Winter is coming! In this year’s installment of the Edge, Westword’s annual guide to winter activities, we’ve got the what’s what, the what’s new, and the what to do at ski areas and mountain towns across the state. From skiing and snowboarding to new mountain roller coasters, fat-bike tours, snowmobile adventures, hot-springs soaks and more, the Edge — inserted in the November 16 edition of Westword — will help you plan your vacation days, personal days, powder days and sick days from now until spring. Opening today: Beaver Creek.
BEAVER CREEK RESORT
Beaver Creek’s officially opens today — November 22 is also the date of its World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition — but the season-opening festivities stretch out over several weeks. There’s the annual tree-lighting ceremony on November 24, with an ice-skating show, live music and an evening of Santa’s Workshop experiences for kids and families. Then there’s America’s Winter Opening, November 30 through December 3, that leads into the Audi FIS Birds of Prey World Cup ski races, which will carry extra weight this year in the lead-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Here are five things you need to know about Beaver Creek:
1. The $679 Epic Local Pass is one of the sweetest deals in Colorado and includes ten holiday-restricted days at Beaver Creek, Vail, Stowe (in Vermont) or Whistler Blackcomb (in British Columbia), as well as unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and several other resorts outside of Colorado. If you missed it this year, don't forget next season.
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2. The new Red Buffalo Express high-speed quad chairlift replaces the old two-person, fixed-grip Drink of Water lift in a beginner and intermediate area that will now be known as Red Buffalo Park, designated as a family-friendly adventure zone with snow sculptures and terrain-park features scattered throughout the park’s thirteen runs. “With the upgrade, all primary lifts on Beaver Creek will be high-speed and will provide unprecedented access to the amazing beginner and intermediate terrain at the top of Beaver Creek,” says resort spokeswoman Stacie Mesuda.
3. Pay attention to the snow reports: When Beaver Creek gets dumped on, it’s as good as it gets anywhere in the state, with powder piling up in wide-open aspen glades. Be there. From the base area, beginner and intermediate skiers and riders will want to point for red Buffalo Park or Strawberry Park. For steeper slopes, bumps and first-rate tree skiing, take Centennial and Cinch to make your way to the 11,440-foot summit point, then rip down the Birds of Prey runs.
4. Beaver Creek has some of the finest dining options of any ski area in Colorado, all worth the splurge. If you’re staying overnight with someone special and want to do it up right, book a dinner at one of the mountaintop restaurants at Allie’s Cabin, Beano’s Cabin, Zach’s Cabin or SaddleRidge.
5. To add some culture to your powder-chasing, check the schedule at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Performing Arts Center. Upcoming events include a screening of Warren Miller Entertainment’s 68th ski film, Line of Descent, concerts by Starship and Béla Fleck, dance performances by the likes of Ailey II and BalletX, and even national Broadway tours of shows like Kinky Boots and Rent.