Top Ski Towns: Breckenridge, CO

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Breckenridge is not for people who need their personal space: The popularity of the resort, one of America's busiest, guarantees a packed mountain and packed bars for most of the winter. But it's perfect for people-watchers and players. It's also perfect for single women, since 62 percent of the locals are male. Breck has made affordable housing a priority, and rent-controlled apartment complexes arespread throughout town. Blue River, a free 10-minute bus ride from Main Street, is the local bargain where most new Breckies end up. Economic diversity is not Breck's strong suit—a management-level job at the resort or the city government is your best bet to get out from behind the bar, but don't expect to nab one until you've put in some time on the front lines. "I waited tables for three years, which let me ski every day, explains Matt Powers, 35, who moved to Breck from St. Louis five years ago. He recently switched to real estate, which still lets him get on the mountain whenever he wants. "Once I realized I wanted to stay here, it was all about finding a permanent job with flexibility.

Working Here: Summit County has a workforce of around 17,000, and a hefty chunk of those employees work for Vail Resorts, which owns Breck. The city government is the second-largest employer.

Leaving Here: Denver International Airport is 105 miles away. Direct flights to Cancun and Anchorage start as low as $300.

Being Here: The Breckenridge Recreation Center is one of the hubs of local life—sign up for some classes to meet the neighbors. And expect to leave town: What you can't get in Breck, you'll find in nearby Frisco, Dillon, or Silverthorne.

Skiing Here: Right next to Breckenridge ski resort
Snowfall: 282 inches
Skiable Terrain: 2,208 acres
Vertical: 3,398 feet

Per Capita Income: $29,675
Median rental price: $858
Median home price: $580,100