9/5/12

Alpine Style: Late Summer in Breckenridge


There’s a lot of talk about Winter during the late Summer in Breckenridge.  In anticipation of the upcoming ski season, conversations about the weather quickly shift from the recent downpours to snowfall predictions.  Generally speaking, winter sports enthusiasts can rejoice because there’s already an accumulation of optimism, and the forecast calls for mostly sunny days with thrilling conditions. 
   
Breckenridge, CO in late Summer



Breckenridge is a mecca for rugged recreation in the Colorado Rockies.  With an elevation of approximately 9600', simple activities like walking up a flight of stairs is an aerobic challenge for flatlanders, particularly those who are accustomed to living near sea level.  Ambitious plans for a vigorous walk on the first day were quickly stifled by the cardiovascular catch-up that kicked my aspirations to the ground.  

Humbled, but still eager for an afternoon of sightseeing on the first day, the BreckConnect Gondola whisked me up the mountain to see the colorful wildflowers and blue spruce trees that accentuate the mountainous terrain in the Summer.  

Compared to activities like hiking and biking, shopping is one of the easiest activities to participate in during your acclimation period.  Shops and restaurants are concentrated on Main Street in the historic district where the architecture reflects the evolution of a western mining town to a vibrant, all-season resort town.  

If you need technical gear and rugged clothes, then head for the Patagonia store where they’ll properly outfit you for the summit.  But, if you’re interested in casual apparel to wear to Ridge Street Wine for a delectable “Wine & Chocolate Pairing,”  then look no further than Goods, a local boutique stocked with stylish choices for the Breckenridge lifestyle. 

Instead of backpacking through the high-country, you can go backtracking through Good’s long, narrow floor plan that is characteristic of an Old West mercantile. You’ll discover brands like Prairie Underground, George Gina and Lucy, Free People, Johnny Was, and Uggs spread across two floors.  

The top level has the charm of a Victorian attic with gifts for the family in the stairwell and handbags tucked into shelves above racks of clothes.  The Big Buddha handbag caught my attention only after walking past it twice.  Perhaps one of those mischief-making Tommyknockers followed me from the Country Boy Mine and moved the bag to trick me.  There’s nothing like a local legend to influence a spending spree.


Big Buddha "Luiza" handbag
Goods -  Breckenridge

Big Buddha makes roomy, eco-friendly handbags that are suitable for alpine fashion needs. The bag has two shoulder straps, a generous tassel accent on the drawstring, and a magnetic snap closure to secure your scarf, gloves, and wool beret.  The lined interior has a zip pocket and two slip pockets for essentials like sunscreen, phone, and large, polarized sunglasses.  Believe the tour guides when they offer advice about sensible sun exposure when you're this close to the timberline.

Improvisseurs know that the bohemian aesthetic of Free People looks good regardless of the altitude.  Similarly, the Johnny Was brand, distinguished by elaborate embroidery, is easy to layer for sudden weather swings common at high elevations.  Consider wearing the draped hoodie with a denim jacket during a sunset stroll along the river walk.


Breckenridge public art
"Suzanna" by James Vilona

The environmental spirit is soaring in Breckenridge as the community seeks to balance its mining history with a prosperous future.  Welcoming tourists to share in the stewardship of America’s natural beauty is a sustainable plan for Summit County.  The Blue River that flows through town is a reminder of the power of water to erode mountains, support wildlife, and inspire people to conserve the grandeur west of the Continental Divide.