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Part of the Vail Resorts group in Colorado, USA, Beaver Creek is the ski resort of choice for the well-heeled. Perfectly groomed slopes and the best hotels and apartments make this a destination for those wanting an exclusive, high-end ski experience.

Overview

Opened in 1980, as part of the Vail Resorts group that includes neighbours Breckenridge and Vail - and included on the same single 'Epic' lifts pass, Beaver Creek has regularly welcomed the world's top skiers to World Cup events, but is, nevertheless, a mountain that suits all abilities, not just the best - though this comes with a steep price tag.

Of the area's ski resorts, this is the most exclusive, with a range of up-market accommodation in hotels and condos, that caters for the wealthier end of the ski market. The resort has three distinct on-mountain 'villages' - Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch (location for the Ritz-Carlton hotel) and Arrowhead - each with its own character and mountain setting. Getting around is easy via the resort's free shuttles.

Beaver Creek Village is the heart of the resort and is full of chic shops, galleries, bars and restaurants all linked by heated walkways and escalators. This is also where skiers gain access to the main Centennial and Strawberry lifts.


Ski area

A total of 25 lifts - including 11 high-speed quad chairs - speed skiers up the mountain with its 150 groomed trails, spread across three mountains - Beaver Creek, Grouse and Arrowhead. Above intermediate level, the resort breaks the terrain down into Advanced, Expert and Extreme, most of which is found among the bumps and glade runs of Grouse Mountain, though the men's and women's downhill courses in the Birds of Prey area on Beaver Creek Mountain will delight experts.

As well as nursery slopes near the village itself, beginners are well served with some gentle green runs all over the resort, including at the very top of the 3,488m Beaver Creek mountain, allowing even novices to enjoy the spectacular panoramic views, before easing down the slopes.

Intermediates who enjoy cruising the blues will love the perfectly groomed runs - some of which are actually groomed twice a day. The overwhelming majority of the runs are tree-lined, with only Larkspur Bowl offering much in the way of open faces.

The snow record here is generally good, though Grouse Mountain's cover can get a little scratchy, earning it the local nickname of Gravel Mountain.


Off the slopes and apres ski

Beaver Creek's exclusive tag is measured by the concentration of upscale hotes, including the Ritz Carlton, the Park Hyatt and the Westin Riverfront, all offering luxury and first-class service. If your pockets aren't that deep, the base town of Avon does have some more budget accommodation, and a gondola links Avon to the rest of the lifts.

The pedestrianised heart of the resort is wrapped around an ice rink, with quaint shops, classy restaurants and stylish bars. Having escalators instead of steps just shows how far the resort is prepared to go to pamper its guests! 

Apres is relatively quiet, mostly centred on a couple of terrace bars as you come off the slopes, though McCopys has live music. But for a more lively nightlife you'd need to head into Vail, 16km away.

Off-slope activities with families especially in mind, include tubing, sleigh rides, on-hill story times for the little ones, and stand-up paddle board lessons in nearby Edwards.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Apres Ski
3
Families
6
Lift System
7
Off the slopes
6
Off-piste
5
Resort Charm
6
Ski Area
6
Vertical drop
1019m
Altitude range
2469–3488m
Ski area
1832
Parks
3
Resort height
2469m
Summit
3488m
Airport
Eagle
Train station
Denver
beginner
19%
intermediate
43%
expert
38%