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Skiing Beaver Creek

More Than Vail's Good Neighbor


Skiing Beaver Creek

She knows where she wants to ski

Copyright Mike Doyle
On a recent early spring trip to Vail country I wasn't going to pass up a chance to see and ski Beaver Creek. I drove from the Vail Cascade, where I was staying, over to Beaver Creek. I could have easily taken the Vail Cascade shuttle to the Vail Transportation facility and picked up a bus to Beaver Creek but I wanted to test the driving and parking access.

Within 35 minutes of leaving my room, I had parked in the Beaver Creek, no charge, Bear lot, jumped on the resort parking area shuttle, rented a $2 dollar locker and changed into my ski boots. shortly thereafter I was on the escalator.

Yes, the escalator. This is different, especially with the heated walk area that clears the snow and ice until you are delivered at the top of the escalator right to the snow at lift level, thank you.

Beaver Creek's tag is "Not Exactly Roughing It" and this kind of sets up a tempo. But, don't get too lulled in thinking you won't be skiing some pretty exhilarating terrain. Of course, you'll easily find the Birds of Prey downhill run - go to the summit, hang a right then hang on.

More Than Meets the Eye

Beaver Creek lists over 1800 skiable acres and terrain, and by their count, is almost 40% listed as Most Difficult. If you want to ski it and believe it, head left off the summit into the Stone Creek Chutes area where you'll be looking down some 45 degrees - if you want.

Or, try the tree runs in Royal Elk Glade, and then the 13 black and double black trails that make up Talons Challenge. You will also find The Rodeo terrain park that will challenge pro parkers.

Or, save your legs if you just want to see it to believe it, go to beavercreekextreme.com, where you can highlight videos of a lot of Beaver Creek resort that not many guests see.

Back to the Basics

Of course, Beaver Creek is known for well groomed intermediate and beginner cruisers. When considering where to base for a Vail/Beaver Creek family vacation be sure to take a close look at Beaver Creek's children's ski and snowboard school - The Ranch.

My Beaver creek Mountain Host gave me a tour of the state-of the-art facilities and amenities - let me say that without an escort or a child in the program you won't just be able to walk in The Ranch as security for the children is a high priority.

The 4,000 square foot center is at the top of the short Buckaroo Gondola. The thoughtful addition, and expense of a gondola rather than a chairlift makes easy access for both skiing and non-skiing parents and children.

The building is immediately adjacent to customized and isolated learning slopes to keep kids safe, focused and out of the way of any hotrodding big siblings.

Inside The Ranch on the gondola level are large picture windows where parents can watch their budding freestylers. On a lower level is the lunch area with neat touch screen menus so instructors can order for the group right from the table, and with special dietary accommodations possible.

Lunch at The Osprey

I asked my Beaver Creek Mountain Host if we could lunch at the Osprey. There are plenty of fine on-mountain restaurants and great Beaver Creek village dining choices but I wanted to see the Osprey access to the lifts and try the luncheon.

For ski/in - ski/out the Osprey claims to have the closest access to a lift in the U.S. This is a big bragging right in itself and the Strawberry Park Express lift is truly a snowball throw from the door.

The Village at Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek Village is great for apres-ski strolling whether you are staying in the Beaver Creek area or elsewhere in the Vail Valley. The escalators that brought you up to the snow deliver you down to the village level - and the shuttle bus area.

Here, I parked my skis and meandered around shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants, all conveniently linked by heated walkways for easy ski boot traction and just made for photos.

I settled by the ice rink with a large coffee and realized that I wasn't really roughing it at all - and I wasn't rushing it either.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary lift ticket for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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