How Beaver Run Got Its Name and Other History of the Resort

How did Beaver Run get its name? When was the resort built? What was Breckenridge like? Did the beaver really run?  Homeowners and guests frequently ask about the history of Beaver Run Resort. Here we share more about the origins of Breckenridge and your favorite slope-side resort, Beaver Run. 

Breckenridge was founded in summer 1859 by a band of “Pikes Peak or Bust” prospectors who discovered enough gold to hold their interest. A hearty group over-wintered in a fort near today’s City Market, and prepared for the spring melt. Hundreds followed and the town became established, receiving a post office in early 1860.

By the turn of the 20th Century, Breckenridge was a thriving mining community. The land where Beaver Run sits today, known as the 23-acre Lake Placer, was claimed in 1903.  

Mining played out during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Lake Placer Claim fell into the ownership of then-Breckenridge Mayor Frank Brown. The Milam family of Texas bought the property in the 1950s for a summer retreat and renamed it Texas Gulch.

Breckenridge Ski Area opened in December 1961 with lifts and amenities at distant Peak 8. Yet only a few years later, expansion planning began. Peak 9 would be the next ski venue for Breckenridge, making Texas Gulch ideal for a base area.

The neighborhood beavers had other plans for Texas Gulch. Utilizing increased water availability from the upstream F&D Placer dam, beavers constructed a new pond and dam on the hillside above today’s resort.  One surprising day in the late-1960s, saturation and excess water caused a landslide. Huge piles of mud, rocks, trees and debris piled up near today’s Doubletree Hotel.

The Milam family was distressed to arrive one summer to find their land washed away. They were ready to dispose of Texas Gulch. 

Around this time, Aspen Ski Corporation announced their purchase of the Breckenridge Ski Area. Renewed interest in resort development brought new opportunities. Bob Girvin, Jim Cavin and Charlie Hayes -- soon to be known as the “Beaver Boys” -- arranged a complicated property transfer with the Milam family. The three-way deal required the purchase of a Safeway store in Texas. By the end of 1972, the Beaver Boys held title.

Planning for resort development commenced promptly. The project needed a name.  Bob Girvin remembered a family meeting where his wife Judy came up with “Beaver Run,” giving credit to the beavers for the making the land run.

The Beaver Boys hired Lord & Co. of Boulder to begin the process of planning and approvals with the Town of Breckenridge. With their success, an interim buyer advanced the project until Paul Albrechtson purchased the property and forwarded the development plans. 

Before construction began at Beaver Run Resort (BRR), the Breckenridge Ski Area installed D-Lift nearby, yet it ran only part-way up Peak 9 and was later replaced. 

Construction of BRR began in 1978 with Building 1. The first condo unit sold in February 1980. Buildings 2 and 3 followed soon thereafter. By 1982, the popular Conference Center needed expansion.

In 1984, BRR was on the map, shown in TV coverage of the Freestyle Skiing Championships on Wide World of Sports. Another important step for Beaver Run in 1984: the first homeowner’s board was established.

The Ski Area replaced inefficient D-Chair in 1990 with the Beaver Run Super Chair. Originally called the Mercury Chair, the lift was dedicated by Alan Shepard, the first American in space and who also walked on the moon in 1971. Shepard, a BRR homeowner, included other Mercury astronauts John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, and Gordon Cooper in the celebration.

Improvements to BRR continued over the years. Spencer’s Restaurant and the Copper Top expanded dining options. The Refurbishment Department, created in 1994, continued to update the look and style of units, keeping BRR current with trends and travelers’ tastes.  The Conference Center increased occupancy year-round. 

Reflecting on BRR’s legacy, General Manager Bob Barto noted: “Beaver Run is a striking landmark in Breckenridge with one of the best locations in town – we’re located ski-in, ski-out at the base of Peak 9 with our own chairlift and just a short walk or free shuttle ride to town.”

Barto, who has been on the job since 1991, added: “Since the beginning, the Beaver Run team has felt like a family and worked together to provide the best experiences to our guests, owners and employees. Friendly and professional guest service is still one of our core values and we continue to focus on creating a welcoming environment and friendly culture.”

Continuing the family tradition, Bob Girvin maintained his involvement with BRR for over thirty years, serving on the Homeowner’s Board of Directors from its inception in 1984 to his retirement in 2015.  “Beaver Run has consistently made smart decisions, spending money on proper amenities and infrastructure, and contributing to the Breckenridge community,” Girvin recently observed. 

Barto speaks for all the staff at Beaver Run Resort when he adds: “We’re honored to carry on the legacy of Beaver Run Resort and to continue to be an integral part of the Breckenridge community through supporting many of the nonprofit organizations and community-focused events.”

Here’s to many more years of a successful legacy at Beaver Run Resort!