Beaver Creek, Colorado
Celebrating its 30th season, Beaver Creek first opened in 1980. The mountain’s 6 ski lifts managed to get eager Beaver skiers to the summit in just under an hour. In 1989, the mountain hosted a World Cup downhill race, putting Beaver Creek on the international trail map. The venue is the only men’s World Cup site in the US, hosting the Audi Birds of Prey, a premier ski event featuring all 4 race disciplines: downhill, slalom, super G and super combined. The event is free and open to the public.
Advanced skiers visiting Beaver Creek’s 3 mountains (Beaver Creek, 11,440 ft.; Grouse Mountain, 10,688 ft.; and Arrowhead Mountain, 9,100 ft.) can test their nerves and their knees on the double black Golden Eagle, a trail that shares terrain with the Birds of Prey WC downhill course.
In May 2010, the International Ski Federation selected Vail and Beaver Creek resorts to host the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships. Next to the Winter Olympics, this is the sport’s pinnacle event. In preparation, Beaver Creek is planning major upgrades to the Birds of Prey venue, including a new women’s speed course.
The mountain is a powdery paradise for snowboarders too; they can show off their alley oops, grinds and ollies in any of Beaver Creek’s 5 parks: Park 101, Lumber Yard, Zoom Room, Moonshine and Halfpipe.
Keeping in line with the resort’s motto -- “Not exactly roughing it” -- the ski village is known for being on the quiet side. However, Coyote Café, Beaver Creek’s first bar/restaurant is a local favorite for Mexican food, burgers, and drinks for après ski. At 9:30, DJs and dancers fill the restaurant, making Coyote Café the place to be after hours.
Staying in the village, whether in a high-end hotel or a cozy condo, can be expensive. A slightly more affordable choice is to lodge in Avon, where the new Riverfront express gondola transports skiers and boarders to Arrowhead Mountains’ Lower Beaver Creek lift.
Take a day to rest your knees while exercising your wallet. Stylish skiers will appreciate the array of stores featuring cutting-edge equipment and fashions, including Beaver Creek Sports, Patagonia, The North Face, Base Mountain Sports, Christy Sports and Charter Sports. Browse the many shops, restaurants and galleries in Beaver Creek Village, the heart of the resort, where patrons can escape the cold amid heated walkways and escalators.
If you aren’t a skier, if you don’t have any more vacation days after celebrating the winter holidays, if you prefer the great outdoors when you can wear shorts—visit Beaver Creek in the summer. Enjoy Blues, Brews and BBQ in May; the annual Beaver Creek Rodeo in July and August; a summer-long Culinary Demonstration Series; the Wine and Spirits Festival in August; and the annual Oktoberfest.