Firsthand Report: Beaver Creek 1
Author thumbnail By Robbie Allen, DCSki Columnist

When I die and go to heaven I hope it is like Beaver Creek. On a recent trip out West I took advantage of Vail Resorts’s interchangeable pass policy and decide to do a day at Beaver Creek. I may never leave. Beaver Creek is everything a ski area should be. Excellent terrain, fast lifts, attentive staff and an outstanding village -; this place has it all.

From the second we pulled into the free parking lot the white glove service began. We were waved into a spot and then made the short walk to the free shuttle bus. The ride was a short 5 minutes from the town of Avon/Beaver Creek up into the valley and Beaver Creek proper. When stepping off we were greeted by uniformed staff, provided with a trail map listing what trails had been groomed the night before and directed toward the slopes -; via escalators, no less. Although opened in 1982, the village still appears fresh and new. The overall set up was incredible and very smooth. Enchanting might describe it best.

The entrance to heaven … OK, Beaver Creek. Photo provided by Vail Resorts.

This morning was my turn to ski with my 5 year old. Luckily Beaver Creek has renewed its effort toward families in going so far as installing a gondola to service the beginner area. The short 4-minute ride to the top of the beginner area was the perfect warm up for the little guy. A couple of runs here and my boy was looking for more challenge. Beaver Creek is one of the few places in the area with several green trails off the top closest peak. Kids enjoy being able to tell Mom they skied all the way from the top. My youngest was no different and very proud of his efforts.

The little guy on top. Photo provided by Robbie Allen.

The morning was pristine. Sure there was lots of towing and pushing on some of the flat spots of the long greens. Five year olds don’t get the concept of building up speed in advance of a flat when “Dad I need a push!” works so well. But after a couple of hours of fun it was time for lunch.

What a hard morning at Beaver Creek followed by a $17 hot dog will do to you. Photo provided by Robbie Allen.

Throughout the day conditions were outstanding. The day began with light snow and temps in the 30’s followed by an afternoon of blue sky and bright sun and temps in the high 40’s. The trails that were groomed overnight came in nicely during day. Overall conditions were outstanding, especially for the last week of the season.

A blue bird day at Beaver Creek. Photo provided by Robbie Allen.

Once freed of my morning duties I took full advantage of the outstanding snow. With my seven year old in tow we took the pair of high speed quads to the Beaver Creek summit and the famous “Birds of Prey” downhill course. Unfortunately, the upper part of the course is now a terrain park, so following the course at speed is not possible. Still it is quite impressive. The course is wide but steep. My new 185 Elans ate up the hill with vigor. These skis are probably too big for most of the places I ski, however, they were at home here.

The run drops down the peak to the Red Tail Camp area in the valley below. From there you have the choice of two more high speeds leading you on to more terrain on adjoining peaks or a long green ride back to the village.

One lift takes you to the summit of Grouse Mountain. The 10,688-foot summit seemed high, really high. The views of the nearby mountains were amazing. The terrain even more so! We dropped down Raven Ridge, which although a blue trail, was still quite a challenge.

Once back at Red Tail Camp you can take the Larkspur Express lift to the bowl of the same name. Although not as wide open as the bowls of Vail or Breckenridge, this bowl still offers some excellent wide-open terrain. Beaver Creak manages to groom half the bowl as well.

From up here as well you can access the town side of Beaver Creek via the Bachelor Gulch trail system. It is pretty cool that you can ski back down to within 100 yards of the parking lots down in town. There is even a gondola from here into the town of Avon. This area also is home to McCoy Nordic park for you aerobically inclined types.

The heaven’s trail map. Image provided by Beaver Creek.

Beaver Creek is famous for their late afternoon free cookies. They did not disappoint as white coat bakers appeared late in the day passing them out. Also the staff was handling out free post cards on the way out. They will mail them free as well. We received service with a smile from everyone even this late in the season. We can’t wait to go back for the torch (glow stick) parade down the hill later this week.

Beaver Creek does all the little things right in the Village, while on the mountain the terrain does all the big things right. Ah, heaven…

The fireworks at Beaver Creek. Photo provided by Beaver Creek.
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About Robbie Allen

Robbie Allen is an avid small hill skier. He has written several articles on the many small hills he has sought out.

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Reader Comments

JimK
April 24, 2008
Great reports Robbie. As another family guy I can relate to so much of your experience and enjoyed hearing how you managed things. I've never dared venture with family in-tow for a multiday stay at a pair of ultra pricey places like Vail and BC. Enlisting help from extended family/friends is a great technique for making family ski tripping more feasible. Keep up the good work with your team and you'll be surprised at how quickly you will go from carrying the load to picking up the rear :-)

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