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Beaver Creek 3/5/2017

dlague

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Beaver Creek

Conditions: PP on groomed to scratchy firm in ungroomed, some ice.


After seeing jimk’s trip report on Epicski and with all the talk about Beaver Creek in some of the trip planning threads here, we thought it was time to visit Beaver Creek. As a bonus, Friday they got close to 16 inches of snow so we hoped that would prove to make things nice. However, with the warmth that followed the new snow thawed it out a bit and the conditions firmed up overnight and softened up during the day. I guess timing is everything. We also had a great drive via I-70 which never saw traffic issues, departing around 6:40 and arriving at 9:10. And yes Beaver Creek is real close to Vail!

So we parked in the Elk Lot and came to the conclusion that getting shuttled in to the ski areas is a common theme at many ski areas in Colorado – not all. Once we arrived at the village the next thing that caught our attention was – escalators! In fact, there were three flights of escalators that lead right to the Centennial Lift. The village overall seems pretty nice and we also wondered what I costs to have a place there. There was definitely a more elite or sophisticated atmosphere with great customer service throughout.

As we went up the Centennial Lift we sat with a ski patrol and got recommendations as to where to ski. He mentioned that things were firm but should soften up later. However, there was cloud cover most of the day and things never softened up all that much. Everything groomed skied really nice. I wanted to ski the Birds of Prey course but the ski patrol suggested to wait until the afternoon since that course of often very icy. In any case, we did venture up on the Cinch Lift and realized while looking at the trail map that this area is mostly green trails so we headed to the Birds of Prey entrance and skied the top part over to Centennial and somehow ended up on Stone Creek Meadows which was a mixed bag of groomed and ungroomed. The ungroomed was skiable but teeth chattering. Centennial had moderate bumps but were pretty firm. We totally did not end up where we expected so from the Rose Bowl Lift we skied over to Red Tail to head over and ski the Larkspur Pod. There we skied Loco which was a relatively short steep half groomed/half bumped trail. Lupine which was a short bump run that was very firm but had started to soften up but my wife was not a fan of. And lastly Larkspur which is a wide open bowl run down the middle. Since bump runs were sketchy, we started going after steeper groomed runs which led us to head up Grouse Mountain Lift to ski Raven Ridge. This was by far my most favorite run with decent pitch and skied fast. We skied a few gladed areas but every time it seemed so firm causing us to bail.

At this point we decided to have lunch before the lunch crowd arrived and ate at C Bar. We were surprised about the prices since they were not out of this world. And yes we forgot to bring our own food and beverages. After a couple drinks and food we scanned the map for our next targets.

We opted to do a few runs on the Centennial Pod skiing runs like Centennial/Buckboard, Gold Dust, and Latigo. Centennial starts steep and then mellows a bit as we headed into the park for our son. The park had large features which he likes but the gaps were a bit far apart for him. The park leads in the Buckboard which is a steep finish to the base. Latigo was a nice cruiser but was a bit over crowded and lastly Gold Rush which a wide sweeping run that had interesting areas to play in. Some of the trees there were low angle and while still hard were manageable. These last two runs had the most people so we wanted to explore another area so we went back to the Larkspur area and went far to skiers left with a goal to ski some runs from the Strawberry Park Lift however we skied too far to the left that we ended up at the Elk Lift (the slowest lift there). On our way, we hit a few trail segments that had decent bumps and were perfect for a blue trails. Some other skiers were complaining that there were bumps on a blue trail. In any case we then skied over to Bachelor Gulch, then over to Arrow Bahn and then in reverse back to the Strawberry Park Lift. The whole trail network in that area reminded me of New England due to the narrow trails. It felt very isolated from the rest of the resort and there were also hardly people there. This whole area is loaded with Aspen glades which looked very nice which was deceiving because when we skied them the surface was crusty and it was break through skiing. We probably wasted too much time in this area but it was a more relaxing part of the experience.

We ended our day around 3 just in time for the cookies to arrive. That was kind of a neat moment. Overall, Beaver Creek skis bigger than say Loveland which is similar in size acreage wise. This is probably the difference in skiing a bowl vs skiing below tree line. We skied all over the place trying to hit every pod or trail grouping. We still have some work left to do where we will spend time focused on more specific areas. It was unfortunate that the sun rarely popped out to soften things more. Most of the best tree runs and bump runs were pretty solid and while I tried to ski crusty bumps, it really is not that fun IMO. I am more of a powder or spring bump person and even then it is usually just part of our day. We were fortunate to experience a relatively low volume day with ski on ski off lifts, then again partly why we shot for Sunday.

In the end, while we liked it a lot, I am not sure what the big deal is with Beaver Creek. If you want bumps and trees, I would argue that Breckenridge gives you just as much if not more. In fact, I think there is more variety with open bowls, trees, and bumps for expert to advanced skiers and with respect to intermediates they both offer lots. BC is closer to New England style skiing IMO because of the trail setup as compared to Breckenridge where things are straighter down the face. While BC feels ritzier and the village is nice, Breckenridge has a great town to walk around in. You wonder why I compare the two. Well, primarily due to proximity. It takes 2.5 hours of driving on a highway that maybe unpredictable to get to BC and three hours if we go the back way which we did to get home. Whereas, two hours consistently to get to Breckenridge. So I wanted to see if there was something over the top that makes it feel like the extra time is actually worth it compared to other places we have skied – we like them all. On a funny note, we have ten days to use at Beaver Creek and Vail and as it stands, we might use four. We have been pretty happy skiing A Basin, Keystone and Breck.

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Last edited:

skiNEwhere

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Meh, Beaver Creek is ok. Skied there last weekend to unofficially do the Talons Challenge with a friend since they were sold out. BC's low elevation (relatively speaking) makes it much more affected by warm weather. The bumps were pretty icy in the troughs. Grouse mtn is a fun little pod though. If you go back, make sure you check out Royal Elk and Black Bear Glades, IMHO that usually have the best snow on the mtn.
 

dlague

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Meh, Beaver Creek is ok. Skied there last weekend to unofficially do the Talons Challenge with a friend since they were sold out. BC's low elevation (relatively speaking) makes it much more affected by warm weather. The bumps were pretty icy in the troughs. Grouse mtn is a fun little pod though. If you go back, make sure you check out Royal Elk and Black Bear Glades, IMHO that usually have the best snow on the mtn.

Ya we liked Raven Ridge and when things are softer the other runs there look fun too!
 

dlague

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BC is very very very nice!😂

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Take away the posh and then take away areas that you might not ski like green trails and it gets small fast IMO. While it has decent vert, and it is a long run going from the summit to the base (2 miles). I am not sure how many ski BC that way. We did it once. It did remind me of a larger Killington like place where trails are all over the place.

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St. Jerry

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Been skiing Beaver Creek for 25 years now.

It's all about the lack of crowds and ample side country/hidden trails.
 

abc

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I am not sure what the big deal is with Beaver Creek.
This is what BC is about:
Latigo was a nice cruiser but was a bit over crowded and lastly Gold Rush which a wide sweeping run that had interesting areas to play in. ... These last two runs had the most people
You only found TWO trails that has more people than you'd prefer, on a Sunday! And you're still asking what BC is about?

If you want bumps and trees, I would argue that Breckenridge gives you just as much if not more.
Yes, "more" of everything. Including more people, FAR MORE people!
 

dlague

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This is what BC is about:

You only found TWO trails that has more people than you'd prefer, on a Sunday! And you're still asking what BC is about?


Yes, "more" of everything. Including more people, FAR MORE people!

I find that every ski area that has multiple lifts/pods has certain areas where people play the most - at Beaver Creek it is off Centennial Lift, at Breck it is Peak 8, at Keystone it is the front side, Vail it seemed like the runs off Mountain Top lift.

I guess the benefit of BC is that it is far enough away from Denver and there are many other options along the way that make it less crowded. Definitely will be back to re-evaluate.
 

jimk

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Good review with some legit criticism. Although, I have to say in good conditions the whole place is a lot more user-friendly, especially for intermediates. I have about ten days at BC over the last three or four years. I agree that the Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch trails pods are only moderately interesting. I've heard folks praise the aspen glades in those sections, but I don't have much personal experience with them. I skied the mtn in very good conditions a couple weeks ago. While it doesn't have a ton of brawny steeps, the bumps and glades on Grouse Mtn and Birds of Prey areas present a good challenge. As a vacationer I have learned to like staying in Avon (particularly the Comfort Inn). Reserving well in advance, you can partake in two upscale resorts (BC and Vail) for budget-friendly prices. Avon bus transit is very well connected to BC (free) and Vail (small charge) and it has a bunch of reasonably priced places to eat, grocery store & giant Walmart for supplies. I have found reasonably convenient free places to park at both mtns, although getting tougher every year. BC has moderate crowds and is big enough to find many quiet places. Most of the hard runs are empty, while many of the big wide groomers can get a little skied off. Stone Creek Chutes is interesting and pretty, but the steep part is very short. Rose Bowl lift line is a good, long bump run. There are some nice resortsy things at BC like free snowshoe tours offered on almost daily basis including shoe rental...and those 3PM cookies:)

Apologize, don't mean to steal Dlague's report, just adding a few pics from late Feb 2017 to illustrate my points.
Bumps beside Grouse Mtn chair
LL

Two pics of Black Bear Glades, a side country area also on Grouse Mtn:
LL

LL

Stone Creek Chutes huckers
LL

Golden Eagle run in Birds of Prey section, it is quite steep above and below this section and used for downhill competitions. When it's not powdery like this they usually keep it in billiard table firmness for races.
LL
 

dlague

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CS, Colorado
Apologize, don't mean to steal Dlague's report, just adding a few pics from late Feb 2017 to illustrate my points.
Bumps beside Grouse Mtn chair

It all good! It all helps those who might take a trip here! BTW you got great conditions for sure! Bump runs were out of play for us.
 
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