Beaver Creek Ski Resort

Beaver Creek Ski Resort is owned by the same company that operates Vail, and the links between the two are obvious. The villages at Beaver Creek Colorado seem perfectly laid out, pedestrianized centers of up-scale shops and restaurants. Terrain at Beaver Creek Ski Resort is meticulously maintained, with perhaps the best-groomed slopes in Colorado. Beaver Creek lodging is top notch, neat complexes of condominiums arranged with a vaguely European flair.

If anything, Beaver Creek is even more up-scale than its sister resort. If you are spending a week at Vail Mountain, it is well worth making the 10-mile drive to Beaver Creek Ski Resort for at least a day or two. Tickets between the two are interchangeable. Vail Ski Company also owns nearby Keystone and Breckenridge resorts, and has an agreement with Arapahoe Basin, so Vail and Beaver Creek tickets are valid at these resorts too.

Beaver Creek Ski Resort is the perfect mountain for the mid-level skier; most of its terrain ranges between lower and advanced intermediate. Trails serviced by the Centennial Express lift — Harrier, Centennial, and Redtail — are steep enough to be exciting, without having any unmanageable terrain features. The same is true of the slopes around the Larkspur Bowl. Runs from Arrowhead village are also good for intermediates.

Experts often dismiss Beaver Creek Ski Resort as a mountain for beginners and intermediates, but this is a mistake. Birds of Prey mogul fields are as tough as any in the state; Grouse Mountain runs are also strictly for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Beaver Creek Colorado is home to an annual event on the alpine skiing World Cup circuit. For a taste of what it is like to be a world-class racer, try the well-groomed downhill run at Beaver Creek Ski Resort.

Unlike most ski areas, Beaver Creek has beginner's terrain at its very peak, so novices can ride the Centennial Express or Birds of Prey lift to the summit and enjoy the spectacular views they might miss at other resorts. Once you have enjoyed the scenery, head to the Drink of Water or Arrowhead lifts for some gentle and quieter runs.

First-time skiers and snowboarders have a large learning area at the main base. Beaver Creek Ski Resort has two main bases: Beaver Creek Village and Arrowhead. Both have extensive amenities and good options for accommodation. Between the two villages sits the pinnacle in Beaver Creek lodging: Bachelor Gulch, a rustic yet modern complex of high-end residences and luxury hotel rooms. If you can afford it, this is the place to be in Beaver Creek Colorado.

A stay at Beaver Creek Ski Resort does not have to bankrupt you, however. For cheaper Beaver Creek lodging, try a hotel or condo in nearby Avon, just three miles down the road and connected to the ski area by a regular shuttle.

Beaver Creek is 35 miles from Vail-Eagle airport and about 110 miles from Denver International. The trip from Denver is a straight shoot up Interstate 70, less than two and a half hours in good traffic.

Tickets to Beaver Creek Ski Resort are not cheap, expect to pay more than $70 for an single-day adult pass at the mountain. For savings, buy a multi-day pass to Vail or Beaver Creek or stop at a local ski shop for discounted tickets. Unlike some resorts, at Beaver Creek Ski Area, you can see where the ticket cost has gone: the trails are groomed almost 24 hours a day and the villages are convenient and charming. This is one resort that is well its price.

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