- Overall Rating 5
- Family Friendly 5
- All-Mtn. Terrain 4
- Terrain Park 5
- Nightlife 5
Pros: A wonderous place for skiers who want elegance and privacy
Cons: No back bowls or far away expanded areas
Recommended For: Family Friendly
Date Visited: Mar 1, 2011
Beaver Creek is a resort of elegance with grace without as much pretension and fanfare as Vail. While Vail and Aspen might be the ski resorts for the rich and famous to see and be seen, Beaver Creek is where the rich and famous go to have privacy and enjoy skiing. Of the major ski resorts on the I-70 corridor within an early mornings drive from Denver, Beaver Creek is the furthest away, at mile marker 167.
Therefore while another hour away from Silverthorne/Frisco, this also means that Beaver Creek is also considerably less crowded. Most people that want glitz and galmour will opt for Vail as their final last stop, leaving Beaver Creek to draw the local rich, as well as true bona fide skiers, that just happen to want the best.
While Beaver Creek lacks bowls (except for smaller, intermediate Larkspur bowl) otherwise found at Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin and Vail, it makes up for this in many other ways. I have experienced no less than 22 inches of fresh powder at Beaver Creek that blanketed the entire mountain and did not get tracked out, leaving fresh tracks to be easily found on the mountain throughout the entire day - on a Friday. By contrast, Breckenridge, even on a Wednesday fresh powder dump, was tracked out by 10:30 am.
Beaver Creek (already hidden in the shadows of Vail) is a place of secrets and hidden areas. Two Elks / Royal Elk Glade off Grouse Mountain lift is wonderful glade skiing. While most everyone gets funneled into the entrance point near the Centennial Express lift (very nice shuttle service takes you from the free parking lots directly to the Centennial Express lift), however entire sections of the mountain frequently get overlooked and unexplored, like the Arrowhead area. The only way to get to Arrowhead from the rest of the mountain, is to take the Larkspur Express and then keep your speed up and rocket down Primrose (the first hill will sap all of your momentum, even if you flatline the trail). Primrose trail winds around like a country road, and opens up to what seems like side roads to different ski runs and defined sections.
The Arrowhead area is truely unique by opening up an entirely different ski experience: ski touring.
Between the Strawberry Express lift and the Arrow Bahn lift are numerous touring trails, that meander through small tunnels, over ski bridges, around lodges and around town. In this section of Beaver Creek, the ski resort heavily overlaps the town itself, making the experience the snow version of boating in Venice, Italy through waterways that traverse the city. Here snowways interact and traverse through the town's residential area. The gentle experience is endearing and adorable, as well as relaxing that still offers the feelings of wonder and exploration.
Beaver Creek offers small little quaint cabin businesses which sell hot and cold drinks and even a little bit of food in an intimate setting with adarondiac chairs overlooking a peaceful winter forest, for those who do not want to visit the massive lodge and have the cafeteria cattle-prod experience.
Those who love groomed slopes will love Beaver Creek, who is one of the most groomed ski mountains anywhere, even grooming at mid-day while beeping snowcats drive eight-wide across ski slopes. A ride up Centennial Express to cinch Express, all the way to the top and taking Centennial down, offers a flat no-mogul groomed steep black diamond slope which is great for thrill seekers who have the need for speed on a long ski slope. Mogul lovers should visit Grouse Mountain by taking the Grouse Mountain Express lift. Runs off the Strawberry lift, President Ford's run and Stacker offer more private challenging runs away from crowds.
While there are several restaurants at mid mountain, like Spruce Saddle Lodge and Red Tail Camp, Beaver Creek also offers a multitude of "reservations only" fine dining too for those who want elegance, privacy and fine dining to augment the ski experience.