Photo: Vail Resorts
Skiers and snowboarders descend from all over the world to explore the snow-capped Colorado Rockies in the wintertime, flocking to Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone mountains. A bit further down the I-70 corridor, Beaver Creek is a lesser traveled gem, offering lighter lift lines and a sophisticated, luxurious skiing experience. The resort features terrain to satisfy all levels of skiers, from World Cup downhill racers to beginners, as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding Gore Range mountains.
With the help of Mountain Travel Expert, Christine Connolly, we compiled a 5-day sample itinerary that showcases key Beaver Creek experiences for first-timers.
Specializing in mountain travel since 2001
Day 1: Arrive & Explore Beaver Creek Village
Beaver Creek lies just outside of Avon, Colorado. Nearby airports include Denver International Airport and Eagle County Airport. Shuttles, such as the Colorado Mountain Express, are an easy and convenient way to access the resort to and from the airport. Once at the mountain, free shuttles make it easy to navigate the base areas.
“Beautiful lodging options, a great ski school and less crowded slopes all make for a perfect family or couple ski destination!” says Christine.
Once settled into your accommodations, take a stroll through Beaver Creek’s Bavarian-style village and enjoy window-shopping at the many small shops and art galleries, all linked by heated walkways and escalators (amenities we are very thankful for when in our ski boots). Fuel up for the week of skiing at one of the area’s 70-plus bars and restaurants, which include multiple five-star options. Italian lovers will enjoy Toscanini, conveniently located in the heart of the village and offering a mouthwatering contemporary menu as well as an impressive and award-winning Italian wine list.
“I recommend Park Hyatt because it has the best location at the base of the slopes, in the heart of the village, and has great services like the ski valet!” suggests Christine.
Day 2: Brush off The Cobwebs & Take a Tour of the Mountain
For your first day on the hill, familiarize yourself with the mountain and enjoy a complimentary guided tour of Beaver Creek. Offered every day at 10 a.m. at the top of the Centennial Express lift, tours are two hours long and are available to intermediate and advanced skiers and riders.
For those ladies who feel like meeting up with some other vacationing women while learning the lay of the land, Beaver Creek offers free Women’s Social Ski Tours. Intermediate female skiers can join the two-hour tours, led by a team of female Ski School Ambassadors, to acquaint themselves with the mountain and meet some fellow skiers. The tour finishes with a Starbucks beverage of your choice. These tours meet at the base of the Centennial Lift at 10:15 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
Spend the afternoon exploring the frontside of the mountain, home to a plethora of green runs to brush up on skiing and boarding skills. The mid-mountain Cinch Express Lift offers access to a handful of runs to keep you busy all day long. Enjoy Lunch at the Spruce Saddle Lodge, which claims an impressive altitude of 10,200 feet! Thrill seekers should check out the Stone Creek Chutes area for powder, cliffs and moguls, located just on the resort area boundary.
“This is a resort where you don’t really need a trail map and it’s hard to get lost,” says Christine.
At the end of the day, reward yourself with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie distributed daily at the base of the Centennial Lift at 3:00p.m. You’ve earned it.
Day 3: Explore Bachelor Mountain & Sleigh Ride Dinner
If you’re staying at Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch Mountain and Arrowhead Mountain are easily accessed by a free shuttle or via the mountain lifts, such as Strawberry Park Express Lift. This area is often less crowded and offers a variety of rolling intermediate and beginner terrain. Enjoy lunch on the sunny deck of the Broken Arrow, located at the bottom of the Arrow Bahn Express Lift in the Arrowhead Village. Specializing in American cuisine, the restaurant claims to be home of “Beaver Creek’s Best Bloody Mary.” We’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Enjoy a romantic evening and take an open-air sleigh to mountain top dining at Beano’s Cabin. Upon arrival, enjoy a five-course meal, featuring local and seasonal ingredients and Colorado meats. There’s live guitar, a warm fireplace, and floor to ceiling windows offering glimpses of the White River National Forest surrounding you.
An alternative afternoon or evening activity is a snowmobile tour with Nova Guides, I have sent many guests on their tours and they have all had such a great time,” recommends Christine.
Day 4: Nordic Ski & Enjoy The Arts
Photo: Jack Affleck/Vail Resorts
Take a day off the steeps and explore the surrounding 32 kilometers of groomed and rustic Nordic and snowshoe terrain at McCoy Park. The Beaver Creek Nordic Center (located next to the Strawberry Park Express Lift) offers a complete rental shop with top of the line Nordic, Telemark and snowshoe gear. Daily private and group lessons as well as tours are also available for those looking to learn or brush up on their skills. Want to try it all? The Nordic Sampler package allows you to mix and match Nordic activities such as a Snowshoe tours, Cross Country lessons or Telemark tours.
If you’re not too exhausted from the morning’s activities, we recommend enjoying a cozy fireside hot cocoa and either partaking in or watching the ice-skating at the beautiful outdoor Beaver Creek Village rink.
In the evening, take a break from usual ski-town activities and enjoy a little culture a the Vilar Performing Arts Center. A 535-seat theater located in the Beaver Creek Village, the Vilar offers year-round performances including: Broadway musicals, concerts, family entertainment, comedy, dance performances and more. Whether looking for a sophisticated classical concert or something the kids will enjoy, the Vilar Performing Arts Center has something for everyone.
“For dinner, it’s Splendido. Try the yummy salmon, and enjoy great atmosphere and service,” says Christine.
Day 5: Treat Yourself to White Glove First Tracks & Explore World Cup Terrain
For your final day in Beaver Creek, treat yourself to a special morning and sign up for White Glove First Tracks. A pre-dawn lift ride followed by a five-star gourmet breakfast in an on-mountain cabin gets you out to the goods before the crowds. Enjoy a beautiful sunrise before you carve up fresh corduroy or enjoy truly untracked powder.
Now that your legs are warmed up, take Day 5 to try your skills on the Birds of Prey Downhill course, located just of the top of the Cinch Lift. This run was the site of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and a regular stop on the World Cup tour. The steep relentless pitch will challenge even advanced skiers and riders.
For your final evening, enjoy true Colorado-style dining at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grille located in the Beaver Creek Village. Featuring natural and organic ingredients from the Rocky Mountains, the restaurant offers sustainable cuisine such as local elk and all-natural fish. Sample some of Colorado’s finest craft beers to quench your thirst, or opt for a signature cocktail.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.