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Vail / Beaver Creek Questions and Suggestions Wanted

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
My wife and I will be in Vail / BC (staying on hill at BC) the last full week of January. We will ski 6 days. Wife and I are both reasonably advanced skiers and recreational racers. Although our groomer skills are better than off-piste, we enjoy the off-piste and have been enjoying moguls more, but are too old to ski them all day. We ski single blacks and some doubles at major Tahoe resorts (like Alpine Meadows and Squaw) but don't typically do cornice jumps or narrow rock-lined chutes. Some questions:

1. What are suggestions for how many days to ski at each reosrt? Will be skiing Sunday through Friday so should we avoid Vail on Sunday?

2. Is Birds of Prey open to ski? How is it?

3. How is the race training and NASTAR at BCreek?

4. I'd love any other suggestions of favorite runs for long fast groomers, steep bowls, gladed runs, etc.

5. Since we're traveling by air, we are bringing only one pair of skis each (Head iM75 and Volkl 24 Pro). Any suggestions for demos at Beaver Creek or Vail?

6. Since we are staying on-hill at BC, what is the transportation like around BC and also for getting to Vail. (We've been to Whistler, Park City and Aspen/Snowmass who all have good transportation systems).

Thanks much.
post #2 of 19
#1. i would ski at least 2 days at BC. its larger than you think. i'd suggest ski over to bachelor gulch 4 lunch one day, arrowhead the next. you could easily spend the rest at vail with the back bowls, blue sky, etc. i'd alternate the 1st 2 days to hit the popular ski spots and come back to whichever you like best.

#6. transportation at BC is good, but very plush. they will call a shuttle for you. no waiting at a shuttle stop; but you mostly go from the BC village to where youre staying and catch the vail shuttle from the village.
vail has a shuttle running a route that goes thru the east, west+vail village all day long.

BC doesnt have a lot to offer outside skiing and the village, but it is so plush and picture perfect that its a great place to stay. when jennifer anniston starts answering my phione calls i'm going to offer to take her there.
post #3 of 19
My wife and I just got back from a trip almost identical to yours. We stayed at the Apollo Lodge in Vail and skied 6 days, 5 in Vail, and one in BC. We skied BC on Saturday, and to tell you the truth it wasn't that great. There were some lines, probably less crowded than Vail on a Saturday, but the terrain seemed pretty average. Golden Eagle was groomed the night before so it was pretty nice, but not what we were looking for. We like more off-piste terrain, woods, bumps, etc...

Grouse mt. was pretty nice, but maybe the conditions were keeping the wow factor down. Elk glade was ok, but VERY poorly marked. I kept passing closed signs, but they were literally in the middle of the gladed area. Eventually I hit the return trail... It hadn't snowed in a couple days, and their were a good 2 or 3 freeze/thaw cycles that hardened things up. Larkspur was packed b/c of the exposure. The stuff in the rose bowl was nice, but the lift is awful slow (really slow >15min). So we only did one run there.:

Vail on the other hand was great. A good 6-10" on each of the first two days, and then sunny and warm the next three. We spent a lot of time in the northwoods area when it was snowing and the visibility was poor. Check out the cornice on North rim, and the bumps under the northwoods chair. Also check out skree field and steep and deep in the blue sky basin. The cornice over lover's leap in the bsb has been growing thanks to the westerly winds. It was around 5-6 feet when we were there, but with all the new snow, it's probably close to 7-8' in places now. For a fast groomer check out riva ridge, just after they groom it (which is about once a week).

We also only brought two pairs of skis (724pros me, R10 wifes) We demoed three days from Vail ski tech. Pretty good selection, and only $24/day for the demo skis!!!: That's incredible for any mountain, let alone vail. I tried out the hot rod nitrous and mantra on our powder days, and the ac4 on a chopped/crud day. (Hopefully a review will come soon) My wife tried the lotta luv (really loved them) the attiva 5*, and the wild thangs.

There is free transportation within both vail and bc. The vail bus is really one run straight across the town with a u-turn on each end. It probably stops every 5min or so. Same deal for BC. There is an ECO (eagle county) bus that runs between the two resorts (every 15min or so) but it is $5 each way.

-Matt
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Grizzly,

Thanks. To get the $24/day demo rate, did you need to reserve them through the web?
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnoWonder
My wife and I will be in Vail / BC (staying on hill at BC) the last full week of January. We will ski 6 days. Wife and I are both reasonably advanced skiers and recreational racers. Although our groomer skills are better than off-piste, we enjoy the off-piste and have been enjoying moguls more, but are too old to ski them all day. We ski single blacks and some doubles at major Tahoe resorts (like Alpine Meadows and Squaw) but don't typically do cornice jumps or narrow rock-lined chutes. Some questions:

1. What are suggestions for how many days to ski at each reosrt? Will be skiing Sunday through Friday so should we avoid Vail on Sunday?

2. Is Birds of Prey open to ski? How is it?

3. How is the race training and NASTAR at BCreek?

4. I'd love any other suggestions of favorite runs for long fast groomers, steep bowls, gladed runs, etc.

5. Since we're traveling by air, we are bringing only one pair of skis each (Head iM75 and Volkl 24 Pro). Any suggestions for demos at Beaver Creek or Vail?

6. Since we are staying on-hill at BC, what is the transportation like around BC and also for getting to Vail. (We've been to Whistler, Park City and Aspen/Snowmass who all have good transportation systems).

Thanks much.
Hi There!

I have spent lots of time at Vail (consider it my *home* hill), so here are my suggestions.

Beaver Creek IS a great place to stay, as noted by a previous poster. It's quiet and cush, and a nice place to walk around at night. There isn't TONS to do, but if you're like me and ski hard during the day, it's a great place for lounging in the hot tub under the stars and getting a quick bite and then crashing at night. I would recommend calling Dial-a-Ride one (or more) nights and hopping over to the newish Ritz Carlton at Bachelor Gulch. It's a lovely spot for lounging in front of the indoor or outdoor fireplace with a drink, and an amazing log building in the tradition of the great old national park lodges.

1. I would spend two days at Beaver Creek and the rest at Vail. It isn't necessary to avoid Vail on Sunday, either. I have found in the last few years that locals are heading back closer to Denver on Sunday to avoid the end-of-weekend traffic, which has gotten terrible. Many of them will leave Vail on Sunday morning and ski Keystone or A-Basin or Loveland just to be closer to home. Vail is by no means empty on the weekend, but it is so big, and the population drops enough on Sunday that it's not too bad. Saturdays and holiday weeks, however, are another story.

2. Birds of Prey is typically open, but unless there is a race on the horizon it is (in my experience) usually man-eating bumps top-to-bottom. I have still never skied it groomed, which would be a blast.

3. ?? Can't speak to this one.

4. My usual Vail itinerary is as follows because it keeps you ahead of most of the people if you start early:
- Couple of warm-up runs on Northwoods/Northstar
- Headwall into Sun-up Bowl (sometimes groomed. . . usually The Slot is the one groomed, but it's on two fall lines and generally chock-a-block with people who shouldn't be skiing two fall lines on the back side.)
- Depending on the weather and snow conditions, either drop into Teacup and head up to Blue Sky Basin for a drop in at Lover's Leap/Iron Mask (cornice of varying size, with a few steep turns and bumps in the run-out) and a couple of runs to skiers left at the top of Pete's Express
- OR make some turns on the Genghis Kahn side of China Bowl and then cross over and ski the trees on the east side of China.
- Hop into Two Elk for an early lunch (about 11:15) before it gets crowded and definitely eat some chicken posole (mexican chicken stew with hominy)
- Head back outside while the hordes are eating lunch and have the bowls to yourself. If snow and visibility are good, I recommend Mongolia and Siberia after lunch for a little powder and wide-open spaces.
- End the day with a few cruisers, either in the Berries/Lodgepole area, where you can easily work your way to Bear Tree and get back to the Village without hitting cat tracks . . . or make a few turns in Game Creek on Dealer's Choice or Baccarat.

Two other notes:
- If you get a day when it's just dumping down and visibility is low, I highly recommend the trees in Game Creek, in the Ouzo Glade area. Easy to do laps and nicely spaced trees for the deep stuff. Plus you have reference points and shadows with the trees. Some of the bowls are so un-treed that heavy snowfall means you're skiing *using the force.*
- If it's really windy (especially from the west), you DON'T want to be riding Skyline Express to Blue Sky Basin. And if you do, sit on the side of the chair away from the lift towers. Seriously. They close this one for a reason when it's windy. It can be painful and just a little bit scary!

5. PP mentioned Vail Ski Tech, which I believe is good. If you want super-easy and cush and don't mind paying for it, call Gorsuch in Vail Village. Their demo skis are pristinely cared for, they get you in the computer on the first day and you never have to fill out another form, and they have a very good selection and good employees. As well as an espresso machine in the equipment room! Not the cheapest option, but I have enjoyed it on occasion.

6. I am not an authority on transport, as I usually have a car. . . however, Dial-a-Ride in BC is very convenient and easy, and in-town Vail shuttles run regularly and stops are easy to find.

HTH,
Mollie
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Mollie,

Thanks. That's great information. I'm looking forward to the trip.
post #7 of 19
Mollie

Great post with lots of good info!

We've been to Vail the last 2 spring breaks and will be there again this April (7-16). The mountain can get crowded, but we've learned that if you get out early and "work" the mountain, you can avoid the masses.

BTW-I had to laugh at your advice regarding reference points in bad weather. 2 years a go on our last day, Vail was getting hammered and we caught an early chair to the top of Two Elk to drop into China Bowl on the way to Blue Sky Basin. The China Bowl decent was pure white out all the way down. You couldn't see anything. It was worth the trip though, we skied Blue Sky Basin all morning in the trees pretty much by ourselves.
post #8 of 19
2 days at beaver creek
4 days at vail

you will most likely spend most of your time in vails back bowls. (china bowl)

thats what we did last year, the skiing was absolutly great, and the terrain was so big, i never skied the same line twice. It's pretty fun going up on the lift that takes you to the top of china bowl (lift=orient express-i think) when you look at the skiers they all look like little dots. I never made it to beaver creek, but i also i heard it was great, and very high class, even more than vail.

have fun!
post #9 of 19
Yea check out their website and fill in some general info about yourself. Then expect a call in the near future and they'll set something up. I think it's even cheaper if you demo more days. You can also ask to reserve specific skis for specific days if you know what you want to try.

-Matt


Quote:
Originally Posted by SnoWonder
Grizzly,

Thanks. To get the $24/day demo rate, did you need to reserve them through the web?
post #10 of 19
Vail has the better race hill, with the Black Forest poma that serves the NASTAR course. This will allow you to get in many laps on the course. You can get in more trips through the gates in an hour and a half than you can get all day at BC.

Since this is your first time to Vail/BC be prepared to be blown away by the size, variety, and snow conditions. You will have a great time.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
LeRouge said,

Quote:
Since this is your first time to Vail/BC be prepared to be blown away by the size, variety, and snow conditions. You will have a great time.
Now you really have me excited! Since I ski mostly in Lake Tahoe I'm use to a big area. I also have skied Snowmass and found them to offer quite a bit of terrain. We weren't planning on a trip this year, but when a group trip to Vail/BC was announced it was its size and reputation that attracted us to do it. Now I'll just have to see what the weather will be during the week we're there.

Thanks
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnoWonder
LeRouge said,



Now you really have me excited! Since I ski mostly in Lake Tahoe I'm use to a big area. I also have skied Snowmass and found them to offer quite a bit of terrain. We weren't planning on a trip this year, but when a group trip to Vail/BC was announced it was its size and reputation that attracted us to do it. Now I'll just have to see what the weather will be during the week we're there.

Thanks
I used to ski Tahoe, too, mainly Kirkwood, Alpine, and Squaw, and they've got nothin' on Vail in terms of size and variety.

I have been skiing Vail since the late 80s, first on family trips and as a semi-local since the 2001/2002 season. Aside from the high prices and the occasional attitude that comes with the deep pockets, I can't think of a place I'd rather ski. Occasionally I go elsewhere for lots of steeps (Aspen Mountain, for instance, is much steeper than many things on Vail), but Vail's big, it's wide-ranging, there's something for everyone, and the views of the Gore Range & Holy Cross can't be beat. And in truth, I am jealous of some of the fat pocketbooks around there, so I guess I can't complain too much about money hurting the place!

Mollie
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Any final suggestions before we leave in a few days.

Thanks to those who have responded.
post #14 of 19
All the above advice is excellent. I also recommend the 2 days Beav/4 days Vail (Although 1 day BC and 5 days Vail would be great as well).

My 2 cents in addition to above info. My favorite warm up run at Beav is Harrier. It's long, its changes pitch periodically, there are some trees to dart in and out of and no one is usually on it for the first hour or so in the morning. The only downside is that it has a bit of a run off at the end to get back to the lift. So keep your speed up at the bottom.

I love Golden Eagle (Birds of Prey course). When its groomed, its amazing. Great views, fast and fun. When its bumped up, it's a whole different experience. Still tons of fun but, for us infrerquent skiers, it'll wear your legs down quickly. Finally, avoid the Rose Bowl area. Ski schools tend to dominate the area and its a slow lift out.

The only advice I question from above is skiing to the Ritz at Bachelor's. If you're into seeing a nice hotel and having a drink, then do it. If that's not your thing, I would waste ski time skiing over there and back. Go to Grouse Mountain and stay there instead.

As for Vail, if you're starting from the Lionshead area, my favorite warm up run is Dealer's Choice in Game Creek Bowl. Then, just pop out of the bowl and hit the back bowls. Make sure you hit Grand Review for a great blue cruiser with gorgeous views. It also tends to be less crowded because it's all the way at the far end of Blue Sky. End the day at Los Amigos on the deck for a margarita. You can watch morons like me who have no legs left trying to get down Pepi's Face and Head's First trying to do the same.
post #15 of 19
We came back from Breck/ Beaver Creek a few weeks ago and had a great time. I actually was surprised by some of the steeps at Beaver Creek. The way you here people talking about Beaver Creek, you would think it was a bunny hill with lots of grooming. It's not like that at all. My wife is just a blue skier and really enjoyed Larkspur and Centenial. We skied Beaver Creek on a Saturday and the only line we experienced was just before noon on Chair 6. The rest of the time we never waited more than 5 minutes tops. Usually it was ski to the lift and get on within 2 minutes. I liked the Elk Glades. No issues with finding my way down. The snow was nice and soft the day we were there and the groomers were great on Harrier and Centenia and the whole Larkspur area. There are a few runs off to skiers right for bumps and black diamonds and it gets the sun in the morning with the east facing slopes.

I skied Birds of Prey. It was a sheet of hard packed and icy. I stopped half way down and looked up and then down to the bottom and imagined Ralves tucked and flying at 80 mph down the hill. Sends shivers down your spine to think people ski that fast. I didn't think skiing all the way over to Bachelor Gulch was worth it. But if you are there for two days, what the heck. There was some nice powder in the trees on the way over to Stawberry Springs from Larkspur. If you want bumps check out Osprey. The sign says double diamond but this is Beaver Creek and it really was only a black, IMHO. Lots of nice soft bumps in there though.
post #16 of 19
Forgot one other thing. Loco off Larkspur lift at the Beav is a great little bump run to improve Bump skills. It doesn't get a lot of traffic and its not too long so you still have some legs left at the bottom. Try it in the afternoon.
post #17 of 19
Toadman,
I am glad you were able to ski the Beave..and sounds like it was good...

some suggestions about BC (since I moved down valley from Leadville it has become my "local hill")

First of all don't write off Rose Bowl..yes the lift is slow but there is some nice stuff there..good N. exposure and black runs like Cataract, Spider hold good snow because they do not get skied out...I have no clue about the comment which stated that ski school overruns Rose Bowl..maybe the bail out run.


BC is good for a day or two for sure...laid back and without the Vail crowds.. we locals like it for that...plenty of good skiing to be had..and if you do the top to bottom cruiser on the front side you will feel the burn!!!

the beta about Loco, Shooting Star in Larkspur Bowl was spot on...these are very nice bump runs

Grouse Mountain is a demanding area..if you can pull laps here you are solid...these are all long sustained runs

From the Birds of Prey lift Golden Eagle is one of the best...the top is seriously icey from when they made the Birds of Prey DH course (yellow glare ice)..but there are great turns when you drop down a bit.

The whole Arrowhead area is pretty unexciting for good skiers...but powder hangs out for days under the Strawberry lift

have a good trip!!!
post #18 of 19
I would definitely recommend the 'tour' from BC to Arrowhead and back, even if just for the scenic value. If there's not a lot of fresh, it's a great way to see the whole resort and cruise some nice runs, groomed to perfection, and virtually deserted mid week.

We do it the other way around though - we always park at Arrowhead and ski across to BC - the run from the top of Arrowhead into Bachelor Gulch under the bridges is a delight.

And Arrowhead/Bachelor area takes a long time to get skied out after a fresh fall.
post #19 of 19
Two words,

BACK BOWLS.
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