Beaver Creek Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

  • Vertical (ft)
    8,100 – 11,440 (3,340)
  • Average Snow Fall
    311 inches
  • Lifts (23)
    2 gondolas
    11 high speed quads
  • Ski Season
    late Nov - mid Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 150
    Longest run – 2.75mi
    Beginner - 38%
    Intermediate - 30%
    Advanced - 24%
    Expert - 8%

Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard Terrain

One would expect the Beaver to be fluffy, so you could be excused for thinking that Beaver Creek only has ski terrain for beginners and intermediates. Sure the Beav has immaculately groomed green and blue trails, but it also has lots of steep black and double black piste, and tree skiing. The terrain is steeper than nearby Vail which only has a miniscule amount of expert terrain, and Beaver Creek even has a small area that is categorised as extreme! Experts shouldn’t get too excited though; Beaver Creek is a far cry from the steeps of Crested Butte, Silverton Mountain or Snowbird.

The Beaver Creek ski terrain is below the treeline and spread across three mountains. Beaver Creek Mountain has a range of terrain including the steep “Birds of Prey” World Cup downhill racing course. Grouse Mountain is largely black and double black terrain, including tree runs and bumps that will challenge your skills and the cartilage in your knees! Arrowhead Mountain is short and relatively mellow, and the traversing required to get to and from Arrowhead is a little tiresome. On the plus side, the distance of Arrowhead from the main Beaver Creek Village tends to make it very quiet.

Beaver Creek Lifts

Beaver Creek has two gondolas. One is just a short access gondola from the Riverfront Village and the other is also short and accesses the tubing area and one of the ski school learning areas. The majority of the terrain is serviced by 11 high speed quad chairs, which are very impressive. The nearly perfect lift infrastructure is marred by only a few slow lifts. The Drink of Water lift is so slow that you could drink gallons of water whilst sitting on it! It services beginners’ runs so they often slow the chair down even more to let the novices get on.

Getting over the bridge near the base of the Beaver Creek village is a little awkward. You could walk faster than the magic carpet, and they probably also need a magic carpet that travels in the opposite direction.

Lift Tickets

Single day lift tickets purchased at the window have seen a significant price hike over the past few years, and like the other Vail Resorts, they are the most expensive in the country.

If you’re skiing for more than 5-6 days, an Epic Pass makes things much more affordable, whether it be a season pass or limited day pass. The Epic Pass is also valid at Breckenridge, Vail, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin.

Beaver Creek Snow

Beaver Creek receives an average of 310 inches (7.9 metres) of snow per season, which is pretty average for a Colorado ski resort. Like a few other neighbouring ski resorts, they participate in cloud seeding to try to get more snowfall; a technique that is thought to increase the amount of snow from each storm by about 10 percent. Like elsewhere in Colorado the snowfall tends to come in smaller amounts with lot of sunny days in between.

The quality of the snow up high at Beaver Creek is fairly typical of Colorado, and many of the slopes are north facing which helps to maintain the condition of the powder. What Beaver Creek doesn’t have going for it is elevation. The base of Beaver Creek Village is only 8,100 feet (2,469 metres), the base of Arrowhead is even lower at 7,400 feet (2,255 metres), and some of the skiways continue even further down the hill. Other than Steamboat, this is the lowest base area elevation of the Colorado ski resorts. Beaver Creek relies heavily on snowmaking, and 39% of the terrain has the capability for manmade snow.

Beaver Creek is renowned for its grooming, but we found the lower slopes rather icy; they need to grind the highly trafficked runs. They groom some slopes during the day which is well appreciated by lots of beginners and intermediates. The snowcat groomers travel in packs and they have their sirens blaring. The warning sound is probably necessary for safety, but it sort of destroys the peaceful skiing ambience!

Crowds

Beaver Creek tends to not get the same crowds as Vail Ski Resort or the Summit County ski resorts. Lift lines are generally not a problem and the piste runs are not congested. However this doesn’t mean that BC is a quiet ski resort where powderhounds can run fresh lines all day. Beaver Creek is still easily accessible from Denver for a day trip, and considering the cheap season pass, a powder day can bring the hordes, particularly on weekends. The lift queues in the morning can be long and the steep slopes can become moguls by 9:30am.

For the Beginner

Beaver Creek has a large variety of terrain for beginners. Staying in the Beaver Creek Village is ideal for beginners because most of the terrain is situated above the main hub, although Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead also have some beginner trails. Very short baby slopes and lots of magic carpets for kids ski school are situated at the Beaver Creek base. The next progression is runs off the Buckaroo Gondola which beginners really appreciate because they don’t need to get on and off a chair lift.

The bulk of the beginners’ terrain is positioned at the summit with dedicated slow/family zones where novices can practise without being disturbed by hoons. As described above, the slow zone seems to apply to the lift too!

More confident beginners can explore the myriad of trails that snake around various parts of the ski resort.

Intermediate Skiing Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek also has very good terrain for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The piste around Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead Mountain are delightfully cruisy, whilst the main parts of the ski resort have a range of wide tree lined trails. Larkspur is a favourite for speedsters but you’ll have to pull the brakes on towards the bottom. The Centennial express lift also has various intermediate runs, but a couple of the runs vary in ability level so less confident intermediates will need to scoot around cat tracks to stay on blue trails.

Beaver Creek Terrain Parks & Pipe

Beaver Creek has three terrain parks for different ability levels. The aptly named 101 Park is located in the beginners’ area near the summit and is suitable for novice shredders. The next progression is the small Zoom Room park next door. The Rodeo is the pro park and whilst it’s not in the same league as Breckenridge, Keystone or Buttermilk, it will still challenge avid park dudes. Beaver Creek also has a halfpipe.

Skiing Beaver Creek - Advanced

Grouse Mountain is a dedicated zone for experienced riders with black and double black runs. Many of the trails are named after birds, but you might not be able to fly down these runs because they’re typically covered in big moguls. The double black runs aren’t super steep and most advanced riders will be able to tackle these, but the degree of challenge depends on the size of the bumps. Powderhounds will probably have more fun in the trees in this area, although the trees track out reasonably quickly too.

The Rose Bowl Express chair provides a few black diamond runs that are worth a try, and the Stickline glades can be plenty of fun.

The Birds of Prey lift services the double black Golden Eagle trail which is home to the World Cup Birds of Prey downhill course. It’s pretty steep and it’s beyond me how anyone can actually race down it even when it’s groomed! The Birds of Prey lift also offers some good tree skiing, although in parts the trees are pretty tight and really only suited to expert riders.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Beaver Creek seems to have attracted a reputation for being a bit soft; perhaps it’s the upscale nature of the place and the cookies being handed out that has an influence on people’s perceptions??! Beaver Creek isn’t super gnarly, but the rep isn’t really warranted.

The Stone Creek area provides 180 acres of expert terrain that is categorised as extreme due to the presence of cliff bands. Huck the cliffs if you’re into launching, or just enjoy the chutes and 45 degree pitches. The lines are very sweet but are over way too soon.

Beaver Creek also has some good backcountry and slackcountry that can be accessed with a short hike. The terrain feeds back into drainages inside the resort. Unfortunately it’s not possible to formally hire a guide because of resort politics.