Beaver Creek ski resort
About Beaver Creek
There are not many ski resorts in the western world where arriving guests pass through a guarded entry gate before they gain access, but then very few resorts are as exclusive as Beaver Creek.
One of 10 resorts operated by Vail Resorts, Beaver Creek was created less than 40 years ago with an aim of breaking the mould of luxury skiing holidays.
This ethos extends to all aspects of the resort, from the lavish accommodation and gourmet restaurants, to the escalator ride to the immaculately groomed ski slopes, or the complimentary chocolate chip cookie at the end of another perfect ski day.
This pampering of its guests, summed up by the resort’s honest catchphrase; “not exactly roughing it”, has helped Beaver Creek to develop a world-class ski area that has attracted the Alpine Ski World Championships – the second biggest event after the Olympics – on several occasions. It is also a regular stop on the World Cup circuit, most recently hosting the Alpine Ski World Championships once again in 2015.
Beaver Creek is located in Eagle County, in the western state of Colorado and within the Rocky Mountain range in the USA. The ski resort is about 100 miles (160km) west of the state capital Denver, and the nearest town is Avon.
On the slopes
Beaver Creek has some of the highest ski slopes in the world and is therefore traditionally one of the most snowsure. The resort aims to open for the Thanksgiving holiday long weekend in late November, then generally remaining open until mid-April of the following year. There’s usually plenty of snow left there by then but, as with other ski resorts in the USA, it closes when the number of visitors is no longer great enough to justify staying open.
Beaver Creek’s terrain is evenly divided between beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Unusually, the beginner terrain is largely at the top of the ski area, unlike the normal resort model of nursery slopes by the village. Intermediates will find lots of superbly groomed cruising runs descending from here, with these slopes served by an impressive network of chairlifts, including 10 quads and several gondolas.
The steepest slopes include the double black-graded runs of Grouse Mountain and the World Cup and World Championships Birds of Prey downhill run, down the west side of Beaver Creek mountain. When iced-up for competition and taken at full tilt by the world’s best racers, speeds of more than 130kph (80mph) are recorded over the course’s 750m (2460ft) drop in approximately one minute and 40 seconds. However, visitors don’t have to do it that quickly.
Boarders, freestyle skiers and cross-country skiers are not forgotten, with several excellent terrain parks, a half pipe and 32km (20 miles) of cross-country ski trails suitable for all ability levels.