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Beaver Creek - First Timer

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

I'm heading out to BC for the first time in the beginning of February.  Since it's my first time, I was wondering if anyone had any tips, suggestions, advice regarding skiing, eating, drinking (I try to find a good local brew pub when I'm somewhere new),etc. 

I ride and like to hit blue and blacks.  I'll be going with a couple cousins, one of which could probably be classified as expert, the others ski blue and black trails as well.

post #2 of 38
Skied BC many times, I stay at the bottom of the hill in town called Avon a couple mi form the slopes. They have a plenty of good places to eat, one of my favorites is an Irish pub called Finneans Wake, great food and many diffent kinds of beers. The town of edwards has a brew pub, its the next exit west on I-70.

I think the terrain at BC is great, its combined with ArrowHead (next set of mountains over) should have what you need for a couple of days. The hardcore black stuff is Stone Creek chutes, birds of prey (has the american downhill course on it) and grouse mountain. They groom alot the easier slopes even during they day, so you'll probably find corduroy to ski on. If you get bored there you can always head to vail (10 mi east) and give that a shot. The village has a ton of dining and shopping. Plus I think its free parking in the garage after 2pm.

post #3 of 38
BC advice from  a fellow troll:

Ski Arrowhead first thing in the morning - it's the lowest elevation so it softens up first (there's also more oxygen, something to keep in mind your first couple of days).  Then once the Texans start rolling out of their condos around 10:30 or so head elsewhere - the Strawberry Park lift or the Larkspur bowl are good choices.  When it begins to get crowded, go to the Rose Bowl (fixed grip lift, so less traffic and shorter lines.)  Stay away from the Centinial lift at the busy times - it's a zoo.

There used to be some nice tree runs alongside the groomers at Bachelor Gulch, but I hear that alot of the trees have been cleared out recently due to disease.  Probably still very skiable, if not as scenic.

Red Hawk is a nice run that's seldom crowded. 

If you like steeps and bumps, Grouse Mountain is where to find that, and the crowds tend to avoid it as well.

There's a run that goes from the top of Larkspur bowl all the way down to the bottom of Bachelor Gulch - it's 5 miles long.  You should ski it at least once so you have something to brag about when you get back to Mt Trashmore.

Don't know about housing and dining, as I usually stay with friends at their condo and eat-in. I can only stomach so many eighteen dollar hamburgers.

I've occasionally wandered over to Vail on my trips to BC, and have usually regretted it.  My advice would be to stay at the Creek, but since you're close and may not have another chance to ski Vail anytime soon you might want to go there to see what all the fuss is about. 
post #4 of 38

Welcome out to the Beav.  It’s a gas.  Good stuff suggested above from palmerlaker and Walt. 

Before coming out visit the Beav’s website to get your compass aligned. 

Apres ski suggestions: you can start right at the Talons deck at Red Tail Camp on the mountain prior to the lifts closing then try spots such as; Coyote Café, Whiskey Elk,  McCoys, Chophouse, Blue Moose, Dusty Boot. 

Blues:  Ski in the morning sun off Larkspur finding long fast turns on your left [looking down the hill] with various bump opportunities far right.  Loop/lap.  After a pit stop at Red Tail Camp; take Birds of Prey lift up and run down under Cinch lift then prior to Spruce Saddle take a left and enter onto Red Tail at speed.  Hit BOP lift again then head down near or under Centennial lift following all the way to the Village then jump over the bridge to Strawberry Park lift.  Look over at Pres. Ford’s house on your left and then run down his named trail.

Blacks:  Great terrain found off Grouse Mountain lift also with Royal Elk and Black Bear Glade [if open].  Ask the patrol shack just off the top of lift 10 what’s up.  Head over to the Rose Bowl lift after the mountain warms up a bit and hit Rip Saw.  Loop/lap and take a few hero pics to post.  Oh…make sure head over to the top of Cinch lift [8] to run the Downhill course from the gatehouse start…and think of Bode or Ted taking that damn thing iced up at Mach 5.  A riot of a run.

Amp’d Black:  You’ll find access points for Stone Creek Chutes over on Rose Bowl side from the easy runs of Red Buffalo and Cinch.  Don’t let the easy approach to the drop in points fool you.  With Stone Creek you must be comfortable with some steep pitch, funky perch, trees, narrows, rollers, moguls, roots and rocks.  It can get nasty over there depending on conditions along with locals trying to squeeze through the traditional choke points at a pretty good clip on busy days with good snow.  Ski in pairs, know your limits and don’t enter if you’re concerned about skiing at your margins.  Once you drop in you’re in and if patrol has the ropes up stay out.

Post up when you’re out.

post #5 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great advice so far.  I particularly appreciate the tips on where and how to ski a new resort.  As Walt noted, most of my local skiing is on top of a trash mound where the entire "resort" can be scanned from halfway up the lift. 

I'm 50/50 on making the side trip to Vail.  I'll have 4 days of skiing, so I might be tempted.  I'm curious, Walt, as to why you regretted going to Vail?  Is it just because you enjoy BC so much more?

Also, I've been pretty lame about posting trip reports, so I'll do what I can to get some good pictures and post them.  My cousin is a great skier and has quite an ego, so I'm sure we'll be taking a lot of pictures.


post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
One more question about the BC terrain, how would it compare in difficulty to Snowbird?  I really enjoyed Snowbird and found it to be very fun and challenging.  I had heard that a lot of the trail ratings at were "dumbed down" to allow for a better spread of greens/blues/blacks and that a few of the blue runs at Snowbird would be blacks at other places and some of the blacks would be double-blacks.  Anyone have any thoughts?

post #7 of 38
Originally Posted by MiRider View Post

I'm curious, Walt, as to why you regretted going to Vail?  Is it just because you enjoy BC so much more?

30 minute lift lines. Need I say more?

Originally Posted by MiRider View Post

One more question about the BC terrain, how would it compare in difficulty to Snowbird?

BC has lots of easy terrain and mellow cruisers. Snowbird, not so much.  If you like cruisers, you'll be happier at BC. 

At the other end of the range, I'm not going to wade into the pissing match over which has more difficult terrain - suffice it to say that both resorts have plenty of terrain that's over my head ability-wise.  I'm sure that anybody from the mitten will find ample challenge at BC.
post #8 of 38

BC offers plenty of terrain meeting beginner or intermediate needs with enough expert pitch to challenge any big ego cousin during your stay at a resort that hands out free cookies at 3PM, wipes your nose for you, has a live band playing on Talons deck of Red Tail Camp and hosts a WC downhill.  Snowbird has nothing to do with that but rather sits with its little neighbor in the finest raw skiing canyon on the planet.  Both sites; a skiers must ski experience.

post #9 of 38
Thread Starter 
Sounds like BC is going to be a lot of fun.  How are the conditions out there these days?  Seems like it's been pretty dry since the snow between Christmas and New Year's.

I'm up for cookies, but I can wipe my own nose.
post #10 of 38
post #11 of 38
Thread Starter 
post #12 of 38
I skied BC yesterday, Most of the slopes have a hard pack underneath the top layer of groomed stuff. The moguls are icey with bare spots in the troughs but I thought the conditions were alot better than keystone which I skied Sun. I hope the snow forcasted really happens, its needed. They have the talon's challenge this weekend, it consists of skiing all 13 double black diamond runs in one day across the resort, they'll be plenty of rock skis available after this event!

Bar/Pub update; Went to Bob's Place in Avon village, has a decent selection of draft beers and good Happy Hour prices. Also has 15-20 flat screen HD tv's, made watching the games this weekend alot better then on a crummy condo tv.
post #13 of 38

Wild times.  This Saturday’s 1500 Talons Challenge registrants are all seeking membership on the Talons wall of fame and at the same time contributing to the BC lift operators most wicked work day of the season.    Of course the 24,000 vert of 13 bump runs to be skied on Grouse Mountain and Larkspur’s flank will be easier if the storms pumping in do their job.   Regardless, the mountain party going on at Red Tail Camp will loosen everyone up

post #14 of 38
Thread Starter 
So how does the Talons Challenge work?  I understand the concept, but how would they verify whether or not each of the 1,500 completely the challenge or not?  Do you get a ticket punched at the end of each run?  Do they all have to be skied in a certain order?

Sounds like a lot of fun.  Hopefully there's at least a little fresh stuff.
post #15 of 38

The Talons challenge accepts up to 1500 participants each of which has their credential pass punched by a staffer after each of the 13 runs included on the Talons course.  It’s all at your own pace and line but you’ve got to have all runs punched that day to make Talon wall.  You’ll find a mix of motives out there for example with some racing to be first to complete all runs to that of a few who just want to make it out alive... 

...and yes, you guessed it;
Dogs and cats living together!  Mass hysteria!! 


post #16 of 38
One more thought about dining - our local hosts took us out to dinner at the nearby golf courses.  Less crowded and less expensive than anything at the slopes or in the village.  Unfortunately, I don't remember which ones.... One served some darn fine fish tacos for about ten bucks.
post #17 of 38
Thread Starter 
I keep hearing about fish tacos...

We'll be staying at a friend's condo and none of us are too interested in the $18 burgers and the like.  Any grocery stores around?
post #18 of 38
Yes, there's shopping in Avon.  You can stock the condo for not much more than your grocery bill at home.  The $18 hamburgers are mainly found on the hill - the further you get away from the lifts the closer the food prices get to normal.  If you can't go back to the condo for lunch, pack a sandwich.
post #19 of 38
You may want to try Marko's Pizza in Edwards, it's only about 5 miles from Avon.
We normally stay in Edwards when we ski at Beaver Creek and always eat there at least once a trip.
post #20 of 38
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips on the food.  I gave up pizze for a month (it wasn't realistic for my resolution to last a full year ;) ) so I'm looking forward to some good pie in February.

It looks like there's been some decent snow recently and some more in the forecast.  Keep it coming!
post #21 of 38
Another Michigander here..  MiRider, you're in for a great time!

BC is an excellent choice and you have already received some great advice, but I do want to fight Walt on one thing--- GO TO VAIL!  It's worth a visit, trust me.  30min lift lines?  Were you laping the gondy the day after Christmas??! 

Ok, ok, the base of Vail is always going to have huge lines and the entire frontside can get way too busy, but that's why you never return to the base until the end of the day and spend the majority (*cough*ALL) of your time in the back bowls.  If you go during the week, the crowds will be a walk in the park.  It's not impossible to avoid crowds at Vail.  Hell, I go on Saturdays with a smile on my face.  The thing about Vail is, even when the crowds are at their max, you can still have hundreds of acres to yourself when you are actually skiing the bowls.  Nothing worse than worrying about other skiers on a trail.

The other thing is, you are going to be SO close to Vail.  Might as well ski her.  Even non-skiers will know what you are talking about when you say you just got back from Vail... BC, not so much..

Take the gondy up, drop into Game Creek Bowl, take that chair up and drop into Sun Down Bowl.  Look at a trail map and work your way left to right and back left throughout the day.  Also go to Blue Sky Basin and take a few laps on Pete's Express lift.  Never lines there.  Good Blue/Black stuff that I am sure you will enjoy.  If you want to take it up a notch, go past Pete's lift to Skyline and take a gander at Lover's Leap..  Sometime while you are in the back bowls, look around, 360 degrees, and realize that life is good!
post #22 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments.  It's good to get a couple different opinions on Vail.  I'll be arriving on a Thursday and leaving on a Tuesday.  Maybe Monday would be a good time to go over to Vail?

I'm hoping for a little snow here in Michigan so I can at least hit good ol' Mt. Holly to warm up a bit.
post #23 of 38
Monday would be perfect.  Do it.
post #24 of 38

My Fav place to ski is the Bev. Great bumps, no line, plenty of glades, first class service. Although, Vail is a sight to see, with tons of acres to ski. One day at Vail might be a good advise but don't ski the weekend, too many people....

post #25 of 38
Wow!  Thanks for all of this great info.  Another former Michigan guy here.  I used to live in the Bloomfield Hills area (graduated from Andover). 

Anyway, we're leaving next Wed for our trip out there and our tentative plan is BC on Thursday & Vail on Friday.  Weekend at Breck.  I hope they keep getting new snow.
post #26 of 38
Thread Starter 
Timr1, looks like I'll miss you by a couple days.  I'm getting in on Thursday and we're tentatively planning on BC Friday-Sunday and then heading over to Vail on Monday (quite possibly with a SuperBowl hangover).  Have fun out there and, if you can, let me know how things go at Vail.
post #27 of 38
MiRider, will do.  If for some reason, we end up at BC on Saturday instead of Thursday, I'll send you a PM and we can exchange cell numbers.  Our group is kinda large and sure to split into a number of smaller groups.  There's 11 of us.  We're watching the superbowl at our house Sunday night @ Breck.  Everyone flies out at various times during the day on Monday. 
post #28 of 38
Things have taken a turn for the better at all the Summit and Eagle resorts. It has snowed! Have fun folks! When you are at Breck stay on the upper lifts to avoid the lines. Same goes for BC and Vail to some extent. Sleepers at Vail when there are croweds are Highline and Northwoods (not so much but still nice) lifts. The former is far to skiers right on front side and serves some steep bump terrain and some trees if the snow is fresh.. Northwoods starts high and serves a wide range of terrain so is less crowded than most and has a good spread of trails for the masses.

Superbowl Sunday is a great day to ski as many are finding their seats at the bars and condos or heading home early to watch.
post #29 of 38
Thread Starter 
Good to hear that conditions have improved.  Thanks for the tips.  The countdown is on... 1 week to go!
post #30 of 38
One thing not mentioned is parking.  At BC I recommend parking in the Bear lot along side of 6.  Its free and a Bus picks up there every few minutes.  You can ride the Bus for about one minute to the first stop and take the lower and then Upper BC Mountain Express up to some blue and mellow black trails for warm up before moving over to Larkspur/Birds of Prey or Grouse Mountain for some more exciting terrain.  The Lower BC bus stop also has a (usually) uncrowded ticket office and easy bathroom access through the rental shop.  Alternately, you can stay on the bus and ride up to the main village, where it may (or may not) be more crowded.

Parking at Vail can, some days, be a total cluster.  You can park in a structure at the Main Village lot or at Lionshead, or you can park in a free lot or frontage road, if you know where to look.  Usually, we park in West Vail in the public free lot (more on this later) and ride the free bus.  Last Monday my friends and I decided to park in "style" and arrived at the main village parking structure at 9:00 am (mistake).  They let us into the deck, without telling us it was already completely FULL.  After driving around the parking deck for 20 min or so getting more and more pissed-off, we exited and were told to go over to the Lionshead parking deck about 1/2 mile away.  The road to the Lionshead lot was jammed with all the other people also leaving the main village lot and driving to Lionshead lot, so the drive took another 20 min.  Parking costs $25.00 in the parking decks. 

The Vail free alternative involves parking on the frontage road on the North side of the Interstate or in a free lot in West Vail.  I recommend this option, but be careful to check the name of the bus when you board in the AM, or you will have a hard time getting back to your parking area.  The bus can drop you off at Lionshead or say on it and ride to the Main Village, its usually only a 5-10 min ride either way.  From either drop off, expect a 5-10 min walk to the base area. 

Vail is great!  You will have fun once you get there and as soon as you start skiing you will forget about the awful parking.  If there is fresh powder, head to Blue Sky Basin for some awesome glade skiing.
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