Beaver Creek has record opening |

Beaver Creek has record opening

Melanie Wong
Beaver Creek patroller Jeff Thompson skis with his patrol dog, Annie, who is the newest member of Beaver Creek’s patrol dog team.
Rachael Woods | Special to the Daily |

What’s open?

Beaver Creek Opening Day commences at 9 a.m. today with the following lifts open to guests:

Buckaroo Gondola (Lift No. 1).

Rose Bowl Express (Lift No. 4).

Centennial Express (Lift No. 6).

Cinch Express (Lift No. 8).

Strawberry Park Express (Lift No. 12).

Bachelor Gulch Express (Lift No. 16).

A variety of beginner surface lifts will also be available, including GoldBahn, SilverBahn, KerchBahn, BibberBahn, RitzBahn, and Magic Carpet.

Rose Bowl Express will include access to advanced terrain favorites such as Ripsaw, Cataract, and sections of Spider; popular beginner and intermediate trails in Bachelor Gulch will include Sawbuck, Gunder’s and Cabin Fever, as well as others.

BEAVER CREEK — Not to be outdone by Vail Mountain’s powder day opening, Beaver Creek Ski Resort opens Wednesday with a record number of acres — the most, in fact, that Opening Day skiers and snowboarders have enjoyed since 2002.

The 720 acres of open terrain includes Rose Bowl and parts of Bachelor Gulch. That makes about 40 percent of the resort’s total terrain available for skiers and riders. They’ll enjoy relatively warm temperatures and sunny skies today, but according to forecasters, more snow is on the way.

Two storm systems are expected to pass through Eagle County, with the first starting Wednesday night and lasting through Friday, said National Weather Service meteorologist James Clark.

About 2 to 4 inches of snow are expected for the mountains, with up to 6 inches in some spots. Temperatures will also be dropping, with a high of 31 degrees on Thursday and a high of 28 degrees on Friday. The snow could be accompanied by wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph.

“We’re actually expecting the biggest hit area to be east of the Continental Divide, so they’ll get more than the Western Slope. Still, everyone should be prepared for winter travel conditions and adjust accordingly,” said Clark.

The second storm system is expected to follow on the heels of the first, lasting into Monday. Forecasters say the second storm will likely bring a similar amount of snow.

Excitement for the season

The last few days at Beaver Creek has been a flurry of preparation activity, with last minute construction projects, lifts being tested, and the slopes buzzing with skiers and riders for the resort’s employee ski day.

Local skier Cesar Hermosillo, who has snagged first chair at Vail Mountain with his friends for the last few years (including this one), was also among the first in line at Beaver Creek as the ropes dropped. He and several others were planning to be waiting at Centennial Express beginning at 4 a.m. Wednesday to extend their streak of Colorado first chairs.

Meanwhile, some visitors have already arrived to enjoy Opening Day and Thanksgiving as well.

Cory Jamison, of Mill Valley, California, is on Thanksgiving vacation at Beaver Creek with her husband, father and two kids. The trip for Opening Day has been a family tradition for six years, she said.

“It’s the only place we come back to regularly,” she said. “If we even suggest going elsewhere, the kids would not stand for it. We love it and the kids love it. We’ll all be on the slopes for Opening Day.”

Sure, not every year offers as much opening terrain as this season, but Jamison said the family enjoys coming just the same.

“We started coming here originally because of some early season deals, and that got us hooked. We don’t care if it’s not particularly great snow. We love the activities for the kids like ice skating and cookie tasting,” she said.

For others, being at Beaver Creek isn’t even about the skiing at all — it’s about family vacations and the ambiance. Bobby Bryce and Matt Garth of Frisco, Texas, were among a group of three families who were vacationing in the area. They were ice skating with the kids on Tuesday and said they might make it out onto the slopes for Opening Day.

“We try and come up a few times a year. We’re mostly here for Thanksgiving, and we’re also planning to go sledding and ATVing,” said Garth.

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

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