A few years ago, some friends and I did a road trip to Colorado. I’d been there to shred once or twice, but had never ridden Beaver Creek. I’d spent most of my time at Vail, and saw no reason to go 10 minutes over.
None of my friends had ridden there, and one hadn’t even been to the mountains. We had 4 days of shredding before us, and we all had epic passes. So we decided why not? It’s nice to visit a new resort to shred and even if it wasn’t up to par, Vail was always down the road.
Going into a resort with no expectations, experiences, or stories from friends. We were pleasantly surprised. I’d also like to take the time and state that Beaver Creek is known for its customer service. They excel at this, and it shows. They have employees every where to guide you, and at the end of the day. You get free cookies, but more on that later.
Where Is Beaver Creek?
Beaver Creek is a ski and snowboard resort located 2 hours west of Denver on interstate 70. Driving there in the middle of a storm can be hazardous so be sure to check the weather and stay alert while driving.
Plan for extra time if you’re heading to Beaver Creek on a Friday, or heading back to Denver on a Sunday. Traffic will be heavy and you should plan for a longer drive time and delays.
For more information on getting to Beaver Creek, click Getting Here to view their site.
What Terrain Does Beaver Creek Have?
This is one of my favorite parts about Beaver Creek. They have a lot of variety when it comes to terrain. There is so much to play on, and you can’t explore it all in one day. I tried, and was exhausted for it.
The first thing I recommend to any snowboarder who’s going out west for the first time. Is to know your skill level, don’t get too crazy on the first couple of runs. Secondly, I’d suggest taking a look at the Ski Resort Trail Maps. From the map you can plan where you’d like to go and what sites you want to see. I’ve used it countless times after getting confused and/or lost on the mountain. A good rule of thumb, if you haven’t gone under a fence, just go down. There’s always a chair, chalet, or parking lot. (almost always)
Also, I’ll be writing an extensive post later about this, but elevation sickness is a factor here. Drink plenty of water, and don’t over exert yourself the first day. If you feel dizzy or sick, there’s a good chance you’ve got it. Here’s a WebMD page that’ll help you overcome elevation sickness. It isn’t permanent, your body just needs to adjust.
Beginner Terrain (Green Circles)
Beaver Creek has a lot of Green Runs dispersed throughout the ski resort. However you’ll a lot of them are gathered on the lower right hand side of the trail map. If you’re a beginner head over to lift #15 (Lower BC Express Lift) Or Lift #16 (Bachelor Gulch Express Lift) both off these will take you to some epic green runs and you’ll get an awesome view of the mountains. If you’re wanting longer green runs, take lift #15 and then Lift #18 for a green run that’s twice as long. Check out the trail map for more runs.
Intermediate Terrain (Blue Squares)
Lift #14 (Elkhorn Lift) and Lift #12 (Strawberry Park) have some epic blue runs that’ll test your skills and increase your skill levels. If the green runs aren’t doing anything for you, head over to these lifts. You’ll get more elevation, extra speed, and a challenge. I’d highly recommend these runs as they’re next to one of my favorite tree runs, Thresher Glade. (More on that below.)
Advanced Terrain (Black Diamond)
The rest of the mountain (except terrain parks) are black diamonds. Here is where I’ve seen the most breathtaking sites so be sure to bring a camera. Grouse Mountain was one of my favorites, it’s covered in Black Diamonds and I found it very challenging. However be advised the runs are extremely steep, if you’re a midwestern rider like myself. It’ll take some getting used to.
If you’re new to mountain riding and have never ridden a black diamond, do it on a blue bird day with fresh powder. It’ll wreck your world, but in a good way.
Beaver Creek Terrain Parks
I’ve been to Beaver Creek multiple times and have no memory of their terrain parks. It doesn’t mean they’re not good, I just don’t remember. Keep in mind I usually visit Vail the day before or after, and I’m pretty sure that experience has dwarfed my memory. I’ll update this section next season after I shred Beaver Creek once more. I’d rather not say good or bad things without a proper memory of it. It’s not fair to the resort especially since they’re in the shadow of Vail.
Runs To Explore
One of my favorite tree runs is at this resort. It’s called Thresher Glade and it’s full of birch trees that you get to ride through. On the day I first went through it, there was fresh powder that fell the night before. I found the run by accident shredding with a buddy of mine. It was his first trip to the mountains and mine riding Beaver Creek. The whole drive out he kept refusing to do any tree runs, and I kept trying to convince him about how fun they were.
In Minnesota, it’s hard to find a good tree run. Most of the time they’re just sheets of ice, waiting to send you into a tree.
Well, I made a wrong turn, only to discover we were entering the trees (Maybe I was conscious of it, because I can be mean too). He asked fearfully where I was leading him?
I turned my board into the run and at the same time yelled, “INTO THE BREACH.” He had a choice, follow me or hike back. He faced his fear, and learned to ride in the trees. He probably hated me for a little while in the trees. It took us awhile to reach the bottom, and by then the addiction was setting in.
If you love riding trees and the powder is awesome, make sure you hit that run up, you won’t regret it.
***Note. I dropped into Thresher Glade the following year and had a completely different experience. It was an icy day, and I almost died. It would’ve been better to have ice skates on than a snowboard. Remember to always Put Safety First When Tree Riding, and always wear a helmet.
Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School
The Resort has a ski & snowboarding school right next to chair lift #1. If you’re in the area and needing a lesson. The Beaver Creek Ski School can help you. To book a lesson click the link above and select Ski & Snowboard lessons at the top.
Shred in style, and make the next season epic.
Lift Ticket/Season Pass Cost
The lift ticket cost varies depending on the time of the year, so I’m unable to say how much they will cost. I can post the link, and it’ll usually be updated by October prior to the season opening.
For me the season pass is the best value. I live in Minneapolis and visit Afton Alps regularly. However because Afton is owned by Vail resorts whenever I go out west I use my pass for Beaver Creek, and any other Vail owned resorts.
If you like to shred a lot, it’s a great value.
One Final Perk; Cookies
Don’t forget about the cookies. I’m serious about this, one of the most gratifying things after a hard day of riding. Is riding into the main chalet at the resort, and someone is standing there with a full tray of Chocolate chip cookies.
The first time it happened, I wanted to cry. Snowboarding all day will make you hungry, and I eat very little when riding. I had a bias, but I know they were some of the best cookies I’d eaten in my life.
So at 3pm, visit the main chalet. You won’t regret it.