New Beaver Creek chairlifts open Dec. 18 |

New Beaver Creek chairlifts open Dec. 18

Tamara Miller

BEAVER CREEK – Helicopters floating over Avon on Saturday were a sign of good times to come for skiers.After months of work on the $13 million mini-base area called Beaver Creek Landing, crews began installing two high-speed chairlifts that will run to the top of Beaver Creek Mountain. Beaver Creek Landing is next to the Tarnes apartment complex on Prater Lane. On Dec. 18, skiers trying to avoid the lift lines and crowds in Beaver Creek Village can start at Beaver Creek Landing, ride right to the top of Strawberry Park and begin their day there. “We’re really excited about Beaver Creek Landing,” said Beaver Creek spokeswoman Christina Schleicher. “A plan has been in the works for quite some to offer a convenient alternative entry point for locals and guests.”There will be a temporary lift ticket office and a restroom at the new entry point. A new 500-space parking lot, called the Wolf Lot, is next door. People needing ski or snowboard lessons, equipment rentals or who want a bite to eat before hitting the slopes will still need to go through Beaver Creek Village, Schleicher said. How it’s doneWork on the new lift tower and lifts will depend on the weather and will take about three to five days to complete. Helicopter operations will be staged on Beaver Creek Mountain in the resort’s Strawberry Park area. “We’re thrilled to enhance our village-to-village ski and snowboard experience this winter with the addition of the new lifts,” said John Garnsey, chief operating officer for Beaver Creek. “Providing an alternative entry point for the mountain will help improve skier and rider circulation on the slopes and offer convenient alternative access to some of our best terrain.”The first lift, Lower Beaver Creek Mountain Express Lift, will rise from Beaver Creek Landing and will connect with a second lift, Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express Lift, running from an area in Bachelor Gulch to the top of Strawberry Park. Ride time for both lifts will total about 18 minutes. Uphill capacity for each lift will be 2,400 skiers and snowboarders per hour.From the top of the second lift, guests will be able to ski or snowboard from Strawberry Park to Bachelor Gulch, Arrowhead, the expert Talons terrain and Beaver Creek Mountain via the beginner run, Beaver Creek Mountain Expressway. Those who enter the mountain via Beaver Creek Landing can catch a shuttle ride back to their vehicles in Beaver Creek Village. Or, they can ski or snowboard back to their vehicles via a beginner run called Leav the Beav, which starts at the bottom of the Bachelor Gulch Express Lift.The line forms hereAnything to break up the crowds a bit is a good thing, said Hans Herner, an Eagle County native and Eagle-Vail resident.The parking lots along Highway 6 crowd on good snow days, Herner said. A Christy Sports employee, he’ll still go up to Beaver Creek Village on the days he works. But when he’s off work, he’ll probably use Beaver Creek Landing, he said. “It would be nice to be able to just get on the mountain right away,” Herner said. Having a new entry point will be helpful on busy days, like during the Christmas holiday, said Jay Smith, Eagle-Vail resident. But he’ll probably still take a bus out of Avon up to Beaver Creek Village and ride the Centennial Lift.”I usually meet my friends there,” he said.Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or to Get There• From U.S. Highway 6, turn south onto Prater Road.• Follow the road up to The Tarnes apartment complex.• Just past The Tarnes is a Bachelor Ridge Road. Turn right.• Park in the Wolf Lot, get your gear on, and walk over to Beaver Creek Landing.========================================================

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