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Vail & Beaver Creek Review 12/27-31/02

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I can't believe that I didn't visit Vail from 1985 to 2002! Between 1975 and 1985 I spent four weeks a year skiing Vail. Now that I've Skied the Tea Cup/China/Siberia/Mongolia/Blue Sky Bowls for the first time, I wonder why I ever went anywhere else (especially Winter Park in '94). Vail is a great family mountain because there is at least one most difficult run and an easier run off almost every lift.

Snow Report- Even though it didn't snow from 12/27-30, I found excellent coverage and some powder in the glades. On some steeper pitches in the back bowls I did find some rocks showing. Contrary to statements made by Vail-bashers in this forum, I found that Vail only grooms the most popular intermediate and beginner trails. The Chopsticks and Poppyfields trails were groomed in the China Bowl so that intermediates could experience bowl skiing and access Blue Sky Basin. If you want to ski the bump runs, don't worry about them being groomed.

On 12/31 it snowed hard all day at Beaver Creek and the skiing was great! They got 8 in. that night and 8 more on 01/01/03. I'm sure some Bears will rave about it soon.

Lift Report- A five-day ticket cost $55 per day purchased 14 days in advance via the Vail web site, not bad. Better than Killington! Avoid: Chair 2 (Avanti), Chair 4 (Mid-Vail), and Chair 11 (Northeast Bowl) were crowded (15-20 min) as usual. I didn't experience more than 5 min. lines on any other lift. The quad lifts are great for the singles line, I zipped past the lines when skiing solo. It is time for Vail to install a six-passenger lift to replace chair 4.

People Report- We met many people who live somewhere east or south of Vail. The biggest non-American visitor group are from Mexico. I have to say that we were impressed by the friendliness and great attitude of the Vail staff. Of course the apres-ski scene in Vail village is expensive and people dress to impress at night. Lionshead is much more casual.

Restaurant Report- The Minturn Country Club was great fun with their cook your own steaks on grills and salad bar. And right next door in Minturn at Chili Willy's I found great margaritas and good Mexican food. At Beaver Creek on the mountain, Spruce Saddle had excellent beef stew and bread. After our first $40 lunch, the sticker shock wore off fast! Yes food is very expensive, but it was top quality with large portions.

Terrain Report- Despite the long traverse, Seldom/Never in Sun-Down bowl is still a great glade & steeps run. Shangri-la glades in China bowl offered some powder stashes. The Champagne glade in Blue Sky was a new discovery for me too. I kept hoping to see a snow cloud in the sky so I could experience the glades with 8 inches or more... didn't happen this trip . I also recommend the Bolshoi Ballroom in Siberia bowl. BTW: thanks to the Vailsnopro Bear for good recommendations about Vail.

One day I flew down Riva Ridge to the base during lunch time. With only a few others on the trail, it was time to enjoy one of the best long advanced cruisers in the US. Then I was able to ski the Spruce Face glade for the first time ever. Years ago those spruce were too small so it was never an open trail. Why didn't I poach it years ago?

Beaver Creek report- Beaver Creek is much less crowded than Vail. I skied one of the best glades I've ever seen there. The Royal Elk Glades on the Grouse Mt. part of BC were fantastic! Steep tight, open, small cliffs, etc.. Wow. Overall though, most of the intermediate trails were just a little too steep for my 6 year old kids.

Final thoughts- My wife fell in love with the huge bowls and kept saying "magnificent". My kids became Gladeator Jr's and powder hounds by following me. For me, skiing Vail again brought back many memories of skiing a great mountain on powder days and sunny days. My only regret is having not gone back to Vail sooner. I'll be back sooner this time! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ January 03, 2003, 03:01 PM: Message edited by: Gladeator ]
post #2 of 20
Man does that make me homesick for CO! Good review. Vail is and will most likely always be my fave ski area. Great skiing and the village is fun at night. Is the Hong Kong Cafe still there? It was my favorite hangout, along with Pazzo's.

Homesick for the bowls of Vail...
post #3 of 20
F the Vail bashers, I loved it and can't wait to go back!
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Glad you liked my review. I'm the wrong person to review the nightlife. We drove back to Frisco (30 min.) after dinner every night and only spent some time at Vendetto's bar one evening until my kids fell asleep on the dinner table. Anyway, I don't know if Hong Kong Cafe or Pazzo is still around.

The commute from Frisco was OK because it didn't snow for 4 days. Next year we'll find affordable lodging in Avon or more ideally in East Vail. Unfortunately there is no affordable ski-in/out lodging at Vail.

FYI about the back bowls... The locals are enjoying Sun Up & Sun Down bowls more these days because Blue Sky and China bowls are drawing the tourists away from chair 5. It was great to find no line for chair 5 on several trips. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Can anyone recommend affordable lodging in the East Vail area?
post #5 of 20
Good review.

post #6 of 20
You pretty much hit it on the head-!.

Taylormatt- no- the HongKong has been gone for 4-5 years. It's now a ski shop. But Pazzo's is still right across from Crossroads, with another in Avon.

Gladeator- PM VailSkiGal- she has a couple of condo's she rents out in East Vail.

And by the way- I hate to tell you this- but we just got another 18+" in the past 5 days!

post #7 of 20

I'm not sure if it's still there, but the Red Rooster (or at least it used to be called that) is across 70 and to the West. It used to be cheap (like $59-$79/nt). It's nothing special, actually kind of run down, but we stayed there alot as driving into the village was 1/2 mile and they let us keep our dogs in the room. Our labs Durango and Sierra loved Vail as much as us, lol.


Bummer to hear about the Kong

W'ere hoping to get back to Vail next season, my wife misses it more than I do...that's alot!
post #8 of 20
The lodge Taylormatt is referring to is the Roost Lodge, just a few hundred yards up the frontage rd from the City Mkt and Safeway. Current room rates are in the $100 - $ 145 p/n range... It's been nicely upgraded in the past couple of seasons. And they do have a shuttle which will deliver and pick you up at the base areas.

Another cheap (read- Semi-DIve) is the Park Meadows Lodge, only closer to the lifts, but no real amenities, no shuttle, old rooms, But cheap- Approx $ 75- $125p/n, depending on the time of the season.

Sometimes, biting the bullet is the only way to assure the quality of the digs you'll stay in. And if traveling with several friends, a condo can indeed, be the best route.

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the lodging advice. We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Frisco and it was fine with a restaurant, bar, pool, jacuzzi, etc. It's just 30 min away when the road was dry. On New Year's Eve Vail Pass was difficult in the snowstorm.

Either East Vail or Avon would be much better, but I won't stay in the Roost or Meadows. I'm going to pm the Vailskigal soon about the condos. I want to be able to take the East Vail bus to Golden Peak base to start our day and get to the back bowls quickly in the am. Or if I could find a good place in Avon, that would make the commute better.

I have plenty of time to plan and save money for next season.

BTW: I did know about the 15 in. storm 1/1-2. We almost changed our departure date, but work commitments won that arguement.
Anyway Vail was awesome and I hope you enjoy an epic season there. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #10 of 20
Originally posted by Gladeator:
Can anyone recommend affordable lodging in the East Vail area?[/QB]
I stayed at the Vail Racquet Club a few years back and it wasn't too bad. Plusses are the nice indoor lap pool and tennis courts. I think it was fairly reasonable. I was broke back then and I could afford it(staying with a big group, though)!
post #11 of 20
Gladeator, glad that you had a great time. Check out http://www.econovail.com/ for some ideas. We stayed at a place in West Vail, one shuttle stop from the Cascade lift, that was very reasonable, of course that was long ago but found it on www.vrbo.com

We ski Vail alot and rarely wait in a line. Start at the Gondola, over to Game Creek and then to the bowls from there.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice and the websites. I appreciate your time and effort. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #13 of 20
Hi Gladeator,
Can you let me know why you think staying Avon is better than Roost or Meadow? These two are probably the cheapest lodging I can find and they are very close to the Vail village.
post #14 of 20
If ya coming to town look me up.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

The Roost and Meadows don't provide the good quality of accomodations that my family is used to. Both places do provide inexpensive rooms and easy access to Vail. However, some reviewers on the RSN website refer to the Roost as a "dive" so it's not acceptable for us. I am looking for at least Holiday Inn standards and amenities. A modest condo would be OK too.

I think staying in East Vail is a good option because the shuttle bus stops at Golden Peak, which is the best and fastest way to access the back bowls in the morning. Avon is so close that it must be considered as an alternative to East Vail. Driving to/from Frisco every day was OK, but that was because there weren't any snowstorms to make the drive over Vail Pass difficult.

Next season it will snow every night and the roads will be a mess, ... I hope!
post #16 of 20
dcflin, I stayed years ago at Park Meadows. It was a tiny one bedroom but more than fine for the 2 of us. Would not put more than 3 people in one though. Good location. We walked over to the cascade lift. Also used thier shuttle to get to the village. I am sure you are not supposed to but no one questioned us.

OZ we are often at Vail, how does one look you up? But then perhaps you do not want me to look you up
post #17 of 20
Oz, VailSkiGal, Vera, Vail Pilgrim, and I all work out of Lionshead Ski School. I think anyone of us would be happy to meet up with some fellow Bears! Just let us know in advance when you'll be around.

post #18 of 20
Thanks, we are thinking of Vail this coming weekend. Will pop in the ski school.
post #19 of 20
How far is the drive from Avon to Vail and Beaver Creek?
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Avon is the town at the base of the Beaver Creek access road. It takes 5-10 min to Beaver Creek and about 15 min to Vail. Avon has grown tremendously over the years and seems to be bigger than Vail.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Vail & Beaver Creek Review 12/27-31/02