A look at Summit County towns

Date: Apr. 29th, 2009
Contact: Kimberly Nicoletti at Summit Daily

SILVERTHORNE: Gateway to mountain adventure

Silverthorne is the gateway to a vacation full or mountain memories. Located right off Interstate I-70, the Gore Mountain Range nestles the town, where a river runs through it. The Blue River is home to gold medal fishing, and the mountains hold plenty of adventure, from hiking to hunting.

Silverthorne is also the place to shop. The Outlets at Silverthorne – full of name-brand stores at discount prices – draw Front Rangers up here for bargains. And then there’s the old staple: Target.

Phase 2 of the Silverthorne Town Center, located adjacent to the Silverthorne Town Pavilion, is a new mix of residential units and retail centers.

But Silverthorne isn’t just for shopping. Most locals live in town, and residents occupy 80 percent of the properties year-round — a statistic that differs from most ski towns, where second homeowners tend to buy. In Silverthorne, you’ll find a trailer park, mid-priced homes and multi-million dollar homes, the latter of which are built mostly in Eagles Nest, a golf

course community.

In the winter, visitors and residents cross country ski on the Raven Golf Course and skate at the free ice rink at the corner of Highway 9 and Hamilton Creek Road.

The Silverthorne Town Pavilion offers year-round activities for all ages, whether it’s a flea market, kids’ safety event,

adult-oriented comedy, intimate concerts or murder mystery dinners. It’s also a beautiful venue for weddings.

Shop, stay and play in Silverthorne: It’s a blend of natural charm and modern conveniences.
Silverthorne stats
Elevation: 8,751
Population: 3.196
Town Hall: (970) 262-7300
601 Center Drive
Mayor: Dave Koop
Web site:

DILLON: A mountain retreat

Since it incorporated in 1883, the town of Dillon has moved three times, and, as the saying goes, the third time’s a charm. Dillon offers a quieter shelter from the storm of tourists. It houses snow enthusiasts who want to be centrally located to all of the ski areas, rather than live in one.

The first and second time residents moved the town, they did so of their own volition — to be closer to the railroad and to sit between three rivers, respectively. The third move occurred in 1961, when Denver Water Board gave residents five years to sell their properties and move to higher ground, in order to make way for the Dillon Reservoir. Since then, Dillon has enjoyed spectacular views — a fusion of water and mountain peaks.

Both the town of Dillon and Dillon Ridge provide a variety of restaurants, shops and theaters (movie and live). Lake Dillon Theatre provides cultural flair with its dramas, comedies and musical revues. And, the only bowling alley in Summit County sits in the heart of town.
Dillon stats
Elevation: 9,087
Population: 802
Town Hall: (970) 468-2403
275 Lake Dillon Drive
Mayor: Barbara Davis
Web site:

FRISCO: Center of Summit

Frisco is at the center of it all. It’s a short drive to Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper Mountain ski resorts, and the beautiful drive over the Dam Road to Dillon regularly causes tourists to slow down and enjoy the scenery.

The town blends old-fashioned charm with a bustling Main Street, dotted with restaurants, shops, historic buildings, bars and real estate offices.

At the west end of town, once a base for fur-trappers and miners, lies a modern-day goldmine for recreation lovers: the North Tenmile Trailhead. The trailhead is the primary gateway to the magnificent Eagles Nest Wilderness.

At the southeast corner of town, the Frisco Nordic Center and Peninsula Recreation Area offers dozens of trails on more than 800 acres of forest for Nordic skiing, showshoeing and sledding.

A stroll through the downtown core proves that old and new can coexist: Turn-of-the-century homes and schoolhouses stand side by side with brand-new, high-end condos. The Frisco Historic Museum and Park, near the gazebo, displays structures from the 1800s.

The Frisco area is also the service hub of Summit County. Less than a mile from Main Street stands the County Commons, home to the Community and Senior Center, animal shelter, DMV office, main library, recycling drop-off and other county government offices. Just up the hill, you’ll find a gorgeous hospital and a new medical center, which includes mental health and community care clinic services.

Summit Boulevard can meet all of your day-to-day needs, including groceries, paint, hardware, auto repair, dry-cleaning, Mexican food, fast food, photocopying, chicken chow mein and ski gear.
Frisco stats
Elevation: 9,100
Population: 2,697
Town Hall: (970) 668-5276
1 Main Street
Mayor: Bill Pelham
Web site:

BRECKENRIDGE: Genuine ski town

This year, Breckenridge turns 150 years old, and it’s celebrating with retro ski days and plenty of rousing events. You know, any town that can get away with hosting a winter Ullr Fest parade — which has been known to include streekers — and a high-class summer orchestral series clearly has it goin’ on.

Breckenridge offers something for everyone. Main Street is a T-shirt- and souvenir-lovers dream for tourists and a great place for locals to go out on the town. The Riverwalk Center hosts orchestras, dance companies and blues, rock and jam bands.

Breckenridge is becoming an artists’ Mecca, with its many galleries and the Arts District, the latter of which provides classes for kids and adults. For nature lovers, the Breckenridge Nature Center offers plenty of activities.

History buffs should check out houses full of artifacts, such as Barney Ford, Edwin Carter and the Main Street Historical museums. Each have fascinating stories about the towns, which originated during the 19th century gold rush. How can you beat a Victorian town nestled below a ski resort?

Blue River

Elevation: 10,000 feet

Population: Approximately 600

Town hall: (970) 547-0545,

110 Whispering Pines Drive

Breckenridge stats
Elevation: 9,603
Population: 2,500
Town Hall: (970) 453-2251
150 Ski Hill Road
Mayor: John Warner

Blue River is a tiny dot in Summit County. It’s a town of 2.2 square miles, located at 10,020 feet, though many neighborhoods extend beyond the town’s border. Blue River is the nearest town south of Breckenridge, approximately 4 miles. Though it doesn’t have any retail services, more affordable single-family homes — and beautiful luxury homes — stand between pines and spruces. The area offers access to hiking and climbing, including Quandary Peak.


Located about 18 miles away from Silverthorne, and with a permanent population of approximately 70 people, Heeney is often the forgotten residential area of Summit County.

Heeney originated in the 1930s, as a result of the dam’s construction. It is a popular destination for fishermen and hunters. From the banks of Green Mountain Reservoir, Heeney provides easy access to ice fishing and plenty of trails leading to prime hunting grounds in the Gore Range and Eagles Nest Wilderness. Hunters also find the area’s lodging establishments comfortable for longer stays. Heeney lies at the lowest, northern end of the county on the shores of Green Mountain Reservoir. Just head north of Silverthorne, up Highway 9.
Heeney stats
Elevation: 7,870
Population: 70-75
The town has no mayor because it's a community, not an incorporated town. Of
course, there's no town hall, but a new community center and fire station
acts as a hub for potlucks, dances and parties; it also houses equipment to
protect Heeney from fire.
Address: 7000 CR 30, Heeney
Contact: (970) 724-3677

MONTEZUMA: No rules above 10,000 feet

Tenacious best describes the spirit of Montezuma.  In 1865, a group of silver prospectors braved the rugged passes of the Continental Divide to find a tent commune in a high valley along the Snake River. One of the prospectors, D.C. Collier, branded the name “Montezuma” on a tree, naming the tent village for the golden treasures of the Aztecs’ last emperor.

It didn’t take long for the miners to make strikes. When Loveland Pass opened in 1868, more prospectors clambered through to stake their claims. By 1881, when the town officially incorporated, the population had grown to 800.

Since the mining boom of the late 1800s, the town, located above Keystone in southeastern Summit County, has dwindled to about 50 people. The population has not changed much since the 1920s, when mining began to wind down. Winters are cold and long, but Montezuma is great starting point for backcountry skiing and snowshoe tours of the High Country. During the summer the area is a popular recreation spot for hikers, campers, fishermen and


Montezuma has waxed and waned in activity throughout the years. Recently, the town has united to become more active as a government and community. Montezuma re-established its town charter in the 1980s. In the November 1999 election, Montezuma residents approved a 2 percent sales tax to fund town activities. The town also recently upgraded its water supply system, and some private property owners are looking at options for some low-key commercial development.
Montezuma stats
Elevation: 10,400 feet
Population: About 60
Town hall: 5425 Montezuma Rd.
Contact: (970) 468-8509