Beaver Creek has only 1,832 acres, but the grooming and run development should be considered works art. With 3,340 vertical feet, there are 11 high-speed quads and two gondolas, as well as assorted triple and double chairs and ten tows. Snowfall is less that some of the surrounding resorts, with only 325 inches annually, but the mountain has excellent snowmaking equipment to keep the runs topped off in both the early and late season. The majority of the runs are in the easy-to-intermediate range; 17 percent are rated as most difficult. The season is five months long–late November through the last week of April. And while the starting price of around $164 for a day pass isn’t cheap, if you buy three or more day passes, you also get access to Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone, and a free shuttle between these Front Range resorts makes sampling each mountain almost too easy.
Beaver Creek has a dedicated beginner learning center at the base of the mountain, plus there are gentle green trails located at the top of the mountain where beginners can develop their skills and interact with all ability levels, gaining a full mountain experience. Tykes can refuel at the mid-mountain restaurant, and if they aren’t quite ready to ski to the base, they can hop the high-speed quad chairlift to the village where there are plenty of kid-friendly activities hosted on a daily basis.
A fun opportunity for girls is the Ski Girls Rock lessons, limited to four students per group. The brainchild of Olympic gold medalists and World Alpine ski champion Lindsey Vonn, the day-long course is designed for girls ages seven to 14 and led by top female instructors who worked with Vonn on the curriculum. The class focuses on skill development, as well as empowering girls through sport and confidence-building. Mothers can drop of their kids and then jump into the Women’s Social Tour Beaver Creek, which includes a complimentary guided swing throughout the resort for intermediate and expert female skiers. The program is led by a dynamic female Ski School Ambassadors who will share tips, offer insider knowledge of the mountain and treat the group to hot chocolate at the end of the tour. The Women’s Tour meets at the base of the Centennial Lift (#6) at 10 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays mid-December to late-March.
Beaver Creek caters to families with a variety of programs on and off the snow. Kids Adventure Zones are scattered throughout the resort, and every afternoon at three Beaver Creek chefs hand out fresh-baked cookies–as many as 5000,000 each year. Weekly family activities include sleigh rides to a family dinner at Allie's Cabin, the legendary Candy Cabin, the Family Funfest Carnival (every Saturday from December 16 to April 4) and Thursday Night Lights, when guests get to ski down the slopes with fireworks. And the new Red Buffalo Park, which sits at the top of Beaver Creek Mountain, was designed to help the whole family explore their love of snow across 200-acres of beginner- and intermediate-level riding and skiing, as well as snow sculptures, the Cookie Cabin and a dedicated lift.
While many of the resort’s programs are targeted to kids and families, Beaver Creek also keeps the teens in mind. The Loves Teens Too program, which typically takes place over the course of a few days around Christmas, features programs to entertain kids ages 13 to 17 when the ski day is done. During select dates, teens can enjoy chaperoned activities including a twilight snowshoe and pizza party, night at Adventure Ridge in Vail and learn trampoline ski tricks.
One of the don’t miss events is the Family New Year’s Eve Carnival–it begins with a public glow stick ski down the slopes above the lodge, fireworks over the village. At 7 p.m. the DJ starts spinning, followed by live music an East Coast countdown, and a ball drop at midnight with complimentary champagne.
For adults looking for a touch of the luxe, consider signing up for Beaver Creek's Signature Experience, which showcases the resort's higher-end quality and services, including an upgrade to the White Carpet Club, an exclusive retreat steps away from the Centennial Express Lift, with lockers, refreshments, private restrooms and an on-site concierge service. Or just get after it by signing up for the First Tracks program, which lets you board the Centennial Experss lift at 7:30 for a private tour of the mountain before it opens to the masses, followed by a gourmet breakfast at Allie's Cabin.
STAY: The Osprey at Beaver Creek, A RockResort is the closest hotel to a chairlift in North America, a mere 26 feet. In addition to convenience, the intimate feel, ski valet and friendly staff make it a favorite. And don’t miss the tapas in the Osprey Lounge.
DINE: Nestled at 9,000 feet on the flanks of Larkspur Bowl, Beano’s Cabin was one of the first mountainside fine dining restaurants to open in the western United States. The menu is committed to sustainability, while also delivering upon the restaurant’s award-winning reputation and service, an attention to detail that has resulted in numerous DiRoNA awards and Wine Spectator’s Awards of Excellence.