Beaver Creek is ‘a storm away’ from opening more terrain |

Beaver Creek is ‘a storm away’ from opening more terrain

Lauren Glendenning
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyA snowboarder hits the terrain park on opening day at Beaver Creek Wednesday

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – Don’t be fooled by the escalators and fancy lodges at Beaver Creek – it’s a locals’ mountain.

Sure, Beaver Creek attracts its fair share of tourists, but those who live and work in the valley feel a sense of pride and ownership over the resort.

“Beaver Creek is my home – I grew up skiing here,” said Tanner Coulter, a sophomore at Eagle Valley High School.

Beaver Creek opened the intermediate Latigo run Wednesday, as well as some beginner terrain and 13 features in its Lumberyard Terrain Park. Nobody camped out overnight for first chair as a few men did at Vail last week, but the line was building as the 9 a.m. opening approached.

“It’s opening day – we’re trying to get first chair,” said Casey Barrett, 19, from Avon.

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Cold temperatures have made for perfect snowmaking at the resort, said John Garnsey, co-president of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division and chief operating officer for Beaver Creek. He said this season is one of the mountain’s best openings in recent years because of recent snowmaking capabilities.

In his 35 years in the valley, he’s seen plenty of Thanksgiving weeks where there’s no snow at all, he said.

“We’re one storm away from opening up some significant terrain,” Garnsey said.

About 14 inches of new snow fell at the top of the mountain last weekend, he said, with about nine inches coming in around Spruce Saddle, which is at the top of the Centennial Express chair lift.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a storm for the Vail Valley on Saturday and Sunday.

The Beaver Creek Park Crew worked hard this week getting the 13 Lumberyard features ready, including three new features – the C Rail, The Ledge Box and the Flat Down Rail.

Garnsey said the resort made snow for the park and the crew had everything set up in about two days.

“It was impressive,” Garnsey said.

Beaver Creek’s terrain parks are big attractions for the resort. With four parks and a halfpipe, park skiers and riders have plenty to entertain themselves with at the mountain.

The Park Crew members are passionate about the work they do – they ride the park, and want others who ride it to love it as much as they do, said Jason Feins, a Park Crew member for the last five years.

“(Beaver Creek’s parks) are really popular with all the locals,” Fein said. “There’s a camaraderie of all the locals – it’s one big family.”

Feins said the crew worked hard to open as many park features as possible because people expect it out of Beaver Creek. With one run open, it also gives skiers and snowboarders more options, he said. The crew didn’t just throw it together, either – members made sure the Lumberyard looked good for opening day.

“We pride ourselves on making it look good and flow,” Feins said. “There’s a cohesiveness.”

The skiers and riders noticed, too. Justin Hollis, a 14-year-old student at Gypsum Creek Middle School, said the park at Beaver Creek is “rad.”

Cheyenne Richardson, also a 14-year-old student at Gypsum Creek Middle School, said the Beaver Creek Park Crew knows how to build a park that people can enjoy. She said there are better boxes and rails than at Vail, and likes the atmosphere.

That’s the thing about Beaver Creek, said Andrew Craig, 20, from Edwards – “It’s just got a certain feel to it.”

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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