First-Timer’s Guide: Beaver Creek
Winter is calling… Photo courtesy of Jon Resnick
Ask a Coloradan his or her favorite thing about Beaver Creek, and they’ll likely mention fresh-baked cookies (the free goodies are passed out in Beaver Creek Village every day at 3 p.m. during ski season). But the resort has a lot more to offer than just 1,832 acres of skiable terrain and gooey treats. Located just south of Avon, Beaver Creek—which is made up of Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead Village—is luxurious and home to the world-class Birds of Prey racecourse. If you’re willing to keep driving, past Breckenridge and Copper and Vail, you’ll be treated to open slopes, breathtaking views, and plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you occupied off the mountain. Take a tour with this beginner’s guide to Beaver Creek—named one of the top 20 ski resorts in the United States and Canada by Condé Nast Traveler—and neighboring Avon.
The Odometer: 109 miles, one-way
Fishing on the Eagle River in the fall.
There’s skiing, hiking, and riding on the mountain, of course. In the fall, we recommend hiking up the mountain, through groves of aspen, on the four(ish)-mile-long Overlook Trail, which gains about 2,000 feet in elevation; don’t worry, you can catch the gondola down. But don’t forget to adventure a little further afield, too: The friendly and knowledgeable guides at Gore Creek Fly Fisherman will make sure you catch your first trout, and you can ice fish, ice skate, or, in the warmer months, stand-up paddleboard at Harry A. Nottingham Park.
Take your pick from the homemade doughnuts at Northside Kitchen.
Eat and Drink
Start your day by carbo-loading on homemade doughnuts and breakfast burritos at Northside Kitchen. For lunch, we never miss a chance to visit Avon Bakery & Deli for sandwiches on fresh-baked bread; ask for your order to-go so you can enjoy that triple-decker BLT slopeside. Dinner options in the main village range from grabbing a slice at Blue Moose Pizza to fine-dining Italian (house-made sorbet and gelato included) at Toscanini.
Bars are not plentiful in the area, but you can enjoy a tiki-themed après at Hooked, or class it up with wine and small plates at the Met. Catch the game (whichever one you’re in the mood to watch) at Bob’s Place Restaurant & Sports Bar in Avon.
Give your quads a rest day as you wander through Beaver Creek Village. Photo courtesy of Beaver Creek
You’ll find all the stores you’d expect in the mountains—Smartwool, Burton, the North Face—but they’re broken up by some nice boutiques. Frinje, which has additional locations in Vail and Denver, offers contemporary women’s wear; Q Boutique has a designer selection (also for women); and year-old Cowboys & Daisies is sure to satisfy any Western wear needs. There’s also a fabulous selection of art galleries in Beaver Creek Village, featuring everything from traditional Western paintings to modern sculptures. We’re fans of the wide variety at C. Anthony Gallery. Be sure to check the calendar at the Vilar Performing Arts Center when you’re planning your trip, too.
There are plenty of hotel options in the area. We’re fans of the more reasonably priced Osprey at Beaver Creek, which sits mere steps from the Strawberry Park Express chairlift. You can never go wrong with the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch. Or you can go all out and book a night at the ski-in, ski-out Trappers Cabin, situated at 9,500 feet.
Sweets galore at the on-mountain Candy Cabin. Photo courtesy of Dave Neff
If You Do One Thing…
Visit the mountaintop Candy Cabin! You can grab gummies, artisan chocolates, and more from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The setting and the food at Beano’s Cabin are worth the price of admission. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Gavin
Actually, Do Two Things
Everyone should indulge in a five-course dinner at Beano’s Cabin—a mid-mountain log cabin at the base of Larkspur Bowl—at least once. It’s a pricey endeavor at $135 per person (alcohol not included), but a recent evening included options such as foie gras torchon, coffee-spiced venison, and huckleberry cheesecake, and the most gracious service we’ve experienced in Colorado. Reservations required.