A panoramic shot of Beaver Creek (photo credit: Vail Resorts)
Unique to only a handful of North American resorts, Beaver Creek has beginner terrain positioned at its summit with easy lift access from the Cinch Express #8 or the Drink of Water #5. Also of note, from the Cinch Express and summit, advanced skiers access the “Birds of Prey” World Cup Downhill course—the only regular men’s World Cup event in the United States. Mogul enthusiasts will want to ski the Grouse Mountain terrain which is accessed via the Grouse Mountain Express #10.
Beaver Creek’s trails and ski lifts also allow skiers of all levels the ability to easily maneuver among the three village areas: Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead. The Beaver Creek section encompasses the majority of the resort’s terrain. The Bachelor Gulch area offers good intermediate skiing and convenient ski-in, ski-out access for guests staying in Bachelor Gulch village. Arrowhead is a bit farther flung and the terrain is generally uninspiring, but deserted.
Steep slopes and endless trees are the key to skiing here, and a northerly orientation means the snow tends to be light and dry. Here’s another fact that might surprise you. Rumor has it that Beaver Creek intentionally under-reports its snowfall to keep crowds away, which may be a plus since the hoards tend to stay at Vail. Additionally, Beaver Creek’s strong commitment to grooming means you can cruise fresh corduroy on a majority of the mountain’s terrain daily.
For skiers and non-skiers alike, Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park is a unique opportunity to snowshoe or cross-country ski with scenic views and at high altitude. The terrain services all ability types and all necessary equipment is available for rental at the Nordic Sports Center.
Recently, Beaver Creek has taken a lead among many ski resorts to emphasize safety and in-control skiing. Beaver Creek’s Ski Patrol routinely patrol the high-traffic trails and merging ski areas with radars to deter dangerous, reckless or out of control skiing. As a result of this emphasis on safety, Beaver Creek was the recipient of the 2010 National Ski Area Association’s Best Overall Safety Award.
The Centennial Lift rises from the village (photo credit: Vail Resorts)
There are 17 chairlifts, 10 of which are high-speed quad chairlifts, offering access to 1,815 acres (734 ha) of skiing and snowboarding terrain in Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead. Pretty much every ski lift that services terrain of any note is a high speed lift. The notable exception was the recently-replaced Rose Bowl lift (formerly a fixed grip triple, but now a high speed quad); with nothing but mogul runs or the famed “Stone Creek Chutes” down to this lift, we almost miss the long, slow, footrest-aided ascent.
The Centennial Lift is the main chair from the center of the village. If it should get busy, ride the adjacent Strawberry Park Express Lift to access the main mountain, but be forewarned - you’ll miss out on the complimentary early morning hot chocolate or cider being served atop the Centennial Lift early each morning. If your skiing follows your stomach, be sure to wind up your day in the village again where every afternoon at around 3pm the resort doles out delicious, freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies at the base of the Centennial Lift.
As if hot chocolate, cookies and express chairlifts was not enough, Beaver Creek outdid itself once again by installing a gondola on the children’s ski school slope. You won’t have to worry about your kids getting cold as they’re whisked uphill in the brand new Buckaroo Gondola. It’s become an instant favorite amongst kids and truly sets Beaver Creek’s learn to ski program apart from the competition.
Miles of green trails await beginner skiers at Beaver Creek (photo credit: Vail Resorts)
Few ski resorts can match the beginner experience provided by Beaver Creek. For first timers, the experience begins in the Beginner’s Center, a living room environment at the base of the beginner area, in which students preview their ski or snowboard experience, watch video presentations on aspects such as loading and unloading a chairlift, and ask questions before they move onto the snow.
Recently, Beaver Creek installed the Buckaroo gondola to service The Ranch, a ski school learning area near the main village. The Buckaroo Gondola allows beginners to easily learn the basics of skiing and get comfortable before learning how to ride a chairlift. When they’re ready to progress to a chairlift, the adjacent Highlands Lift #2 accesses the same beginner terrain.
When ready to explore the mountain, beginners can ride the Centennial Express #6 chairlift from Beaver Creek Village then make a short traverse to the Cinch Express #8 chairlift, visible straight ahead at the top of the Centennial Express. From the summit, beginners now have access to wonderfully groomed terrain and extraordinary views from 11,400 feet (3,488 m).
Take a left off the Cinch Express, and try Red Buffalo, a wide, groomed and winding green to the Drink of Water #5 chairlift. Piney and Booth Gardens are two other beginner trails accessible from the Drink of Water lift. When you’re ready to move elsewhere, follow the signs for Cinch (or also try Dally), another long, groomed green that leads you back to Beaver Creek Village. For those in the Bachelor Gulch village area, use the Bachelor Gulch Express #16 and the Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express #18 chairlifts to access more beginner trails in Primrose, Stirrup, and Sawbuck.
A view over towards Larkspur Bowl (photo credit: Vail Resorts)
If carving turns on long groomers interests you, be sure to check out the “Groomer of the Day” usually listed at the base of the Centennial Express #6 chairlift. Some of the regulars’ favorites include Redtail and Centennial (access both from the top of the Centennial Express lift) and the Larkspur bowl (accessible via the Larkspur Express #11 chairlift). The Bachelor Gulch area offers additional cruisers (Grubstake and Gunder’s) which rarely see significant skier traffic.
The Larkspur area also offers intermediates three short, but wide and reasonably pitched trails to work on their mogul techniques (Lupine, Shooting Star, and Loco). Head to the left at the top of the Larkspur Express Lift and make the short traverse to those three which feed back into the Larkspur bowl. Also in the same area, take the Grouse Mountain Express #10 chairlift, and try Raven Ridge and Screech Owl, two more challenging mogul runs, but easily navigable by an intermediate skier comfortable in moguls.
If some easy tree skiing piques your interest, try Thresher Glade, especially after a fresh coating of snow off the Strawberry Park Express #12 chairlift. From the top of the Centennial Express #6, the trees to the right via West Fall Road to Stickline hold good snow and are generously-spaced with a good, consistent pitch.
The Stone Creek Chutes are the most challenging black diamonds at Beaver Creek (photo credit: Vail Resorts)
No trip to Beaver Creek is complete without a top-to-bottom run on the Birds of Prey Downhill Course. To access the start, ride the Cinch Express #8 chairlift then head to the right—you won’t miss the entrance. The Golden Eagle trail encompasses the Downhill course all the way to the Red Tail Camp area. The trail is steep, has turns and sections that run against the fall line, and is home to the alpine World Cup circuit every winter. In 2015, Beaver Creek will host the World Championships.
For those who like ungroomed terrain, the Grouse Mountain Express #10 chairlift would be a perfect backyard. Any of the trails off the Grouse Mountain will provide over 1,800 vertical feet of imposing mogul trails. Bald Eagle, Falcon Park, and Osprey are three of the locals’ favorites and hold snow extremely well. When finished in the Grouse Mountain area, ride the Birds of Prey Express chairlift then ski down under the liftline on Peregrine, another wide, steep, and long bump run.
After big storms, the trees and glades hold snow for days, and fresh tracks can still be found many days after the last snowfall. Start your powder day skiing at Grouse Mountain. Take the Grouse Mountain Express chairlift and veer to the right off the lift to Royal Elk Glade. An insider’s tip: go beyond the initial openings further down the catwalk. The headwall is steeper and less skied—wherever you jump in, it the route down leads back towards the Grouse Mountain lift.
Beaver Creek’s one drawback is the lack of off-piste skiing for experts. The best place for cliffs, chutes and difficult terrain are the Stone Creek Chutes (pictured above), which are short but fun. From the Red Tail Camp and Grouse Mountain area, take the Birds of Prey Express #9 chairlift, ski the top part of Centennial then ride the Cinch Express #8 chairlift. At the top, head left and stay on Red Buffalo, which is a heavily patrolled Slow Skiing Area and Kids Adventure Zone, so ski slowly and in control. Stay on the right side of the trail and keep a lookout for the Upper Stone Creek trail sign. If the upper chutes are closed, keep skiing down Red Buffalo to the entrance for the Lower Stone Creek chutes. Both trails release skiers onto Ripsaw which leads to the Rose Bowl #4 chairlift. Locals know that the upper chutes are only accessible from Red Buffalo from the summit, so the upper chutes see much less traffic than the Lower Stone Creek chutes.
Out-of-bounds terrain can be accessed by hiking or skiing past the boundary ropes. Be warned though, if you ski outside of boundary ropes you are on your own; no ski patrol or rescue service is provided. Advanced and expert skiers are encouraged to go with a guide to find some of the mountain’s best powder stashes and discover where the locals ski and ride.
photo credit: Vail Resorts
Although most of Beaver Creek guests are conventional skiers, there are a number of terrain parks for boarders and freestyle skiers and from beginner to expert level. Park 101 is a beginner-level terrain park located at the top of the Cinch Express #8 chairlift. There are small jumps, boxes, and rails. For interested park-and-pipe newbies, Beaver Creek Ski School offers a program call Parkology which is a gradual progressive program to help beginners learn about park terrain and technique.
Zoom Room is a second intermediate level terrain park also located off the top of the Cinch Express #8 lif. Dubbed a “medium-sized park” with 20-30 feet jumps, Zoom Room also has regular park features. The Rodeo terrain park for expert riders and freestylers is accessible from the Centennial Express #6 chairlift and contains large features and 40-60 ft jumps. Also accessible from the Centennial Express (head left at the top of the lift) off the Barrel Stave trail is a 350 foot long, 18 foot high half pipe for expert freestyler skier and riders.
Beano's Cabin (photo credit: Vail Resorts)
Beaver Creek has numerous on mountain restaurants but availability and options of some vary depending on the time of day and time of the season, so it’s worth asking a member of the Beaver Creek Hospitality staff for advice when planning where to eat on the mountain.
The Spruce Saddle Lodge and Red Tail Camp are both open daily for the general public and offer an impressive array of reasonably priced All-American cuisine, delicatessen, cafe and bakery options. The Spruce Saddle Lodge is located at the top of the Centennial Express #6 chairlift and offers more casual dining options than the Red Tail Camp. The Red Tail Camp has a delicious outdoor barbeque pit that with an irresistible smoky smell that will draw you in from a mile away. With plenty of indoor or outdoor seating options as well as an upstairs deck and bar area it’s a great place to enjoy a beer on a sunny afternoon. The Red Tail Camp’s central location, at the base of the Birds of Prey Express #9, the Grouse Mountain Express #10 and the Larkspur Express #11 chairlifts, makes it a great location to meet up, eat up, and warm up while you watch your kids tackle the steeps of Grouse Mountain from the safety of the deck.
For a unique experience try Mamie’s Mountain Grill, located at the top of Bachelor Gulch Express #16 chairlift and also open daily to the public. Mamie’s offers guests a do-it-yourself grilling experience including specialty reserve steaks (which must be pre-ordered the day before), European-style hotdogs, and burgers. Locals love stopping for a quick mulled cider or a local microbrew beer on the deck area. Beaver Creek recently completed an expansion of the outdoor deck area adding tables and seats and also yurt providing some covered seating.
The Broken Arrow, in Arrowhead Village at the base of the Arrow Bahn Express #17 chairlift, serves traditional American fare including pizzas, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
The other various ‘cabins’ strewn throughout the mountain are actually private clubs. As such, they are generally closed to the public during the day, but offer exquisite and memorable evening dining options for everyone to enjoy. All require reservations, and for some of these locations, reservations must be made months in advance.
Beano’s Cabin is reachable for dinner by horseback, a tractor-pulled wagon or a van and offers incredible cuisine with an extensive wine list and renowned service. Located just off the Larkspur Bowl area, the meals are usually offered as a fixed price five-course meal and group dining options are also available. Meat lovers will enjoy Beano’s rack of lamb, elk chop or beef tenderloin while seafood enthusiasts can choose among fresh trout, scallops and more. In short, Beano’s is an unforgettable dining experience.
Saddle Ridge is located at the far end of the Beaver Creek Village area (near to the Highlands #2 chairlift) but easily reached by complimentary village shuttle bus. With huge ceilings and western decor, its elegance and emphasis on the area’s cuisine and heritage is extraordinary. Saddle Ridge’s wine list was recently awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Serving buffalo prime rib, venison chops, and Angus tenderloin, Saddle Ridge’s all-wood dining room with mounted game and chandeliers made from train wheels is a sight to see and taste.
Another option for mountainside dining, Zach’s Cabin, is located above Bachelor Gulch and offers other specialty dishes from Executive Chef Tim McCaw including seared muscovy duck, salmon, elk and lamb.
Allie’s Cabin is available for private parties and for groups of up to 100 people for events, activities and functions.
photo credit: Vail Resorts
Getting to and from each of Beaver Creek’s three unique on-mountain villages is easy via the ski lifts and trails or the complimentary shuttle bus. One of the nicest features of Beaver Creek is the “Dial-A-Ride” service. No matter where you stay, complimentary direct shuttle service is only a phone call away, meaning you’ll need neither a car nor a designated driver.
The main village area, the Beaver Creek Village, provides the most lodging, dining and shopping options. All accommodations are ski-in, ski-out or just a short walk to the slopes. Connecting trails and skier paths provide quick access. Be forewarned that some properties are ski-out via traverses which can be quite flat, but even the flattest traverse is just a few minutes walk to something steeper.
The Beaver Creek Village also contains the Nordic Center, ski and snowboard rental, ski storage and customer service facilities. There’s also an outdoor ice rink, an arts center and day care facilities. The two main ski lifts servicing the Beaver Creek village are the Centennial Express #6 and the Strawberry Park Express #12 chairlifts. If you are in the Village Plaza, be sure to look out for Helmut Fricker, Beaver Creek’s ‘mascot’ who makes occasional appearances, complete with alpenhorn and lederhosen!
Bachelor Gulch is Beaver Creek’s second village. Anchored around the ultra-luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel, the Bachelor Gulch village boasts multi-million dollar vacation rental homes. The Bachelor Gulch Express #16 chairlift provides convenient ski-in, ski-out access to lodging properties. Full equipment rental and customer service is provided in the Beaver Creek Sports store located in the Ritz-Carlton.
The final village area, Arrowhead Village, contains private homes and ski condominium rental properties. The ski terrain is accessible from the Arrowbahn Express #17 chairlift and there is a retail store and ticketing available at the Arrowhead Base area. The Broken Arrow Restaurant, with its outdoor patio and bar, is a wonderful location to meet for lunch and quieter than the other village areas.
Though not technically a village, the Riverfront in Avon has become a popular choice among visitors due to a new express gondola that connects it to the resort. Many new luxury hotels await visitors along the riverfront. Most hotels offer evening shuttles to the village, but "Dial-A-Ride" service is not available to the Riverfront lodging properties.
photo credit: Vail Resorts
Coyote Cafe hails itself as Beaver Creek’s first bar, is a local favorite and the most popular place for apres ski drinks and also offers a choice of Mexican dishes and salads. The 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill, located in the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, is also popular and offers guests the opportunity to sample local microbrews, local wines, and spirits in a relaxed, yet lively setting.
Beaver Creek Village offers 21 dining options, ranging from pastry at Dough, crepes at Beaver Crepes to contemporary Italian Cuisine at Toscanini, Japanese sushi at the Foxnut Slopeside Sushi, sandwiches at Flying Pig and hand-tossed pizza at the Blue Moose Pizza restaurant. For finer dining options, try the Beaver Creek Chophouse or the Grouse Mountain Grill. Both feature extraordinary and renowned wine lists as well as locally-inspired cuisine. Reservations are recommended for both.
Buffalo Bar at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, provides casual lunch and evening dining and Spago is an elegant exhibition dining experience by celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck. Some mountain restaurants also offer fine dining experiences on-the-mountain in the evenings and the sleigh-ride from the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch to dine at Beano’s Cabin or Zach’s Cabin is highly recommended for an unforgettable evening.
Beano’s Cabin offers 5-star fine dining on-mountain among the aspens at the base of Larkspur Bowl on Beaver Creek Mountain with spectacular views of Grouse Mountain. Reservations are essential.
Tel: +1 970 949 9090
Beaver Creek Chophouse in the Beaver Creek Lodge serves Colorado beef, steaks and fresh Maine lobsters complemented by a comprehensive selection of wine.
Tel: +1 970 845 0555
8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill is the Park Hyatt Hotel's family restaurant serving three meals daily with an outdoor terrace for dining with a spectacular views, weather permitting
Tel: +1 970 949 1234 ext 51
Blue Moose Pizzeria is located on the main village plaza across from the ice rink and is a local’s favorite serving great food at great prices including New York style pizza. Tel: +1 970 845 8666
Coyote Cafe next to Beaver Creek's main ticket office serves Mexican food, burgers, sandwiches and salads. The first bar in Beaver Creek Resort, the Coyote is still a local’s favorite place to eat and drink.
Tel: +1 970 949 5001
D'Oro in the Charter Hotel and offers some of the best Italian food in Beaver Creek. Popular with locals, D’Oro is owned by the award-winning Ti Amo restaurant in Eagle Vail.
Tel: +1 970 949 7197
Dusty Boot Steakhouse & Saloon in St. James Place offers family-friendly dining including top-notch burgers, seafood and Mexican food cooking, and Mondo Margaritas and appetizers for apres ski.
Tel: +1 970 748 1146
Foxnut Asian Fusion & Sushi in Beaver Creek Village is open daily from 11am for lunch and dinner offers an eclectic mix of small and large Asian dishes as well as Sushi.
Tel: +1 970 845 0700
Park Hyatt's Cafe in the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa is recommended for breakfast or a quick snack at lunch time and for espresso or cappuccino and donuts, pastries, salads, sandwiches,
Tel: +1 970 949 1234
Golden Eagle Inn in Beaver Creek Village is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11:30am – 10:00pm for creative American cuisine and a casual dining experience in an elegant setting.
Tel: +1 970 949 1940
Grouse Mountain Grill in the Pine Lodges hotel is a stylish American grill for fine meat and fresh fish dishes, an award winning wine list, cozy fireplace and panoramic views. Reservations are recommended.
Tel: +1 970 949 0600
La Cantina at the Beaver Creek Lodge is a convenient walk-in eatery for affordable grab-and-go burritos, wraps, snacks, and drinks.
Tel: +1 970 845 6371
McCoy's Cafe in Village Hall at the base of the Centennial Chairlift is popular for breakfast, ski-in lunches and lively for apres ski
Tel: +1 970 949 1234
Mirabelle Restaurant is a restored farm house near Beaver Creek serving classic French cuisine prepared by chef (and owner) Daniel Joly. Reservations are recommended.
Tel: +1 970 949 7728
The Osprey Lounge at The Osprey offers a selection of colorful and tasty tapas dishes and carefully chosen wines in an atmosphere that defines "mountain chic".
Tel: +1 970 754 7392
Red Tail Camp on Beaver Creek Mountain near the base of chairlifts 9, 10 and 11 has sunny decks offering grill specialties and a full bar service in winter only from 11:00am- 3:00pm.
Tel: +1 970 754 5530
The Rendezvous Club at the Beaver Creek Golf Club feels like a private club but is open to the public daily from 11:00am – 8:00pm for lunch or early evening drinks and appetizers.
Tel: +1 970 754 5760
Rimini is one of the newest additions to Beaver Creek’s food and dining scene and is the place to go for gelato, hot chocolates and pastries.
Tel: +1 970 949 6156
Rocks Modern Grill in Beaver Creek Lodge is an upscale, but casual family-friendly restaurant offering American food with other cultural influences.
Tel: +1 970 845 1730
SaddleRidge at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain east is a secluded premier restaurant with a western ambiance serving excellent steak, seafood and wild game dishes. Reservations are essential.
Tel: +1 970 845 5450
Spago at the exclusive Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch is a modern upscale restaurant serving innovative California cuisine and Colorado specialties. Reservations are recommended.
Tel: +1 970 343 1555
Splendido at the beautiful Chateau is recommended for fine Rocky Mountain dining with French Provencal and Italian influences, open evenings only from 6:00-10:00pm. Reservations are essential.
Tel: +1 970 845 8808
Starbucks in Beaver Creek Village is located one escalator below the Centennial Lift and a convenient place to grab a coffee and fresh baked pastries and cookies before riding the lift.
Tel: +1 970 845 6245
Toscanini is open evenings only for fine casual Italian dining, complemented by views of the plaza and Beaver Creek’s popular ice skating rink, and with an extensive kids menu.
Tel: +1 970 845 5590
Zach's Cabin, a luxurious log cabin in Bachelor Gulch, is open to the public for dinner on Wednesdays and Sundays and offers delicious pacific-rim cuisine. Ski in or ride a snowcat to get to this intimate cabin.
Tel: +1 970 845 6575
A snowshoe excursion leaves the village (photo credit: Vail Resorts)
McCoy Park’s provides even more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and to be on the mountain, especially for snowsports enthusiasts seeking an alternative to alpine skiing. Secluded and scenic, McCoy Park is a vast plateau at 9,840 feet (2,999 m) elevation offering 20 miles (32 km) of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and snowshoe terrain. The Nordic Sports Center is located at the base of the Strawberry Park Express #12 chairlift and provides all the necessary equipment. The trails are start from the top of the Strawberry Park Express Lift. Introductory and private lessons are offered daily, as well as nature tours. Moonlight Tours are also offered by reservation only and from 6:30-8:30 pm and complimentary family snowshoe tours are also available. For more details contact the Nordic Sports Center, Tel: +1 (970) 754-5313.
You Tube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwESB5g89bw
Another fun activity for the entire family is snowtubing on the Hay Maker Tubing located by the Buckaroo Express Gondola at the base area in Beaver Creek Village. The tubing hill is open from mid-December until early April and from early afternoon until approximately 7 pm. The thrilling four-lane ride drops 400 feet and is fun for adults and children more than 36 inches (1 m) tall. For more details contact Hay Maker Tubing Hill, Tel: +1 (970) 754-5368
Each year, Beaver Creek also runs an event “Beaver Creek Loves Kids” in which Beaver Creek offers events, programs, and specials for families with children. Including ice skating lessons, kids apres-ski zone, kids movie nights and more. The Beaver Creeks Loves Kids events takes place between end February and mid-March and is a great opportunity to experience all that Beaver Creek has to offer families.
There are three spas in Beaver Creek: the Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt, the Bachelor Gulch Spa at the Ritz-Carlton and Spa Struck located in the The Charter hotel in Beaver Creek. The Allegria Spa is a perfect retreat for both Mom and her ‘girls’ as girls aged 5-12 can be pampered at Prima Donna with nail polishes, hair braiding, and craft projects. Note that during the ski season, the Bachelor Gulch Spa is restricted to guests of the Ritz-Carlton, and Bachelor Gulch Club members.
There’s good shopping, great shopping and there’s Beaver Creek shopping which is in a league of its own among North American ski resorts. There are over 50 retail stores among the three villages ranging from sportswear, wines, fashion boutiques, jewellery to fine art. Examples include Beaver Creek General Store for all the family, Beaver Creek Sports which offers a great selection of ski gear including demo equipment from beginner to expert, Gorsuch for stylish skiing and mountain apparel and the amazing Pismo Gallery for “do not touch” contemporary glass art with stunning pieces by Chihuly, Kuhn, Tagliapietra, Powell and Perkins, and price tags up to around $250,000.