Let’s face it, walking in ski boots isn’t the most comfortable way to start your day. If only ski resorts had escalators. Oh wait—Beaver Creek does! Throw in thousands of acres of unmatchable terrain for every level of skier, daily hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies, a collection of Colorado’s most exquisite restaurants, spas, shopping, and an on-site performing arts venue—to name just a few—and you’ll find yourself ensconced in a paradise snow globe. Specializing in uncommon comforts both small and large, here are more details as to why Beaver Creek is an unbeatable ski destination.
Superb Expert Skiing
There’s a reason why the world’s fastest pros make Beaver Creek their only U.S. stop every season on the World Cup Alpine Ski tour. The dizzying pitch of black and double black runs off of the Birds of Prey chairlift launch downhill racers to speeds of 80 mph and are fair game for whoever is brave enough to venture down. The downhill course itself is delightfully groomed and open for your (slow and cautious) turns following the December races. Neighboring Grouse Mountain is home to some of the longest bump runs on the planet, which you can typically access lap-style (although you’ll quickly realize frequent breathers are necessary) without waiting in a lift line even on the busiest Saturday. Taking it up yet another notch, the glade skiing at Beaver Creek is steep and deep, particularly the gate-accessed Stone Creek Chutes that offer the area’s most adrenaline-charging drop into Rose Bowl.
Expansive Beginner and Intermediate Terrain
If all this talk about drops and steeps is making you nervous, worry not, as Beaver Creek is famous for its expansive web (more than 60 percent of the mountain) of perfectly groomed cruising runs. The most concentrated collection comprises nearly the entire west side of the ski area—reaching from Larkspur to Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead. Another peaceful oasis, particularly for families, can be found on the velvety green trails tucked onto the top of the mountain off of Drink of Water lift.
The Royal Treatment
If you’ve ever fantasized about feeling like the goggle-clad monarch of a small sovereign country, this is the place to bring your dreams to fruition. In addition to escalators taking you from Beaver Creek Village to the chairlifts and chocolate chip cookies handed out by the bakers themselves carrying silver platters of the steaming goodies across the snow every afternoon, exclusive pampering is available in the form of White Glove early morning access to the pristine slopes and on-mountain gourmet breakfast at Allie’s Cabin. There’s also prime parking, ski valet, boot dryers, private lockers, and a coffee and pastry-filled private lounge that comes with being a part of the White Carpet Club.
The award-winning food and drink options at Beaver Creek range from seasonally fresh multi-course meals with featured wine pairings in the cozy, fireside confines of Beano’s Cabin, a casual burger and beer at The Dusty Boot, fresh flown-in sushi at Hooked or a quick, melting hot crepe on your way to the lifts.
Unique Outdoor Activities
Even before you embark on the buzzing base area, the outdoor party for all ages begins on the ice skating rink smack in the middle of Beaver Creek Village, open until 9 p.m. daily. There’s also the Nordic Center, with the forests of McCoy Park to explore by gliding skis or snowshoes as well as scenic and sumptuous snowshoe-led wine tours.
Highlights for Kids
In addition to the numerous teepee and tunnel-filled tree trails on the mountain, Beaver Creek goes out of its way to accommodate pint-sized guests. Free family-oriented favorites include weekly parades, on-mountain hot cocoa, a village carnival of games and prizes, a Thursday night ski parade with fireworks, interactive entertainment shows, and creative activities via the Beaver Creek Children’s Theater Company and Museum.
A-List Live Entertainment
No need to travel for world-class theater, concerts, comedy, and dance performances. The Vilar Performing Arts Center hosts a steady lineup of internationally acclaimed acts throughout the winter. This season’s array of cultural offerings include the national Broadway tour of Once the Musical, LeAnn Rimes’ Christmas show, the Aspen Sante Fe Ballet, comedy with Paula Poundstone and a night of country with Clint Black.
Spas, Shopping, and Galleries
For those who prefer to stay off the slopes or simply need a break, nothing turns you into a happy puddle like a hot stone massage, an aromatic facial, or yoga class. Whether you’re shopping for a one-of-a-kind modern oil painting or photo of the Colorado Rockies, a new parka, handmade bracelet, or adorable baby outfit, you’ll find 60-plus boutique shops, galleries and spas throughout the resort.
A Variety of Lodging
As you might expect, there is no shortage of four-to-five-star hotels located within gliding distance of Beaver Creek’s chairlifts. Each offers a little charm to set it apart from the rest. There’s the gourmet, handmade marshmallow and chocolate s’mores station at the fire pits of the Park Hyatt or the in-room massages at The Pine Lodge. Let’s not forget the dog-friendliness of properties such as The Ritz-Carlton, home to its own resident Saint Bernard, Bachelor, and also to ski nannies for parents who want some time to themselves. Then, of course, we have signature properties like the rustic but luxurious Trapper’s Cabin, a real four-bedroom log cabin on top of the mountain complete with sweeping views, private Jacuzzi tub, and five-course dinners.
Convinced that Beaver Creek possesses more than a handful of what you might call winning qualities? We thought so.
Featured image provided by Dave Herholz