Beaver Creek sweats the small stuff. “Free cookies! What else can a skier ask for?” gushes a reader. Indeed it’s the details—including those chocolate chip cookies served up warm at the base every day at 3 p.m., along with mountain hosts, a base-village ice rink, and employees walking around lift lines carrying tissue boxes—that make this place stand out as one of the more luxurious experiences in skidom.
That’s not to say Beaver Creek doesn’t nail the big picture, too: Readers rank The Beav in the top five for Lifts, Service, Accessibility, Family Friendly, Grooming, and Lodging (Ritz-Carlton or the Park Hyatt ring a bell?). Readers also rave about the relatively uncrowded lift lines, as the masses tend to exit Colorado’s I-70 at Vail, 13 miles closer to Denver.
“Beaver Creek is a very underrated resort, because big daddy Vail is just up the road,” says one. “Great overall resort with amazing terrain. For an I-70 resort it is by far the least crowded,” says another. They also lauded it for its challenging terrain: The long, fall-line steeps of Birds of Prey—home of the World Cup downhill course—and Grouse Mountain, and the spicy backcountry-like tree shots in the Stone Creek Chutes. There’s no dearth of beginner and intermediate terrain, either, with green runs that go from top to bottom off of Cinch Express and a host of mellow cruisers on sunny Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead. (Kids, be sure to drag your parents—and their credit cards—into the Candy Cabin at the top of the Strawberry Park Express.)
So what’s the downside? The parking—a free shuttle-ride away—can be polarizing, but families appreciate the short walk through the base village to the escalators. Others have legitimate gripes about the cost, but most feel that you get what you pay for. “The prices reflect superior amenities and service,” says one. The nightlife is, well, 15 minutes down the road in Vail, but après spots like C-Bar are especially festive come spring, when patrons spill out on the patios to soak in the sun and live music. Regardless of where you end up, though, be sure to swing through the base village at 3 p.m. Cookie Time, as Beaver Creek calls it, is pretty sweet. — Kimberly Beekman
Copper Mountain's 2020 SKI Magazine Reader Resort Survey Rank: 8th in the West
- WHAT’S NEW: Snowmaking isn’t always the sexiest of upgrades, but this season Beaver Creek expands it into Red Buffalo Park, which could ensure a 3,300 vertical drop on opening day.
- DINNER PICK: Take a 20-minute sleigh ride through snowy aspen groves to Beano’s Cabin, tucked into the base of Larkspur Bowl. Named after Frank Bienkowski, an original homesteader here, Beano’s has been setting the fine-dining standard for more than 30 years.
- GOOD VALUE: Head to local favorite Dusty Boot Roadhouse for a snack and a beer or wine for $8.
SKI Magazine's 2019 Review of Beaver Creek, Colo.
Beaver Creek’s reputation precedes it. Not a bad thing when what you’re known for is excellent grooming, lots of family terrain, one of the best ski schools in the industry, beautiful hotels, top-notch service, and delicious dining—on-mountain and off. Did we mention the free cookies served at the base at day’s end? The skiing itself is largely underrated—most visitors come expecting wide, groomed boulevards and mostly mellow terrain. And they leave satisfied, but so do those who come looking for world-class steeps (Birds of Prey, the men’s World Cup downhill), bumps (anything on Grouse Mountain), and extreme terrain (Stone Creek Chutes).
And while Beaver Creek has always been a great place to learn, it gets even better with the debut of Haymeadow Park, complete with its own gondola and lift, sculpted terrain designed for newbies, and ice cream shop inside The Ranch restaurant. (This is in addition to Red Buffalo Park, the resort’s mountaintop beginner area that debuted last season.)
No matter your skiing ability, everyone congregates in the cute village for a glide on the skating rink, drinks, dinner, or a stroll through an art gallery. There’s nothing wrong with expectations, especially when they’re met. - Samantha Berman
Come to Beaver Creek for the...
- FAMILY ACTIVITY Allie’s Cabin offers a Family Dinner catered to the young ones, accessed via sleigh ride from the village.
- GROOMING Bird of Prey, when it's freshly brushed. Period.
- DINING Settle in for a Euro-style leisurely lunch at SaddleRidge. The food is divine. LODGING Stay at the Ritz-Carlton and get the Bachelor Gulch slopes mostly to yourself.
- MANDATORY RUN Cruise down Centennial with the whole family—three miles of perfect blue corduroy that exemplify the Beav’s superior grooming standards.
- BREAKFAST Rimini is a gelato shop, but stop by before 11 for some delicious breakfast crepes.