‘Tis the season to pack up and head to the hills for thousands of skiers and snowboarders from the Rockies to the Sierra.
Among the most popular – and most congested -- winter destinations is Summit County, Colo., home to four major resorts including the nation’s busiest at Breckenridge. The amount of traffic in the tight confines of the mountain county is an ongoing concern, reignited this season as Breckenridge expanded onto Peak 6.
While private and hotel shuttle services criss-cross the county to partially relieve congestion, the big player is the Summit Stage – now in its 36th year of free bus service all around the county.
Funded by a dedicated county sales tax, Summit Stage’s year-round ridership now tops 1.75 million, according to Summit County figures. The vast majority of those rides go to skiers and riders heading to the slopes during the winter months – and avoiding the hassles of traffic jams and remote parking.
The system hubs out of three transit centers in Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne. Buses make regular runs to Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge and Copper Mountain, and both snowboard and ski equipment can be taken along inside the vehicles.
The Summit Stage also picks up and drops off at business centers, and hotels and lodges along the way. A link to Lake County's transit system makes a side-trip to historic Ski Cooper and Leadville easy.
Winter service begins at 6 a.m. each morning and typically sends out two buses an hour from each transit hub.
Photo: Summit Stage System Map (Summit County)