Resort Review: Beaver Creek Colorado Offers European Style Village to Village Skiing

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Ben Koelker Beaver Creek Colorado Photo Mike Hardaker
Beaver Creek sits 10 miles west of Vail at the foot of the Sawatch Range and on the doorstep of the Holy Cross wilderness. The place has a reputation that I will not try to dispel, it reminds me of a upscale gated golf community for the wealthiest of skiers, a village that was designed to imitate a European alpine setting with posh hotels and more guest service agents than needed for the average skier. Think Deer Valley complete with some of the worlds most entitled tourists except that you have to carry your skis.

However if you can make it past the glitz and the obvious attempt at being a luxury resort for the wealthy elite you will find that this place is truly a rider’s mountain. Long sustained steep pitches, steep and long enough for a world famous downhill racecourse, the birds of prey. 1600 plus acres spread across multiple ridges with huge expanses of powder filled trees in between the runs and different sections of the mountain. The place is divided up into 3 sections BC village, Bachelors gulch, and Arrowhead. To give the resort more base villages and more real estate to sell but it leaves a lot of dead space for said trees shredding and all 3 parts of the mountain can be outstanding in that respect.

The Beav as the locals call it hardly ever has the lift lines of its giant brother to the east and it is where I would choose to go with the snowfall being equal. No need to get there super early to stand in line, 20 minutes ought to do it to get pretty close to first chair on a POW day. I like to hit up the steep runs of the birds of prey or grouse mtn first thing when it snows then head to Stone Creek for some pillows and cliffs after you’ve had a few good runs under the lifts or Royal Elk glades for some wide open glade skiing and then look to the tree skiing until your legs turn into Jell-O. The place has fun bump skiing when it doesn’t snow and a decent sized Terrain Park though if its really your thing you may want to try Vail, Keystone, or Breck if you can handle the gapers and attitude.

The Beav has an awesome local scene and is home to the most unique contest I have ever seen, The Log Masters which as the name implies is a log sliding contest loosely based on the golf Masters. Held on some of the hundreds of log slides you can find here if you look in the woods, they are everywhere. If its your intent to get your lumberjack on than you wont have to look hard to find them.

There is one more thing that makes the Beav an awesome shredders mountain and it’s my favorite part, a massive and for the most part untouched backcountry. I have had some of the best days of my life shredding the Y chutes and the Untouchables but they are just the tip of the iceberg, all of the ridges of this resort have some kind of side country, the bald spot, grandpa glades, the Alta chutes, disco trees etc etc and not to mention being the border to the Holy cross wilderness. If skinning is your game it is all back there for the picking, I talked with local Jones snowboards rider Mark Koelker and he said he and his brother Ben skinned out to 13,800 ft plus MT Jackson last season which is a 20 mile loop for a couloir ringed peak, so maybe that will give you an idea as to the possibilities beyond the ropes there. Just make sure you know where you are going as you can end up at the bottom of a the wrong valley miles from any road. Beaver Creek has a polished exterior but don’t let that fool you, this place has a hardcore heartbeat and the mountain kicks some serious butt, come and check it out for yourself….

Beaver Creek Mountain Resort offers many lodging options to choose from, stay at the plush Ritz-Carlton or any of the numerous ski-in ski-out homes located throughout the resort, book your next Beaver Creek Vacation package online now: http://www.mountainreservations.com/vacation-rentals/beaver-creek

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