A note from Mommy Frog: We have hoppin’ news! The ski resorts are open for the 2020-2021 ski season. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some services and amenities may be temporarily suspended (such as childcare and those free cookies). Get the scoop on Epic Pass, and hop over to our post on what to expect during the Vail Resorts reopening for the latest news and information, including the new online ski reservation system to limit capacity on the mountain. Be sure to make those ski reservations and sign up for lessons online in advance because everything needs to be purchased or reserved online. Now onto our Beaver Creek Colorado ski guide.
Beaver Creek is a pampered skier’s paradise. This resort just might ruin you for other ski trips because it sets the bar pretty high. With a world-class ski village, excellent service, free warm cookies, tons of fun both on and off the mountain, long ski runs and excellent mountain maintenance, it’s easy to feel spoiled at Beaver Creek. If this is going to be your first visit to Beaver Creek, Colorado, you’ll want the inside scoop. Our family insider’s guide to Beaver Creek can put you on the up and up so you get the most from your family ski vacation and meet the needs of each family member.
Beaver Creek Colorado Arrival and Parking Tips
If you are flying to Colorado, you have two airport choices. Beaver Creek is 30 miles from the Eagle County Regional Airport. The larger Denver International Airport is about 120 miles away. You can pick up a car rental and drive to Beaver Creek, or there are airport shuttle services available (like Colorado Mountain Express) if you are not interested in driving on mountain roads in the winter. Weather aside, the drive is pretty simple.
If you are arriving by car, you’ll take I-70 from either airport, taking exit 167 for Avon. Proceed to the Beaver Creek welcome gate. The Beaver Creek Resort and parking are behind that gate. There are two paid day-use parking lots — the Elk and Big Bear lots. There is a $10 fee for guests who arrive before 1 p.m. Parking is free after 1 p.m. You pay via credit card when leaving, but there may be cash payment available during peak periods. There is a one-hour grace period for drop off and pickup. Parking shuttles will take you up to the Beaver Creek Village. You can sometimes find free parking at Arrowhead Village. The Arrowhead Lot’s status is provided via signs on Highway 6. The access is strictly enforced.
There is very limited parking at Beaver Creek Village. The covered garage is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Parking for over four hours will cost you $35. Valet parking is sometimes available on select days during weekends and holidays. Valet parking runs $50 per day.
If you are staying on the property at Beaver Creek, there are complimentary shuttles to get you from your lodging around the resort and the village. You can use the Village Connect App to schedule it. If staying off-site, Avon and Eco Transit provide public bus service to Beaver Creek Resort from Avon, Vail, Eagle-Vail, Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum.
Where to Stay at Beaver Creek Colorado
You might be wondering where to stay at Beaver Creek Colorado. You can stay on the property to take advantage of complimentary shuttle service and have easy access to the village and ski lifts, but you might also prefer a ski hotel in the town of Avon, which is just outside the gate at Beaver Creek, with easy access to grocery stores and restaurants. Avon hotels are a little lower in elevation than Beaver Creek properties, which can help in preventing altitude sickness. There are many factors that go into choosing a ski hotel at Beaver Creek. It will come down to your budget, how far in advance you are planning your trip (i.e. what’s available), how high or low you want to sleep in terms of elevation and how close you wish to be to the lifts and lessons.
The properties in Beaver Creek range from more affordable and cozy (such as The Pines Lodge) to more posh and luxurious (such as The Osprey). The prices definitely reflect that! You can meet for certain types of ski lessons at Bachelor Gulch — The Ritz Carlton or at the Park Hyatt, which can make these on-site ski hotels extra convenient. Ski hotels in Avon (such as the Sheraton Mountain Vista or the Comfort Inn Near Vail Beaver Creek) are generally going to cost a fraction of the price of an on-site ski hotel. An Avon ski hotel might be a good choice if you plan to visit other ski resorts besides Beaver Creek. You can just hop on the highway from there.
Good questions to consider when researching where to stay in or near Beaver Creek are:
- Where is the property located (in Avon or Beaver Creek)?
- If at Beaver Creek, what village is it in or near?
- Is the property ski in/ski out or close to a lift?
- Does it have a view?
- Will you be skiing at nearby resorts such as Vail?
- Does it have a pool/hot tub?
- Does it include Wi-Fi?
- Is parking included?
- Does it have a kitchen or is it near restaurants?
- Does it offer ski valet?
- Are there any perks such as kids ski free or free breakfast?
- Is the hotel family-friendly?
Knowing what your needs are can help you narrow down the right property for you and help you plan your journey. It’s also good to ask these questions before you check in so you know what to expect and what services you would like to take advantage of, such as grocery delivery or breakfast. One thing for certain is when booking any Colorado ski hotel, the best time to book a ski vacation is well in advance to get the best price and selection.
Beaver Creek Colorado Lift Tickets
We are always looking at saving money on a family ski trip. One of our top tips to save money on lift tickets are to buy multi-day passes and purchase in advance. Undercover Tourist typically sells discount lift tickets for Beaver Creek, Vail and other family ski resorts (not available for the 2020-2021 season)! The good news is that the tickets are good at both Beaver Creek and Vail, another awesome family ski resort only 20 minutes away. We enjoy hopping back and forth between the two, getting to explore two epic ski destinations in one journey. Keep in mind, for the 2020-2021 season, you must book your lift tickets and lessons online and in advance!
If you are looking ahead to next season, one of the best ways to save money is to purchase a 4-day or 7-day Epic Pass through Undercover Tourist during the pre-season in summer or fall. These Epic Passes have no blackout dates and are good at any Vail-owned ski resort. You can use all of the days on one trip or over several trips next season. Keep your eye on those savings!
Lessons at Beaver Creek Colorado
If you or your tadpoles need to take ski or snowboard lessons, there are great programs for every level, from beginner to advanced. Choose between group lessons or private lessons. You can take private lessons with up to five friends or family members. There are full-day or three-hour options. Certain lessons may meet at locations other than the Beaver Creek Village, such as Bachelor Gulch — The Ritz Carlton or the Park Hyatt. You can choose a location most convenient to where you are staying. In general, though, the kids' lessons will meet at Beaver Creek Village. That's where the ski school learning area is located.
To save money on lessons, be sure to book at least 48 hours in advance. During COVID times, you will need to book all lessons in advance. Children’s lessons have lunch included in the price. Lift tickets are included with some beginner lessons but not all. However, you’ll always need a lift ticket in lessons to access a lift. If you have not already purchased advance discount lift tickets, you can add on a lift ticket when booking, as well as helmet and equipment rentals at that time. Children 12 and under are required to wear a helmet when participating in ski instruction. You can also save money on multiday lesson packages. And don’t froget to show appreciation to your instructor at the end of the lesson by tipping!
Beaver Creek provides adaptive lessons for skiers and riders of any ability. If you or someone in your group has disabilities or special needs, call the Adaptive Office (970) 754-5465 to make advance reservations.
Beaver Creek Colorado Childcare
In normal seasons, the Small World Playschool offers childcare for tadpoles 2 months to 6 years old. Reservations are required.
Exploring Beaver Creek Colorado Ski Territory
Beaver Creek is a great family ski resort with plenty of amazing skiing for all family members and abilities. The resort offers 150 trails on 1,832 acres, and has a lot of choices for ski-in/ski-out accommodations (meaning you don’t have to get in a car). The summit elevation is 11,440 feet, and you might think of the top of the mountain as expert terrain, but you should think again. The summit of Beaver Creek Mountain is where you will find the perfect family learning area for beginners and intermediate skiers at the Red Buffalo Park. There are two terrain parks in the area — Zoom Room (small and medium features) and Park101 (entry-level small features). The third terrain park — The Rodeo — is above the Beaver Creek Village.
The mountain has a lot of terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers, with 51 Green (easiest) trails, 56 Blue (More Difficult) and 43 Black (Most Difficult) runs. There are five Kids Adventure Zones on the mountain. If you love long runs flanked by aspen trees and fast lifts, then Beaver Creek will be heaven for you. It’s hard to end up in the wrong area. That being said, Beginner and Intermediate skiers should avoid the Grouse Mountain Express Lift, which accesses only Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond (Expert) terrain.
Beaver Creek offers meticulously groomed trails, “manicuring” over 700 acres nightly. Pick up a Daily Mountain Report to get a sense of where to find the freshly groomed corduroy, as well as a list of open lifts and the weather report. Beaver Creek often produces snow on the Gold Dust, Red Tail and Centennial runs before grooming each evening. So even if nature is not providing fresh snow, you can find freshly made snow on those trails.
Study a trail map before you start out each day. Set up a plan with your family for where you want to ski or ride. Some locations may require several lifts and runs to access them. A great way to learn more about the mountain is to take a free Mountain Welcome Tour at 10 a.m. daily (for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders). Insider tip: if you find yourself in a Slow Zone, better pace yourself with the flow of “traffic,” and avoid jumping or you just might get a speeding ticket warning or even lose your lift ticket. Always ski in control!
Where to Dine at Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek has many restaurants in the village, on the mountain and in Avon below. You can enjoy casual kid-friendly food or fine dining.
There are several on-mountain dining choices. For a unique experience, consider Allie’s Cabin (not open for the 2020-2021 season), a restaurant in an aspen grove on the mountain. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can take an open-air sleigh ride from the Beaver Creek Village to Allie’s Cabin. As you sit in front of the fire, you can feast on a three-course dinner while the tadpoles eat from their own kid-friendly buffet. Allie’s Cabin offers Featured Wine Dinners, perfect for a romantic night out. You can also take an open-air sleigh ride to a gourmet dinner at Beano’s Cabin (not open for the 2020-2021 season)— a log cabin hideaway that is considered one of Colorado’s top restaurants — and Zach’s Cabin (not open for the 2020-2021 season). Saddleridge offers steaks and seafood slope side. In between bites, you can take in the large private collection of America Western Artifacts.
There are several fine dining options at Beaver Creek, including the ultra upscale Chateau at Beaver Creek, lively Grouse Mountain Grill and romantic Mirabelle at the base of Beaver Creek. Reservations are required for the 2020-2021 season and always recommended.
In the Beaver Creek Village, you can get a hearty meal after a day of skiing near the ice rink at the Golden Eagle Inn. Blue Moose Pizza has good pizza and wings, and is a nice, reasonably priced place to eat with kids in the village. The Coyote Café is a good lunch spot with reasonable Mexican and Southwestern food with plenty of kid-friendly choices. Even with all the great restaurant choices at Beaver Creek, to save money and our sanity on a family ski trip, we usually stop off at a grocery store and try to make a few meals of our own, especially on nights where everyone is tired.
What Not to Miss at Beaver Creek Colorado
A trip to Beaver Creek is more than just a ski trip. Skiing and snowboarding are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to family fun. The Beaver Creek Village has an ice rink. And most years, you can end your day on the slopes with freshly baked cookies. Find them at the base of the Centennial Express Lift and throughout the village at 3 p.m. There may be special activities going on in the Village. McCoy Park has a snowshoe and Nordic ski trail system. The Nordic Sports Center is at the base of the Strawberry Park Express Lift (which then can take you up to McCoy Park).
The Trail Map offers a list of weekly family activities. Look for opportunities to ski in a parade with Ripperoo, complimentary snowshoe tours, storytimes, a rail jam playground by the Children’s Ski school and special skate events. If you love fireworks, check out the Thursday Night Lights. There is sometimes an evening ski down and fireworks finale.
There are welcome tours, opportunities to ski with a ranger, women’s tours and even a “Ske-cology” environmental program to educate guests about the mountain. You’ll find teen programming and a Performing Arts Center in the Village. The tadpoles love hopping into the Beaver Creek Candy Cabin for some sweet treats. It's at the top of the Strawberry Park Express Lift. If your phone is low on power, consult the map for a Verizon charging station so you can power up before you power down the slopes.
Beyond Beaver Creek Village, there are plenty of other mountain activities, including snow mobiling, dog sledding, hot air balloon rides, paragliding and sleigh rides! For those who don't get their shopping fix at Beaver Creek Village, Vail has two villages that include chain retailers, specialty shops and galleries.
For skiers and riders on the hunt for fresh powder, look into the First Tracks Program. It will take you on a private tour on untracked trails at 7:30 a.m. Then it feeds you a slope-side breakfast at Allie’s Cabin. There are also Winter Wine excursions with scenic snowshoe tours followed by wine and cheese. For a fun dinner adventure, take advantage of some of the open-air sleigh rides from the Beaver Creek Village to on-mountain dining.
If you are looking for that fully pampered and streamlined ski experience, consider a daily membership to the White Carpet Club. Membership comes with preferred parking, slope-side ski valet, boot dryers, private lockers, coffee and pastries, ski rental delivery and concierge services. This is a great option if you are saving money by staying off the property in a ski hotel in town and will be driving in each day. Mommy Frog really loves any sanity-saving service on a ski trip. This one delivers.
What About Altitude at Beaver Creek?
The base at Beaver Creek Village is at 8,100 feet in elevation. The Arrowhead Village elevation is at 7,400 feet, and the town of Avon is at 7,430 feet. Peak elevation is 11,440 feet. That means you have to be smart about preventing altitude sickness, especially if you live in an area of lower elevation. Look for a ski hotel or other lodging that is as low on the mountain as possible. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness. They may include headache, nausea, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coughing, loss of appetite or restless sleep. You may need medical attention if symptoms persist.
We have some hopful tips to prevent altitude sickness. Prepare yourself for altitude by starting out your journey well hydrated. Be sure to keep drinking water and getting those electrolytes the whole trip. Avoid salty foods and alcohol. Eat frequently. Carry headache medication with you like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Allow yourself time to acclimate by staying under 7,000 feet for the first day of your trip.
If you fly into Denver, which is at 5,280 feet, it is smart to stay the first night at a hotel in the Denver area. The next day you can arrive at Beaver Creek. This chance to acclimate and rest helps your body adjust to the altitude. Be sure to get plenty of sleep during your journey, and lower the thermostat to below 68 degrees at night. If you start to notice signs of altitude sickness, drink more water, look into getting more oxygen from a delivery service and try to get to a lower elevation if possible.
With this family-friendly insider’s guide to Beaver Creek Colorado, you can get a jump on your next ski vacation. Hopefully, you feel more comfortable planning your upcoming trip. Have you visited Beaver Creek on a family ski trip? If you have any favorite family restaurants or fun insider tips, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. Check out our other ski planning posts to help you in planning your ski trip.
Hoppy Skiing (and Riding)!