The Crystal Grotto at Beaver Creek
The Crystal Grotto at Beaver Creek
Photo by Sarah Austin

Ridin' with Biden: On the slopes at Beaver Creek with the Vice President

Okay, so, I never did actually see Joe Biden on the slopes, even though the Vice President's family was allegedly rolling 14 deep and their ski vacation at Beaver Creek happened to coincide with the resort's official Media Ski Day. I valiantly rode all over the mountain wearing a helmet cam (courtesy of Adventure Eye Video Systems and RentSkis.com) in the attempt, but Biden's reportedly an accomplished skier and his Secret Service entourage managed to keep its secrets successfully.

That right there sums up one of the resort's finest selling points for all you world leaders and assorted A-Listers looking for a private getaway: Beaver Creek is nearly 100 percent paparazzi-proof.


It's also perfectly posh, living up to the "Not exactly roughing it" motto the Beaver Creek PR team is pushing this season: My partner Sarah and I parked in a covered lot a few feet away from the base village, enjoyed a nice breakfast at the Osprey Lounge, then spent the morning touring the mountain with the Vail Resorts PR team, representatives from Specialty Sports Venture (RentSkis.com, etc.), a couple of reporters from the Associated Press, and a tele skier from The Huffington Post. For lunch we adjourned to Zach's Cabin, a mid-mountain reception hall where we swapped out our boots for slippers, padding around the place with the rest of the snow media elite and feeling duly pampered.

The Vail Resorts PR team is so well connected that they even arranged for some actual snow on Media Ski Day: A few fresh inches on the ground before our arrival, and light fluffy flakes falling all day long, the stuff great editorial copy is made of. Is it possible the White House put in an order for the white stuff on Biden's behalf? Have at it, conspiracy theorists: I think the VP may be wielding a weather weapon.

A few powdery post-lunch runs brought us to the top of the Centennial Express lift for an afternoon concert at the Crystal Grotto, a concert hall carved out of ice and snow. Local ice artists Tim and Birgitta Linhart also sculpted the grotto's musical instruments from ice: A frozen xylophone, rolandophone, drum set, cello, banjo, and two guitars in the concert we saw, though I'm told there are enough instruments for a 14-piece orchestra (I'm betting the Bidens got to see that).

It was the first time I'd been to Beaver Creek in a long, long time, so I spent the rest of the day hauling ass all over the mountain to get a better feel for the place. Visibility was poor and I'm not the most accomplished videographer, so I'll spare you the dizzying POV footage I shot riding with the helmet cam, but suffice to say we had a great day riding before retiring back to the Osprey for the après ski party with our media colleagues. Biden didn't make the scene there, either, ducking out on the follow-up questions I had about his cloud manipulation technology: These political types get savvier by the day. 

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