish egg, and that’s about it. I do not know how long I was there, or whether or not my father and I even caught any fish, but I do know that this place was the honey hole, named as such for the abundance of easily landed fish.

My present honey hole is much more memorable.

Blue River Trout

The Blue River, stemming from the Blue Lakes, runs right through the heart of Breckenridge. At its source, it’s nothing more than a creek, tumbling over rocks, weaving through fields of willows, wildflowers, and tall grasses, and at one point taking a brief hiatus in a large pond. By the time it reaches town just 9 or 10 miles later, it’s a full sized stream, finding its way around mountain homes and businesses. At the north end of town, the Blue slows down a touch and meanders through a long stretch of completely restored trout habitat. Shallow pools, each roughly a long cast in length, are connected by short waterfalls.

Halfway through this restored habitat, there is an area where the stream splits. It is not, however, a noticeable fork in the stream. From one of the deeper pools, water percolates through porous gravel and pops out again, like a spring, a short ways off course from the main flow. It reminds me of the “Business Loop” one might see branching off of a major interstate. This side creek is much smaller in volume than the main stream. It, too, babbles through a series of much smaller steps and pools, crashing through dense stands of willows and shrubs. The vegetation in most parts of this side stream is so impenetrable that fishing is largely impossible, unless you think you have the wits to grab a trout with your bare hands. At the very end of this detour, the water picks up speed and tumbles through an even thicker stand of vegetation. The willows form a sort of tunnel over the stream where little light penetrates, and the water runs black. Many insects buzz around the tangled branches, and many of them end up being swept down stream.

Then, as quickly as the new creek started, it flows from the dark tunnel and dumps into a small, sunlit pool. This is the honey hole. The water slows rapidly to a crawl and widens to about 15 feet. At it’s center, the honey hole is maybe knee deep. Fry, the tiniest of trout, dart in and out of small rocks in the shallows, while smaller adults swim lazily near the rear of the pool. Moving upstream from one end of the pool to another (a total of roughly 50 feet), the fish get bigger and bigger. On occasion, I have snagged my fly rig on willow branches near the mouth of the pool where the water rushes from the tunnel, turning from black to crystal clear again. Wading cautiously towards that transitionary spot to remove the fly from the tree, I have seen several monstrous trout hunkered down under low hanging branches, in the dark, preying on insects that get trapped in the current further upstream. Most nights that I visit the honey hole, I spot many fish, though most of them are quite small.

Not once have I approached this spot to find another fisherman already taking up the space. It’s a small haven on a heavily fished section of water.

Caught with a midge!

For a time, the honey hole got on my nerves. When I first started fly fishing and discovered the spot, I had no waders. I would timidly waltz into the hole, positioning myself to cast upstream towards the far end, while my feet quickly turned numb and took on a mild blue hue. To further aggravate the situation, I was nowhere near talented enough to avoid getting snagged on the willows that closely hugged the water. Each trip somehow ended in mild bursts of frustration, even if I caught a couple of trout. Eventually I mastered casting through the small trees. I usually stand near the center of the honey hole with about twenty feet of line extending from the tip of my rod. Lifting my arm sends the line soaring backwards up over my head. For what feels like an extended second, the line continues to float away from me, downstream. When I feel it go taught, a quick flick of the wrist brings everything whizzing forward, cutting through the air next to my ear. The line forms a tight loop, and my fly floats through the air, just above the water and just barely below the scraggly branches, before plopping effortlessly at the head of the honey hole and floating slowly, naturally, back towards me. Sometimes the process is repeated a seemingly indefinite number of times before I might eventually feel a trout on the end of my line.

Regardless of how long it might take to land one, if at all, the honey hole always makes me feel refreshed. And even though I don’t always catch one of the numerous fish, the picture is always the same: the sun sets over the 10 Mile Range to the west, and cold, crystal clear water curves around my calves while beautiful trout coast slowly by.

My Honey Hole on a typical Breckenridge Evening!

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Breckenridge Unwrapped 2011
111 Ski Hill Rd. P.O. Box 1618 Breckenridge, CO 80424
Office: 970.453.7370 | Fax: 970.453.4041 | Toll Free: 800.383.7382