(Last Updated On: October 25, 2016)

There are plenty of ways to dash through the snow, but one of the most nostalgic involves horses and a sleigh. Breckenridge offers a variety of sleigh ride experiences, from full dinners and shows, to hot cocoa and schnapps, to create lifetime memories.

Choose your experience

Sleigh and dinner theater; sleigh and dinner; sleigh and hot cocoa (and complementary schnapps for adults); or a private ride? These are the main decisions.

Breckenridge Sleigh Rides is booking its sleigh rides through Two Below Zero, which departs from the Frisco Nordic Center. It whisks people on a 20-minute ride — with mountain peaks lining the horizon — to a wooden structure, covered by a tent, just like in the old days. Inside, comfy, padded chairs circle tables that seat 10-14.

Draft mules wait patiently for people to load up for a dinner sleigh ride.

Draft mules wait patiently for people to load up for a dinner sleigh ride.

Dinner sleigh rides start with complementary schnapps for adults and hot cocoa for anyone who wants to warm up. Then sleigh drivers serve chicken cheese enchilada soup, followed by BOTH a top sirloin steak and chicken, complemented with a potato and veggies. Save room for dessert — you won’t want to miss the warm apple pie topped with whipped cream.

After a delicious and hearty dinner, join in the sing-along, or just relax as David Peel performs favorite Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson and Rocky Mountain high songs. You’ll be surprised how well he imitates celebrity voices. This guy isn’t just some guitar player/vocalist. He’s the real deal; since college he’s performed in everything from The Daniel Boone Show to Cash concerts. The show itself is like a live concert — only more intimate and interactive.

David Peel welcomes people into the dining hall with his friendly demeanor and amazing voice.

David Peel welcomes people into the dining hall with his friendly demeanor and amazing voice.

After the 30-minute show, load into the sleigh for another magical ride (this time the two huge draft mules pull the sleigh a bit faster, for an approximately 15-minute ride, just in case the temperature has chilled).

“We want people to say it was the highpoint of their experience, and we take that seriously,” John Lampe, owner of Two Below Zero, said about his emphasis on customer service.

Hot cocoa and scenic rides

Two Below Zeros’ one-hour (round-trip) hot cocoa and homemade cookies (and schnapps, for adults) ride is shorter than the 2.25-hour dinner ride. It’s great for people on a budget who still want an authentic Colorado experience. Similarly, Nordic Sleigh Rides offers a purely scenic ride for those who want to skip munchies and a show (see Old West dinner theater below).

Private sleighs

Both companies offer private sleigh rides. Two Below Zero provides a sleigh that seats four, and Nordic Sleigh Rides offers a romantic two-person sleigh. This is your once-in-a-lifetime Currier and Ives experience: It’s the fairytale, one-horse open sleigh ride. The red “Santa sleighs” have curled runners and special red blankets to make any anniversary, proposal, birthday or other special occasion truly memorable. Last year, 60 men each proposed to their beloveds on the Two Below Zero sleigh, and couples have even tied the knot on a sleigh, against Breckenridge’s snow-capped mountain backdrop.

Private sleigh rides are ultra romantic in the red Santa sleigh.

Private sleigh rides are ultra romantic in the red Santa sleigh.

Old West dinner theater

Nordic Sleigh Rides aims to transport people back into Breckenridge’s rich historical past through its dinner theater sleigh rides. The ride begins in a red sleigh, located about 6 miles down Tiger Run Road. Within 30 minutes, the sleigh pulls up to a reproduced 1860’s mining camp dining hall.

The staff uses two mid-1800’s stoves — one to cook your choice of steak, barbecue chicken, salmon or vegetable lasagna — and one to heat up the place. Dinner (eaten off of tin plates) includes salad, corn on the cob, barbecue “miners’” beans, and apple pie. And, there’s always hot chocolate to warm you up, as well.

During dinner, one of three shows begins. Depending on the night, you’ll see the unsinkable Molly Brown, the Mountain Man, or Dance Hall Girls.

The Mountain Man show is the longest running; it features a grizzly man who leads people through the nightly buffet line. Once people sit down, he tells tales of a Colorado mountain man’s life — these men came to Breckenridge before miners, to trap beaver, in order to make hats for English gentlemen from the animals’ hides. The mountain man can get a little wild, so women, beware.

Of course, every show is family friendly, so even though the men may squirm in their seats a bit when the flirtatious dance hall girls strut their stuff, parents can rest assured that nothing is ever said or done that would offend families.

The unsinkable Molly Brown weaves her tale of going from rags to riches; she married a young miner who discovered a way of digging deeper into mines, and that skyrocketed them into a life of the rich and famous overnight. And, she doesn’t leave out the story of her brush with death on the Titanic.

Breckenridge Ski Resort Starlight Dinners

Enjoy a winter sleigh ride from the base of Peak 9 up to TenMile Station through the scenic trails. With a Snow Cat doing the heavy lifting, you’ll travel in old-fashioned style with a modern twist. After gliding across the snow and through the trees, you’ll arrive at your dinner destination for a world-class meal.

Reservation and information at 970-547-5740 and on the breckenridge.com website.

The prix fixe menu highlights the best food Breckenridge has to offer and has something for every palate and tastebud.

Dress for success

Unless you want the memory of your sleigh ride to involve cold feet, leave flimsy footwear behind. Just think about this for a minute: The only thing between the snow and your feet are hunks (albeit, really cool hunks) of wood, in the form of a sleigh. So, ladies, nix the high-heeled (or even flat-heeled) boots, and opt for a hardy pair of Sorels, UGGs or the like. Hiking boots will do, but be sure to wear warm — preferably high performance — socks. Avoid cotton socks, as they can get cold on the way home if you end up sweating inside.

No matter how warm of a night, my husband prepares well with goggles.

No matter how warm of a night, my husband prepares well with goggles.

For the rest of your attire, take a cue from the song “Let it Snow”: The weather outside may be frightful, but the fire (inside), so delightful. In other words, dress in layers to avoid shivering outside and/or overheating inside.

I wear ski pants over a pair of jeans so my legs stay warm on the sleigh and I remain comfortable in jeans once I get into the lodge. In addition to layering my upper body, I’d never get on a sleigh without a hat and gloves, and I bring a neck gaiter or scarf. My husband takes it a little far and brings goggles; I have to admit, one blustery night, I wished I had done the same. The sleighs also have warm blankets to snuggle under.

When booking your reservation, don’t worry about missing out on scenery if your sleigh departs at night — on a clear night, a sky full of stars will dazzle you, and the moon, depending upon how full it is, illuminates the horses, sleigh and scenery. On snowy nights, flakes glisten from the sleigh’s light. Either way, it’s a memorable, magical Rocky Mountain experience.


About The Author

Kimberly Nicoletti always knew she was meant to escape gray Chicago winters and spend her days skiing the Colorado Rockies. So, two months after she turned 18, she moved to Breckenridge to be a ski bum "for a season," assuring her parent's she'd return to Illinois to finish college. But, the ski bum life stuck. After three years of full-time skiing in Summit County, she decided to finish her degree at CU-Boulder in Creative Writing (granted, she took a semester off to ski). Once free of classes, she took yet another year off to ski in Summit (do you see a pattern here?). Then, she moved back to Boulder to earn her master's degree in Somatic Psychology/Dance Therapy. Upon graduation, she spent a winter teaching skiing at Mammoth Mountain. (Surely you see the pattern now.) In 2002, she moved back to Summit full time, to work at the Summit Daily as the arts and entertainment editor. She stayed with the company for 10 years, enjoying Summit's great events and later working as the managing editor of magazines covering the High Country. She still revolves her life around adventure and creativity, taking time to travel, ski, paddleboard, dance, ice skate, play with her dogs, learn new things and generally enjoy life. She's highly addicted to powder skiing and keeps her winter mornings commitment-free so she can indulge in "deep play" when Mother Nature cooperates. Off the mountain, she's a freelance writer and editor and teaches fitness and mind/body classes throughout Summit County.

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