2001 Number 8 Resort in North America: Breckenridge, Colo.

Number 8 Resort in North America: Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge is like an old friend that you always look forward to seeing. The town, the locals and most definitely the mountain welcome you with open arms, year after year. "Worth going back to again and again. I have skied the area 15 times in 25 years," says one reader. "We've been coming here for nine years, and I never get tired of Breck," adds another. So why the repeat business? "Best town, friendly staff, lots of things to do, great dining and lodging" are mentioned repeatedly. But tops on most lists are the two T's: town and terrain. Breck perennially earns three gold medals-Off-Hill Activities, Après-Ski and Dining-that attest to the vigor of its Victorian downtown. Loaded with dining, shopping and nightlife options, the town serves up alternatives for all tastebuds and styles-as does the mountain. Some experts complain that there isn't enough challenge, but beginners through advanced intermediates unanimously praise Breck's terrain as perfect for groups with skiers of varying abilities. In surveys past, a good number of readers complained of congested liftlines. This year, an overwhelming number of readers praised the lift system, crediting the addition of the Quicksilver Super6 for improving the ski experience. All told, Breck has seen an infusion of more than $40 million in on-mountain improvements over the past three seasons. Skiers are noticing, which is probably why Breck jumped up three spots to No. 10. And with 1.44 million skier visits last season, Break can call itself America's most popular resort.

WHAT'S NEW With all the skiers and riders, crowd-control improvements are planned in ticketing, childcare, skier services and transportation.

A GOOD DEAL Pay for three to six nights of lodging and three to five days of skiing and receive an extra night of lodging and a day of skiing free. Call (888) 796-2818.

MEDALS GOLD Dining, Après-Ski, Off-Hill Activities; SILVER Snow, Grooming, Terrain, Challenge, Lifts, Service, Weather, Access, On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Family Programs, Scenery.

HIGH/LOW RANK Off-Hill Activities (5), Après-Ski (6), Dining (10); Challenge (47), Value (47), Terrain (50).

DON'T MISS For live music or just to grab a cocktail, head to Sherpa & Yeti's on Main Street, new this season.

READER REMARKS (+) "Best overall place to go. Great town and nice locals." (-) "Hard to get from one peak to another." "Lots of people!"