Local riders praise Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Local riders praise Beaver Creek

Chris Outcalt
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado
NWS Beav Parks 1 KA 01-04-09

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Brett Foord rarely calls any of his friends before going snowboarding at Beaver Creek. Chances are, they’re already there or are on their way.

He knows he’s bound to run into at least two or three people on the bus on the way to the lift he can ride with ” it’s the reason he traveled to Beaver Creek from South Africa for the last five years.

“It’s pretty simple,” said Foord, of the reason he keeps coming back. “The biggest thing is the community of riders ” everyone rides together.”

Being down the street from Vail Mountain has kept Beaver Creek under the radar, some locals say ” which is fine by Foord and the people he rides with.

Local snowboarder Rich Staats thinks Beaver Creek has quietly developed some of the best terrain parks in the country and a community of riders he wouldn’t trade for a day on any other mountain.

“There’s a community here that can’t be paralleled by Vail just because of the size,” Staats said.

The few times Foord doesn’t find someone on the bus to ride with are the days he meets someone new.

“There’s just a bunch of people that want to have fun and enjoy snowboarding,” he said. “There are a lot of snowboarders and not that many egos.”

Foord worked at the mountain for four seasons, but couldn’t get a job there this year. He decided he had to make the trip anyway.

“We definitely have a very nice community,” he said.

Beaver Creek has four different terrain parks ” Park 101, the Zoom Room, the Lumber Yard and The Rodeo ” and a halfpipe. This season was the first year the mountain opened a park on opening day.

The Lumber Yard opened for the first time last season. It was meant to be a temporary park, but was kept around because of its popularity. The Rodeo is new to the mountain this year. It’s the biggest of the four parks and includes rails and 50 foot jumps.

“Beaver Creek has been committed to its terrain parks for the past several years and has a complete top-to-bottom flow throughout all of the parks,” said Beaver Creek spokeswoman Jen Brown.

Staats praised what the mountain has done with its parks.

“Beaver Creek might not be known for it, but there’s some pretty extreme terrain,” Staats said. “What the park crew has done over the past few years is establish themselves aside from Vail.”

Staats has gotten sick of defending Beaver Creek.

“I hear Vail’s Back Bowls are legendary,” he said. “You might want to check them out.”

He’s working on developing an unofficial guide to riding Beaver Creek ” http://www.ridethebeav.com. The page will be a sort of social networking Web site for local snowboarders at Beaver Creek, Staats said.

Staats got the idea for the Web site about a year ago.

“I love this mountain,” he said. “This is my community, so I started to think what I could do. Being an athlete is not enough.”

He plans to include interactive terrain park maps, profiles of local riders and the mountain’s park crew, video and photo galleries, and forums for people to discuss the mountain.

“We want to showcase some of the guys that are destroying the mountain and have been around forever and really deserve the spotlight,” Staats said. “The guys we look up to as riders, they’re here, they haven’t left, they didn’t move to Summit County. I’m sure there are a million reasons, but at the end of the day they’re still here.”

Staats is from the East Coast and considers Mt. Snow in Vermont his home mountain when he’s there. But none of the places he’s snowboarded there have anywhere near the type of tight-knit riding community Beaver Creek does.

“It’s dog-eat-dog out there,” Staats said. “Certain mountains have that ‘I’m cooler than you’ feeling where you don’t feel welcome. You don’t get that here.”

The site might also include some private forums where locals can talk about their favorite spots on the mountain they might want to keep somewhat secret.

“This is a mountain of Easter eggs, everywhere you look there’s something new,” he said. “One of the things we want to keep is that mentality. People have been looking for these stashes for years.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism