Experience Beaver Creek Mountain like never before | VailDaily.com

Experience Beaver Creek Mountain like never before

There are more ways to experience to the mountain than hiking, biking and winter sports.

Beaver Creek Mountain is well known for its world-class hiking, biking and snowsport activities, but for those who don’t dabble in mountain sports, or are looking for a fun off-day activity at altitude, there are myriad ways to experience the famous resort.

I was fortunate enough to sample two of these experiences during a fun-filled day of activities hosted by the Beaver Creek Lodge.

Beaver Creek Stables offers one-hour, two-hour and full-day horseback riding tours of Beaver Creek Mountain, as well as pony rides for children ages seven and under.
Carolyn Paletta

Horseback riding through the Aspens

The first activity that I chose to participate in was a horseback riding tour of Beaver Creek Mountain with the company Beaver Creek Stables.

I have not ridden a horse since I was 12 years old, and some members of my group had never interacted with a horse in their entire lives, so we all approached the stables with reserve and a whole lot of doubt about our ability to control these stunning, thousand-pound creatures.

Fortunately, the horses are trained to accommodate precisely our level of inexperience. Once we were safely mounted, they each found their place in line behind the very capable wrangler without requiring much signaling at all from their incompetent riders.

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Each horse had a name, and we all quickly became bonded to our animal. I was given a mahogany-brown beauty with chocolate eyes and a jet black mane, who among a herd of Taffys, Triggers and Sprinkles was inexplicably named Festus. I wish there was a Yelp for horses, because in my unbiased opinion, Festus was the best behaved horse of the lot and deserves a full five star review.

My horse Festus and I saddling up at Beaver Creek Stables before hitting the trail.
Carolyn Paletta

I was smiling ear-to-ear from the second we stepped onto the trail. I am an avid hiker, so the scenery that we moved through was not exactly new to me, but it is hard to describe how incredible it is to stroll through wildflower patches and giant aspen groves while mounted atop a horse. Your line of sight is higher, allowing you to take in more of the lush environment, and you feel intimately connected to the life all around you because you are moving through the space on a living, breathing animal.

The hour-long tour wound through shady groves, along hillside ridges that overlooked the entire Beaver Creek resort, and down grassy, sun-soaked sections until circling back to the stables. We shared a lot of laughs among the group as the horses would show their personalities, some picking at flowers and tussling with each other, or the one who simply refused to join the group photo and staunchly set himself up under a tree (my spirit animal).

The trail wound through shady aspen groves, lush wildflower patches and along sunny hillside ridges overlooking Beaver Creek Village.
Carolyn Paletta

Returning to the ranch, we dismounted and said goodbye to our new friends, letting the horses rehydrate before setting out to give the next group of amateurs an hour-long taste of the cowboy life.

Jeep Tour of Beaver Creek Mountain

Following a lunch break, I headed to the next activity of the day, an afternoon Jeep tour of Beaver Creek Mountain known as the 4×4 Mountain Tour. The tour guide picked us up right in front of the hotel, and we climbed into the open-air Jeep and started heading up the mountain.

We rode along a relatively smooth dirt road that during the wintertime serves as a catwalk between ski runs. As we climbed up the mountain, the tour guide taught us about the history of Beaver Creek Mountain and how the resort has expanded over the years.

The 4x4 Mountain Tour travels along catwalks to give riders an in-depth look at the slopes, trails, views and history of Beaver Creek Mountain.
Carolyn Paletta

We drove to the very top of the mountain, where the highest chairlift lets out, and took a walk and some photos near the beloved Cookie Cabin, which is one of the oldest structures on the mountain and currently serves warm cookies throughout the winter season to chilly visitors.

With the Jeep, we were able to off road a bit and take a peek over the edge of the famous Birds of Prey racecourse, the site of Beaver Creek’s international ski contest and one of the steepest runs on the mountain. For those who do not get on the mountain during the winter, or stick to more moderate runs, the tour provided a unique opportunity to see the full range of ski runs available at Beaver Creek, and get a sense of what it feels like to stand at the top of one, ready to carve.

The tour group was also given the unique opportunity to get an early look at the 250-acre expansion that Beaver Creek is undertaking this summer, and plans to open for this ski season. Named McCoy Park after a homesteading and cattling family that lived in the area in the 1900s, the new terrain will be truly one-of-a-kind: a bowl that features backcountry views and glades but is made up entirely of beginner trails.

McCoy Park is a 250-acre addition to Beaver Creek Resort that will be open this winter season. The new terrain will be truly one-of-a-kind: a bowl that features backcountry views and glades but is made up entirely of beginner trails.
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The new terrain will be accessible from the tops of Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express, Strawberry Park Express and Larkspur Express, and two new lifts are being installed to service the park and provide transport out to the main part of the mountain.

Beaver Creek Resort is aiming to be the best destination in the world to learn how to ski or snowboard, and from what I saw on our Jeep tour of McCoy Park, they are well on their way to achieving that status.

As we wound down the mountain and back to the village, waving at marmots and deer that popped their heads out at us along the way, I felt that I had gained a comprehensive understanding of the mountain’s past, present and future, and it made me all the more excited to return to the slopes come winter time.

Book your own experience

These are just two of the activities that the Beaver Creek Lodge can help set up for guests at their concierge service. To directly book the tours described above, visit beavercreekstables.com and beavercreek.com.

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