Mountain Thrills & Town Charm

Frisco is an ideal basecamp for winter fun

Frisco clock on Main Street at dusk with purple sky and piles of snow on the street. Photo by Todd Powell

When you imagine a small mountain town in the Colorado Rockies, you are probably visualizing a place like Frisco, Colorado, where mountains tower over Main Street and local shops and restaurants beckon with unique finds and creative eats. While Frisco is nestled between six major ski resorts, it is a “resortless” resort town which has retained an unhurried charm and warmth. Great skiing and snowboarding at resorts like Copper Mountain, Vail, and Breckenridge are a quick drive from Frisco, and the Frisco Adventure Park, just minutes from Main Street, offers a six-lane tubing hill, community beginner ski/ride hill, horse drawn sleigh rides, and a Nordic center with miles of ski and snowshoe trails. It hasn’t always been like this though.

The skiing industry wasn’t established in this area until the 1960’s and was undoubtably inspired by all that “white gold” that falls on these mountains each year. Frisco history began long before ski slopes though with the Ute people, Colorado’s first and longest remaining inhabitants of the region now known as Summit County. The first white men to come through this area were known as “mountain men” who trapped beaver for their fur in the high mountain lakes from 1810 into the 1840s. The 1870s ushered in the mining industry, and in 1873, the Town of Frisco was founded.  By 1930, Frisco’s permanent population had dropped to only 18 people, but Frisco was one of the few mining towns to survive, with ranching remaining the only industry. After rancher Bill Thomas offered free plots of land to Denver residents under the condition they build cabins on their plots within a year, the population had increased to 50 people by 1946.

Today, Frisco still retains its small-town vibe with a population of just over 3,000, and the occasional moose which wanders down Main Street. Frisco also has a thriving canine population and pays its regards to its furriest residents with a costumed Mardi Gras dog parade each winter. And at its heart, it is a town that thrives on outdoor adventure, preferably with a dog in tow, and enthusiastically offers outdoor adventure for everyone from seasoned adventurers who want to backcountry ski to newbies who just want to take a giggly spin on a snow tube. Frisco’s small-town charm and access to world class resorts and thousands of acres of public land make Frisco an ideal basecamp for winter fun.

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