Beaver Creek Mountain opens today with 31 trails |

Beaver Creek Mountain opens today with 31 trails

Veronica Whitney
NWS BC Skiing2 11-21-03 CS

For those skiers and riders hounding for powder, the Rose Bowl at Beaver Creek is the place to be.

Beaver Creek is opening today with about one third of its skiable terrain, 470 acres and 31 trails – and many of those trails have untracked powder. The rest will be groomed by 9 a.m. when the mountain officially opens for the season, though the U.S. Ski Team and some other world cup racers have been training at Beaver Creek since last week.

“Our goal is to provide a good and safe surface,” said Christina Schleicher, spokeswoman for Beaver Creek. “We’ve had snowmakers and ski patrollers checking on the quality of the slopes.”

The ski resort has received nearly five feet of snow since Nov. 1 and is

reporting a 19-inch settled base at mid-mountain.

“The average snowfall for November is 65 inches at the top and we have 55 at mid-mountain,” Schleicher said.

Adam Borg, assistant director for the Beaver Creek ski patrol, said

different slopes require different coverage depending on their base – if there’s grass or rocks.

“We had a lot of wet snow this fall and that helps to make a better base,” Borg said.

He recommends skiing the area serviced by the Cinch Express Lift, formerly known as the Birds of Prey lift.

“There’s plenty of natural snow there and great views,” he said Friday. “But Saturday – if it snows (Friday) night – it could be a different thing.”

More snow was on its way Friday afternoon, said the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

“It will be a pretty snowy weekend,” said meteorologist Brian Avery. “It will start snowing early Saturday, so by mid-morning there could be a couple inches on the ground already.”

Avery said he expected a half-foot of snow to accumulate in the mountains by Saturday night.

“More trails will be opening as conditions permit,” Borg said. “We’ll take it day by day. We’re trying to open a safe product.”

Beaver Creek has 1,625 acres of skiable terrain and 146 trails.

Although there’s plenty of snow, Borg warns riders and skiers that there could still be some inherent risks on the slopes.

“I’m not saying to take your rock skis out, just to be careful,” he added.

A preview tour of the mountain Friday showed great coverage and lots of powder on Ripsaw, Cataract and Sheephorn. Groomed runs will include Centennial, Latigo, Gold Dust, and easy terrain at the top of the mountain.

“It was really nice!” said Petra Sambergerova, 36, a skier from Avon who got to test the mountain Friday.

“There’s some good powder,” said Sambergerova after skiing down Cataract in Rose Bowl. “Go find it!”

On Friday morning, Tim Meyers, 22, was shoveling snow by the Rose Bowl chair to create a smooth area for the skiers and snowboarders who will wait to ride the lift today.

“I chose to be a lift operator, I think it’s the best job in the mountain,” said Meyers, who recently arrived from Minnesota for his first season in the valley. “I just took my first (run) down Stone Creek and it was so nice.”

Today, Beaver Creek’s Operation Cookie chefs will treat hungry skiers and

riders to free homemade cookies at the base of the Centennial Express.

Those cookies may come in handy if, as forecast, temperatures drop and winds start howling.

Avery said to expect daytime highs of 20 degrees and wind gusts between 30 and 40 miles an hour, at times.

“One concern is the wind from the north and north west that can cause drifting and blowing snow,” he said. “And Saturday night, temperatures will fall into the single digits.”

Sunday, highs will range from 5 to 15 degrees with lows of 5 below.

“In addition to the cookies, the first 2,000 skiers and riders will receive a special Beaver Creek lanyard,” Schleicher said.

Among this season’s events, the Men’s World Cup racing returns to Beaver Creek with the Birds of Prey Downhill and Super G races slated for Dec. 6 and 7.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at

At a glance

What lifts are open

– The Centennial Express Lift, Chair 6

– Haymeadow Lift, Chair 1

– Cinch Express Lift, Chair 8

– Rose Bowl Lift, Chair 4

Lifts are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The ticket office opens at 8:30 a.m.

For grooming reports, log on to

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