Besides luxurious perks like escalators, heated walkways, and the free, freshly-baked cookies handed out every afternoon, Beaver Creek Resort is a sprawling oasis of skiing for every ability level. The resort is home to perfectly-groomed greens, high-angle bump runs, and countless swooping cruisers in between. The only difficult part of diving into the nearly 2,000 acres of terrain is choosing the best of the bountiful offerings.
To make the most of your ski day, we put together this list of the top five runs for every level skier or snowboarder.
Beaver Creek has beginners covered, with designated learning areas, wide-open runs, and easy tree skiing.
1. Piece-O-Cake: Arrowhead Village is a great starting point for beginners, and if riding the Arrow Bahn Express Lift happens to mark your inaugural chairlift ride, be sure to revel in your EpicMix Airborne badge. Piece-O-Cake meanders and winds gently down this uncrowded corner of the resort back to the base of Arrowhead.
2. Stirrup: Also originating from Arrowhead, this time you’ll branch off the Piece-O-Cake run by taking a right about halfway down. Stirrup begins at an aspen glade and opens to a broad field with a gentle slope, delivering you to Bachelor Gulch.
3. Cabin Fever: From the top of the Bachelor Gulch Express, hang a right to get to Cabin Fever. This run begins on a super mellow road through the pines and aspens before widening to a slightly steeper slope flecked with islands of trees that welcome big, wide turns.
4. Red Buffalo: Tucked into the top corner of the mountain, the serenity of Red Buffalo is worth the ride. Also, you’ll get the opportunity to christen the brand new Red Buffalo Express Chairlift, the high-speed quad lift replacing Drink of Water (#5), making its debut at BC this season. Take a moment to bask in the sensation of looking out upon the whole world while you’re up there.
5. Upper Golden Eagle to Solitude: Also taking you to the very top of the resort, you will reach this pair of runs after taking a right off of Cinch Express Lift. The best part of this trail is that you follow along the start of the famed Birds of Prey downhill course, where the fastest men in the world compete every December. As Golden Eagle takes a sharp plunge downward, you’ll continue on the broad, peaceful and aptly named Solitude trail.
The runs at Beaver Creek are groomed every morning, ensuring that those who get up for the early-morning runs are handsomely rewarded.
6. Jack Rabbit Alley: Just below the top of the brand new high-speed Red Buffalo Chairlift lies Jack Rabbit Alley—a maze of bobsled trails twisting and weaving through a cluster of trees. This area is a natural amusement park for children, with a teepee or two to maneuver through, plus a few well-placed jumps and bumps created for (and frequented by) short skis.
7. Gold Dust: The intermediate trail that serves as one of the resort’s main arteries down to the base area receives fresh snow multiple nights a week thanks to 24 fully-automated snow guns. This means you’ll wake up to a fresh layer of snow even when Mother Nature doesn’t deliver.
8. Grubstake: Bachelor Gulch is the hub for blue runs and Grubstake is the cream of the crop. Take a left when you get off of Bachelor Gulch Express Lift (you’ll earn the EpicMix Bachelor badge after five rides) and swoop down the smooth, rolling, and wide run nestled between pine islands and aspen glades.
9. Cresta: Sure, Bachelor’s Gulch is known for its blue runs, but if escaping the crowds and carving from top to bottom are your priorities, make your way to Arrowhead and find Cresta. Beginning at the summit of Arrow Bahn Express Lift, Cresta swoops down 1,500 vertical feet to the base of Arrowhead Village, where you’re likely to befriend a local or two on the way back up the lift.
10. Red Tail: Another unsung hero of the blue persuasion, Red Tail is the broad slope to the right of the Centennial Express Lift summit. The top part of the run pushes the boundary of steepness and stretches the full length of the slope, on one side bordered by the bump-filled valley marking expert runs from Birds of Prey and Grouse Mountain. It ends at Talon’s Restaurant and stadium area that hosts the annual World Cup races.
If you are at the higher end of intermediate, you’ll find the black diamonds at Beaver Creek to be an appropriate challenge. While there is some extreme and very difficult terrain here, many of the 39 percent of routes that are designated as “expert” will be perfect for more experienced intermediate skiers.
11. Bald Eagle: With nearly 2,000 vertical feet of steeps, typically featuring soft but sizeable bumps, taking a few runs on Bald Eagle feels like an all-day thigh workout. Reached via the Grouse Mountain Express, a delightfully unfrequented lift that leads to all expert terrain, you’ll almost wish for a lift line to give you a little rest on these cardio-charging runs.
12. Royal Elk Glade: Accessed through a gate at the top of Grouse Mountain, there are no high-speed rhythms through this pine forest. The glades vary in width from scrunch tight to exhilaratingly wide and lines are often untouched even several days after the last snowfall.
13. Golden Eagle: Mogul lovers can get their fill on Grouse Mountain, but hitting Golden Eagle—a signature section of the men’s World Cup and World downhill course—after it’s been groomed will make anyone feel like a race pro. Get to it by taking a right at the top of Birds of Prey Express Lift and experience pitches so steep they might make you dizzy if you stare down them too long. It’s best to just dig in your edges and commit to the thrill ride, claiming your EpicMix Birds of Prey badge in the process.
14. Cataract: Tucked onto the wall of the Rose Bowl, Cataract might be short, but it’s plenty steep. It’s also nice and wide, but if you’d prefer not to make jump turns under the surveillance of the chair passengers above, you can take the skier’s left line and duck into the tight and challenging Keller Glade.
15. Stone Creek Chutes: Comparable to terrain you see in ski movies, the Stone Creek Chutes are far enough away that you’ll feel like you have them all to yourself. Accessed by going to the top of Cinch Express Lift and taking Red Buffalo Trail down, at skiers’ right, keep an eye out for the upper gate which takes you over a rock band lined with several options of chute drop-ins.
Now that you know the best runs to get on, find everything you need on their site to plan your trip to Beaver Creek.
Featured image provided by © Vail Resorts