Beaver Creek continues celebrating 40 years: 5 fun facts and 5 things to do through the end of ski season

Vail’s sister resort opened on Dec. 15, 1980

Beaver Creek Wonder brings a new artistic playground of photo-friendly, oversize sculptures to the see around the village this year, including this giant snow globe.
Chris Dillmann,

With 150 trails and 1,832 acres of skiable terrain, Beaver Creek has come a long way since its first Opening Day in 1980, a celebration that featured former President Gerald R. Ford. The 2020-21 season marks 40 years for Beaver Creek. Closing Day at Beaver Creek is set for April 11 (Vail will close April 18).

5 facts about Beaver Creek

Opening ceremonies for Beaver Creek were held on Dec. 15, 1980. From left to right: Brain Rapp, president of Beaver Creek Resort Company; Harry Bass, chairman of Vail Associates; unidentified Forest Service representative; Jack Marshall, president of Vail Associates; then-governor Dick Lamm; former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford.
Vail Resorts, Special to the Daily
  • The first known inhabitants of the Beaver Creek Valley were primarily the Utes as well as hunting parties from the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes. The Utes were called “Blue Sky People” by other tribes. They called the peaks that surrounded them “The Shining Mountains.”
  • Mining operations in Leadville and Aspen brought those who were tired of the daily grind of mining and life underground to an outdoor lifestyle of farming. Instead of taking from the land, the farmers were reaping what they would sow. Potato and lettuce farming became popular and profitable for a period in the early 1900s.
  • Beaver Creek Resort pays homage to Beaver Creek’s original’s settlers through many addresses, business and trail names. Townsend Place and Allie’s Cabin are named after ranch family George and Allie Townsend. Allie was nicknamed the “first lady of Beaver Creek.” Frank Bienkowski from Chicago was nicknamed “Beano.” He grew lettuce and sold it in Avon. Bienkowski settled near what is now known as Beano’s Cabin. Zach’s Cabin in Bachelor Gulch was named after another homesteader who was a sheriff’s deputy who died in the line of duty.
  • Earl Eaton and Pete Seibert, credited with being the founders of Vail, looked at developing Beaver Creek into a ski area first. Eaton knew the area well since his relatives were also settlers of Beaver Creek. Eaton toured Seibert around the Beaver Creek Valley in the 1950s but Willis Nottingham wasn’t willing to sell his property, so Eaton and Seibert moved eastward and eventually developed Vail.
  • Before Beaver Creek opened, Pete Seibert would take celebrities, ski writers and famous skiers on snowcat tours. The group would be driven around in an IMP, a smaller version of a full-size snowcat. The tour included lunch at the “Seibert Hotel,” which was an old barn from one of Beaver Creek’s original families.

The Vail Daily’s Tricia Swenson compiled a full list of 40 things to know about Beaver Creek, celebrating 40 years. Read her story online at Swenson compiled the list curating information from talks with longtime locals, her own experience as a Beaver Creek Children’s Ski and Snowboard School instructor and from books from the Avon Public Library.

5 things to do

The ice rink at Beaver Creek is surrounded by shops, art galleries, dining options and more. Skate rentals are available, as well as rentals for the new ice bikes.
Chris Dillmann,

Talons Challenge: This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, instead of hosting the 18th annual Talons Challenge in one day, it can be completed from now until April 4. The event is also free this year, so why not give it a try? This formidable feat of skiing or snowboarding 26,226 vertical feet on some of Eagle County’s steepest terrain all in one day can cause fear in some and awe in others. Pick up a Talons Challenge credential at a participating business in Beaver Creek Village, complete the on-mountain challenge of 26,226 vertical feet and return to a merchant location to redeem a collectible pin (credentials and pins available while supplies last).

Vilar Performing Arts Center lineup in March: The Vilar Performing Arts Center, a 535-seat amphitheater located under the ice rink at Beaver Creek, hosts a variety of shows the rest of this winter, with a solid summer lineup coming together as well.

  • March 21 and 22 – An Evening with Chris Thile – 7:30 p.m. – $98
  • March 26 and 27 – The California Honeydrops – 5 and 8 p.m. $75 for general admission, Saturday’s 8 p.m. show will be streamed
  • March 28 – Jim Breuer Presents Freedom of Laughter Tour – 6 and 9 p.m. – $62

Explore Beaver Creek Wonder: New this season, Beaver Creek Wonder brings a new artistic playground of photo-friendly, oversize sculptures providing unique experiences scattered throughout the village. Each element is designed to draw families in and provide a photo-worthy backdrop to capture and share. From towering Frost Flowers to ice bikes and a giant snow globe, Beaver Creek Wonder pays homage to both winter and summer, a reminder of the resort being a year-round destination.

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Live music: On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, live music fills Beaver Creek Village. Apres musicians are also performing throughout the week and on weekends as well. There’s also silent discos at the ice rink on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Shopping and dining: From clothing to gear, name brand to locally made, fine art to jewelry, Beaver Creek has a variety of shopping options in its walkable village. As the winter season winds down, keep an eye out for those end-of-season deals. Beaver Creek also offers fine dining, quick service and to-go options throughout the village and resort.

Tricia Swenson contributed reporting to this story. Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

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