Summer Resorts 2001- Southern Rockies, Beaver Creek, Colo.

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Beaver Creek makes no bones about its exclusivity. In fact, it guards it with pride. Unless you're a paying guest or homeowner, your car is allowed no further than a gated entry at the base of a two-mile access road. As you ascend the canyon on the private two-mile access road, 6,000-square-foot stone-and-log "homes" along the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course reinforce the message yet again. But that's what we love about Beaver Creek: It's unabashedly upscale, which means no unnecessary crowds (Vail can have them) and lots of room to play.

The resort's European-influenced pedestrian village is a small jewel. Yes, there are numerous upscale galleries and shops, but that's not why people come to Beaver Creek. They come to fish, golf, relax, eat well and be pampered. Sure you can bike and hike, but hardcore isn't what this place is about. In fact, why sweat when the Centennial Lift can do the work for you? Better hustle down, tee-time is only an hour off.

Because it's easier to play golf well with peace of mind, Beaver Creek aims to keep your kids happy, too. One day they can hone climbing skills at an outdoor camp, the next develop thespian talents at a theater workshop. There's even a recreation center with a 15,000-square-foot aquatics area and a 150-foot water slide.

Sometimes what's best about a vacation is what it doesn't include. At Beaver Creek you won't find the crowds, traffic jams or hurried golfers-leave those to the other resorts. And we haven't even touched on all the culinary and arts festivals yet.

DON'T MISS The Beaver Creek Arts Festival (Aug. 11-12) features art, music, dance, children's entertainment and theater. Call 970-845-8090.

BEST DEAL Stay at the Charter at Beaver Creek or The Beaver Creek Lodge for $135, including a round of golf. Call 800-525-7280, or visit www.beavercreek.com.