One of life's unavoidable axioms is that you get what you pay for. Beaver Creek, readers say, is "expensive and worth it." Though its reputation is peerless in all things high-maintenance (it earns perennial Gold medals in Service, Dining, Family, Grooming), the Beav also is golden in terrain. Follow Vail locals on a powder day and they'll lead you to Beaver Creek and its easy-to-access steep, long fall-line runs. After the storms, the Grouse Mountain glades and the Stickline trees harbor stashes for days. Beyond the free hot chocolate and cookies and the escalators to the chairlifts lies a mountain that's tough enough to host North America's most demanding men's World Cup downhill (Birds of Prey) and the World Alpine Ski Championships this February. One ridge over, Grouse Mountain will leave you whimpering for your Grey Poupon. For a break, go to Beano's Cabin or Spruce Saddle, "home of the $12 burger." Along with that burger you get radio-equipped attendants who direct you to an open table. Visitors can enjoy "Championship Season" events at the Vilar Center for the Performing Arts. There's no shortage of shopping, and après-ski ranges from grand at the Hyatt's Antler Bar to gung-ho at the Coyote Cafe. Beaver Creek jumped from No. 20 to No. 7 this year, one of the greatest improvements for any resort. It is quite simply "the best of the best," one reader says. Another contends—taking a jab at that other resort up valley—"It's better than Vail. Not as crowded and they treat you right."
What's New Improved snowmaking; expanded children's ski-school center.
A Good Deal Stay three nights and ski three days and get the fourth night's lodging and fourth day of skiing free. Through-Dec. 17; $364 per person. Call (800) 427-8308.
Medals Gold Grooming, Terrain, Challenge, Service, Weather, Food, Lodging, Dining, Family; Silver Snow, Lifts, Access.
High/Low Rank Service (3), Value (59).
Don't Miss The Vilar Center for the Performing Arts.
Reader Remarks "Plush. Plush. Plush. Long cruising runs and plenty of challenge." "Overpriced in everything. Parking in Avon and taking the shuttle to the slopes is a royal pain."