The slopes are open at both Vail and Beaver Creek with new reservation systems in place for lift access and on-mountain dining | VailDaily.com
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The slopes are open at both Vail and Beaver Creek with new reservation systems in place for lift access and on-mountain dining

Ready, Set, Ski! Beaver Creek drop the ropes on the Centennial lift this morning for a socially-distanced group of snowsports enthusiasts.

Beaver Creek Open for the Season

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, reservations are required at on-mountain restaurants like Spruce Saddle in Beaver Creek. A temporary structure has been put in place to help skiers and riders dine during the pandemic.

Skiing has returned to Eagle County with Vail opening its lifts last Friday and Beaver Creek dropping the ropes on Wednesday. Beaver Creek welcomed skiers and riders with more than 130 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain accessible via Centennial Express Lift (No. 6) , Haymeadow Express Gondola (No. 1) and Bachelor Gulch Express Lift (No. 16).

Vail Resorts has been preparing for this season since the pandemic closed the resorts on March 14 and say the goal is to stay open all winter.

To stay open, Vail Resorts has implemented some changes in operations to keep guests and employees safe. The biggest changes you’ll notice are the need for an Epic Pass, reservations to get on the slopes, reservations for restaurants and parking. To help keep it all straight, Beaver Creek has put together a checklist:



Do you have your Epic Pass?

With exclusive access to the early season and the ability to reserve core season dates before lift tickets go on sale, as well as Epic Mountain Rewards, this is the year to have an Epic Pass. Vail Resorts will stop selling passes on Dec. 6.



Have you made a reservation?

Reservations can be made week-of on EpicPass.com, and pass holders have exclusive access to booking priority reservation days for the core season before lift tickets go on sale.

Do you have your mask?

Bring your face covering! They’re required throughout every aspect of the ski and ride experience, including when loading, riding, and unloading lifts. Face coverings are now required in all public indoor and outdoor spaces in Vail and Beaver Creek.

Have you booked your Time to Dine reservation?

Many quick service restaurants require advance planning this year. Guests can book their Time to Dine through the EpicMix app. This is important: Even if you aren’t planning on purchasing food or drinks, you’ll need to book your time to warm-up as capacity will be limited. Dining facilities will be configured differently, so please check out the Winter Experience page to get the latest information. Guests can log on to book at 7 a.m. for their ski day.

Did you plan your parking?

At Beaver Creek, village transportation will continue to shuttle guests between base areas and parking lots but will operate with limited capacity. The resorts asks that you please be patient and respectful of the policies and procedures in place and ensure you’re standing 6-feet away from others while in the queue. Additional transportation info will be available soon on beavercreek.com and EpicMix.

Beaver Creek Village App

Signature events like the Beaver Creek Tree Lighting, Thursday Night Lights and Cookie Time won’t be held this year, but Beaver Creek plans on hosting events in a new way due to the pandemic.

To keep track of all things Beaver Creek, and with the pandemic things may change often, stay connected with the new Beaver Creek Village app. Learn about events, activities, shopping, dining, and maps. There’s even a special section for those new to Beaver Creek.

Vail Resorts has updated EpicMix to include even more information about your ski day during these interesting times. Check the snow totals, use the interactive trail maps and book your dining experience all through the new EpicMix app. Many things like the annual Beaver Creek Tree Lighting Ceremony and Cookie Time, Thursday Night Lights and other iconic events won’t be happening this season, but there are a few innovative events and activities yet to be announced that you won’t want to miss and the app will be your best source for information.

New Shops in BC

The Landing Mercantile is a new store in Beaver Creek that features wares and handcrafted items from vendors from the Vail Farmers Market and Art Show.

Shopping has always been a big part of Beaver Village. Your favorites like Karin’s, BC Gear and Generation BC are still there along with Avalon, Siempre Viva, Gorsuch and many galleries throughout the village. You’ll be happy to hear that Rimini Cafe has your gelato, coffee drinks, and bites to eat, but it has expanded to offer guests more room this winter.

Speaking of coffee, there’s a new coffee shop in town. The Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company, based out of Minturn, has set up shop in the old Starbucks location. Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea Company will have European-style coffee drinks and sweet and savory pastries and other snacks baked on-site. Look for hot alcoholic drinks being served once they get their liquor license in a few weeks.

The Landing Mercantile is another new addition to Beaver Creek. Imagine a Vail Farmers Market and Art Show practically under one roof. That is what you will find at this beautiful location that overlooks the Beaver Creek Ice Rink. The store will feature regional artists curated for their unique and handmade wares. The store will also provide take-home food and wine and beer for guests to purchase for wondering around Beaver Creek Village.

Beaver Creek Wonder

Beaver Creek Wonder is a new artistic playground of photo-friendly, over-sized sculptures that are placed throughout the plaza.

Beaver Creek has some surprises for you the next time you visit the village. Beaver Creek Wonder is not a pandemic project, but rather something that has been in the making for over three years and it’s coming to fruition this season, which is fitting since many attractions need to be outdoors due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Beaver Creek is calling this an artistic playground of photo-friendly, over-sized sculptures that are placed throughout the plaza. Wynn Buzzell, a collaborative partner with Demiurge, has been working on the new Frost Flowers exhibit. “We’ve been trying to draw parallels between all the beauty that you see in the high country and the natural phenomenon of ice forms and snowflakes and combine that with the biology of flowers. We are creating an experience that we think will transform that part of the village,” Buzzell said. Each element is designed to draw families in, and provide a photo-worthy backdrop worth capturing and sharing. Get the cameras ready for when you head into the village. Here’s what the new creations will be called:

  • CHIPS: Dreamy childhood memories come alive at CHIPS: the remodeled ice cream truck that’s been turned into a cookie truck.
  • Frost Flowers: Ever in bloom, Frost Flowers and their petals illuminate the village each night
  • Snowed In: Experience the magic of a Colorado winter day inside this life-size snow globe.
  • Reflections: Discover a new perspective with a peek into the ski mirrors.
  • Ice Bikes: Enjoy classic summer fun on the rink as you pedal an ice bike, no skates necessary.
  • Super G: View Beaver Creek through vibrant, larger-than-life goggles.

Beaver Creek’s 40th Anniversary

Congratulations to Beaver Creek on the resort’s 40th anniversary this season. The resort opened on December 15, 1980 with 425 acres and 28 runs. Today, Beaver Creek boasts 1,832 acres, 150 trails and 23 lifts.

I remember my first trip to Beaver creek during the 1991-92 ski season. There were no escalators, heated sidewalks or free chocolate chip cookies handed out at 3 p.m., but Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Goofy were roaming around the village and Frank Doll would do fireside chats about those who settled the Eagle River Valley. Bachelor Gulch was not developed yet and the Vilar Performing Arts Center was just a thought, but I do remember the Coyote Cafe, the Beav’s original bar and restaurant, as the watering hole for locals and guests alike. And, rear-entry boots and neon were all the rage.

Vail Daily reporter Tricia Swenson, left, first traveled to Beaver Creek in 1992 when rear-entry ski boots and neon jackets were in style. Beaver Creek celebrates its 40th season this winter.

What a difference a few decades makes. Bachelor Gulch now completes the Village-to-Village experience, which was a concept Vail Resorts borrowed from European ski areas.

Beaver Creek had a temporary lodge when it first opened up, and now it houses hotels, condos, fractional ownership opportunities and single-family homes. Families have grown up here and now bring their kids to the world-class Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School, which boasts a gondola serving the beginner area and progressive terrain to aid in learning.

Beaver Creek has played host to U.S. presidents like Gerald R. Ford and other world leaders during the AEI World Forum and some of the most talented performers have graced the stage at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, which opened its doors in February of 1998. Some of the fastest ski racers in the world have wowed the crowd with their speed and skill at the FIS World Cup races and FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Beaver Creek also played host to the USA Pro Challenge cycling event, which brought the world’s fastest cyclists to the roads of Beaver Creek.

Due to COVID-19, big celebrations won’t mark Beaver Creek’s fourth decade, but take a moment to think about your journey through Beaver Creek’s history and how this little gem in the Rockies impacts your love of the mountains.

 


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