Beaver Creek opens for 2011-12 season |

Beaver Creek opens for 2011-12 season

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – Skier and riders looking to satisfy a sweet tooth today should look no further than Beaver Creek Resort’s opening day – there will be chocolate chip cookies gallore.

The resort opens this morning with five chair lifts and 253 acres of terrain – that’s 12 trails, including a terrain park. Those who arrive in the morning will be greeted with Beaver Creek’s famous chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate for a small taste of what’s to come throughout the season.

The seasonal recipe for those cookies, however, will be chosen this afternoon at the annual cookie competition in Beaver Creek Village at 2 p.m. The winner gets $1,000, and the resort then makes his or her recipe for its daily Cookie Time program throughout the season.

In addition to the cookie tradition, there’s more to be excited about at Beaver Creek this season as the resort touts some new upgrades and programs for 2011-12.

The shiny new Rose Bowl lift will not be among the lifts open Wednesday, but resort officials are already excited about the new lift and what it’s going to do for the resort as a whole. Beaver Creek spokeswoman Jen Brown said the new lift is going to improve skier circulation rather dramatically.

“It transforms the whole eastern side of the mountain,” Brown said. “It just really better connects the area. It lessens the density impacts on chairs 6 and 8 – the whole area now has the opportunity for better utilization and easier flow-through.”

There will also be more grooming on select trails in the Rose Bowl, which Brown said should provide the higher level skiers with more groomed options. And because the new chair lift is cutting ride times in half in the Rose Bowl – down to just over five minutes – it will be able to carry 2,400 people per hour.

The reduced ride time is significant because the lift used to be a bit of a drag for people who wanted to do quick laps through that terrain. Brown said the resort is now anticipating people to spend more time in the area, whereas before it was rare for a skier or snowboarder to spend even a couple of hours in there.

Another great thing about the new high speed quad’s ride time is that people who are enjoying themselves can get more mileage out of their day if they choose to stay in that terrain, Brown said.

“I think it definitely will shift traffic patterns,” she said. “It opens up that terrain quite a bit.”

The U.S. Forest Service approved the new lift last season, and the removal of the old lift began quickly after the resort closed for the 2010-11 season. Doug Lovell, Beaver Creek’s vice president and chief operating officer, said the new lift is going to help create a better guest experience, something the resort is always focused on in terms of upgrades, he said.

“I think it’s a real addition,” Lovell said. “… It does a lot of things for us.”

There’s a reason Beaver Creek Resort consistently gets top marks for its family programs in Ski Magazine’s annual reader survey. Beaver Creek knows families – they’re who the resort caters to.

Lovell said the resort is coming off one of its best-ever guest experience seasons based on surveys and other feedback. The momentum is carrying into the 2011-12 season, too, he said.

The resort is introducing Winterfest, a celebration from Dec. 19 through Jan. 1 that will feature everything from theatrics to decorations to interactive familiy events and activities.

Brown said families are a part of Beaver Creek’s core, which is why so many programs are geared toward families. The program will include a parade, disco skate nights, figure skating performances, ice sculpture demonstrations and a family Friday afternoon club where kids can meet ski patrol and avalanche dogs, among other things.

Beaver Creek Resort, the Vail Resorts’ last Colorado resort to open for the 2011-12 season, is welcoming the new Epic Mix Photo program with open arms.

The program, which allows skiers and snowboarders to share photographs of their experience with friends on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on, is the latest technology upgrade across the company’s resorts.

Epic Mix became wildly popular during its first season in 2010-11. Skiers used their statistics for bragging rights and competitions with their friends, and now they can add professional photographs to the mix, too.

It’s something that skiers in Vail were already talking about at opening day last week, and Brown can see why Beaver Creek Resort will benefit from the new program, too.

“I think it’s a tremendous addition to all of our resorts,” Brown said. “We all love to share photos, share memories – that’s part of the ski and snowboarding experience.”

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

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