Neighborhood spotlight: Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Neighborhood spotlight: Beaver Creek

Kathy Filgo
Special to the Daily

The Beaver Creek Nordic Center offers opportunities for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

Beaver Creek had a bit of a shaky start this winter when the FIS Audi Birds of Prey World Cup ski races — scheduled to bring the world of professional ski racing to Beaver Creek Mountain — had to be canceled. Snow and snowmaking temperatures refused to come early enough in the season. Despite a very sophisticated snowmaking system standing at the ready, the weather obstinately stuck to its balmy path; and while the rest of the World Cup-related festivities carried on, the weather simply would not cooperate in time to allow the event to take place.

The snow gods have been smiling since those earlier days of winter, however, and Beaver Creek Mountain is now covered with the beautiful white fluffy stuff. The beaming faces of powder-hounds have been tearing it up on the slopes since early December as storms have continued to roll into the valley. The mountain has come alive, playing host to a plethora of winter activities with something fun and exciting to suit everyone's taste.

Put on your game face

The ski professionals may not have been here this year, but there are a lot of different racing opportunities taking place through February. On Mondays, the GoPro Race Day & Championship Series at Beaver Creek are ski races in which anyone of any age and any ability can compete. Both individuals and teams vie for more than $60,000 in giveaways and raffle items. Put on your game face and take the whole family for a fun-filled day of customized racing that will bring the thrill of the competition to all.

More ski racing will be happening this month at Beaver Creek Resort, as 15 high school ski teams from around the state of Colorado take to the slopes for intense competition. If you have missed watching accomplished skiers compete, then you might want to check this out.

Then the big dogs come to town as Beaver Creek presents the NCAA West Regional Championship Races, in which some of the best collegiate men and women will compete on both the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championship course and the Birds of Prey course.

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Tame the terrain

For the hardcore, it's time to embrace your own supreme mountain challenge and participate in the 14th annual Talons Challenge. Try to "tame the terrain" by addressing the best of the steeps at Beaver Creek — 26,000 vertical feet of black and double-black diamond runs on the west-facing slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain, as well as Grouse Mountain and Larkspur Bowl. Earn your spot on the Talon's wall of fame by completing all 14 runs.

If racing on snowshoes is more your speed, then Beaver Creek's Snowshoe Race Series offers 5K and 10K events with age-group awards after each race. There is even a 1K event for kids, so the entire family can enter.

A little more pageantry is in store, meanwhile, for those rocking Thursday Night Lights, in which skiers and riders of intermediate and above experience are invited to participate. Enjoy a Hollywood-like moment and ski down the mountain with glow sticks as music plays in the background, followed by a grand fireworks finale. This is a very special experience that will enliven all the senses.

Time to play in the snow

And if you would rather enjoy the snow-covered peaks with a cocktail in hand, then the award-winning Beano's Cabin presents gourmet fine dining. After a 20-minute open-air sleigh ride to set the tone, a five-course meal awaits at your destination, served nightly and accompanied by live music. It's an experience that's a memory maker.

Beaver Creek Mountain is a venue that is an international and neighborhood treasure, ready to present fun and adventure for all. The snow is deep, and whether your goal is to dare to conquer a downhill ski run or to enjoy a casual ski day with the family, it's time to play in the snow.