(Last Updated On: October 7, 2014)

The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance keeps finding ways to make history fun, and its latest way of bringing history to life involves skiing through it.

Ski Through History Every Friday

Ski Through History Every Friday

Every Friday during the ski season, from 1-4 p.m., a Breckenridge history buff will lead people on a mountainous adventure along Peaks 7, 8 and 9, as they tell stories about the history of Breckenridge through the naming of the ski resort’s trails.

Rick Hague, who has given tours through the alliance for years, put together the Historic Ski Tour, along with the help of a lot of longtime locals, as well as the Town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Wooden Skis

Wooden Skis

“Unlike many U.S. ski areas, most of the run names at the Breckenridge Ski Resort have a real meaning — they are named after historic events, personalities, ski area history, or places in early Breckenridge history,” Hague said.

Ever wonder who Little Johnny or Duke was? Well, Johnny was a short, wild lifty in the 1960s who apparently made a big impression, and Duke was a mountain manager who suffered intense burns while rescuing two employees from an explosion in the main ski area building at the base of Peak 8 in 1966.

And, you just may run into local legend CJ (“Crazy John”) Mueller, who still skis at Breckenridge, and who ski patrol renamed My Line after. Mueller is a three-time world record speed skier and athlete of the 1992 Winter Olympics.

And why is there a run called George’s Thumb? It wasn’t an injured thumb, but George Gruber’s thumb did cause quite a pain in the 1980s — I’ll let you take the tour to find out how.

10th Mountain Division Skiers

10th Mountain Division Skiers

During the tour, you’ll also learn about Breckenridge’s raucous saloons, fire-and-brimstone saviors, and various mines, such as the Wire Patch Mine, named for the webs of gold crystals it produced.

Oh, and the run High Anxiety? Turns out it’s not the fear factor that inspired the name; in the late 1970s, Twentieth Century Fox briefly tried its luck in the ski industry. Same for Goodbye Girl. You’ll learn that and much more on the guided adventure.

“The tour makes skiing a more meaningful experience, because it puts history together,” said Breckenridge Heritage Alliance operations manager Cindy Hintgen. “It’s a great experience for locals to learn about their town and a great way for visitors to get a background in where they’re staying.”

Pole baskets were made of leather and wood, like most ski equipment of the time.

Pole baskets were made of leather and wood, like most ski equipment of the time.

To ski through time, call the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance at 970-453-9767, ext. 2 and reserve your spot by 8 p.m. the night before (Thursday). Intermediate skiing or snowboarding level is recommended, and the minimum suggested age is 10. Cost is $20 for adults 13 and older, and $15 for kids. You provide your own lift ticket and equipment.

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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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