We whipped and danced down wonderful, smooth, impeccable trails at the top of Colorado’s Beaver Creek on March 24, 2011. The mountain has a broad peak and there are some delightfully easy runs on the top with spectacular views of the back bowls at Vail when the weather cooperates. Someone upstairs must have liked us, because we got a break of sunshine on a day which saw light snow in the morning, a few blessed hour or so of sunshine at mid-day, and then strong wind and white out conditions. Some of our best memories on this trip will be Red Buffalo, Cinch, and Powell. Everything we tried was close to perfection, with a bit of occasional hard pack. It is amazing how much I have improved in four days of skiing (this season) at Vail and nearby Beaver Creek. But I still lose all style and confidence when I encounter ice.
The weather was amazing and dramatic. Thank goodness we were advised to download at the end of our day - skiing down in poor visibility on a crusty surface was a challenge we declined; and we were anxious to get to the delicious afternoon chocolate chip cookies. They are hot, fresh baked, and given out on the patio at 3 each day.
While downloading in significant wind we noticed many people on the chairs riding up without their safety bars down, including some with small children. Resort owners try to encourage all people to use safety bars, and wear helmets, but some still ignore easy safety measures. Thankfully, everyone appeared to have survived and enjoyed a terrific day.
Our special thanks this trip to Public Relations Director Jen Brown and her new Communications Coordinator, Sara Lococo. Sara helps with media and public relations at Vail and Beaver Creek. She is a top snowboarder who escorted us through the trails. She and Jen were right to remind us, the best skiing was at the top of the mountain. We did ski down the lower part of the mountain the first run - it was not bad, but a bit hard packed. That changed later with the new snow.
So far, Beaver Creek has received over 313 inches of snow this season. It expects to stay open through April 17. It is a big mountain, with 149 named trails. There are plenty of challenges, and its top peak is 11,440 feet. Vail tops the height slightly at 11,570 feet. Vail has more acres and has the bowls. But both resorts are beyond description - I run out of superlatives. They earn their mottos: Beaver Creek’s slogan is “Not exactly roughing it.” Vail says it’s “like nothing on earth.” A tip of the helmet to both great resorts!
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.
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