It’s no secret that Beaver Creek definitively ranks among the top family-friendly ski resorts on the planet. Frankly, if you just show up, you’re likely to have a good holiday. However, we’ve learned that the difference between a good family trip and a great family trip lies in the details. Below are our insider tips and resources to help families make the most of their vacation.
When traveling to Beaver Creek, you can forgo the exorbitant airline baggage fees, teetering luggage carts and children squashed in the car by loads of gear. Ski Butlers takes the hassle out of rentals by providing custom ski, snowboard and boot fittings at your hotel or home rental. They’ll come to you at your convenience with a variety of rental options for the whole family. No more waiting in long lines or chaotic rental shops to get everyone sorted. (Cue fussy 4-year-old!) Plus, if you have any issues with your equipment during your stay, Ski Butlers will meet you within 30 minutes to exchange items so that they meet your needs.
For those who want to BYO, Ski Podz is a great alternative to checking items. They provide a pod for you to load up your gear and ship it ahead of time to your hotel, condo or, even better, The White Carpet Club (see below). Your pod is guaranteed to arrive on time or they will provide demo equipment free of charge. Should you ship directly to the White Carpet Club, your skis or snowboards will be at the ski valet waiting for you. Easy.
Ski-in/ski-out accommodations are the ultimate luxury when booking a winter holiday, but when that’s not an option, make a reservation at the White Carpet Club. Brand-new this season, the White Carpet Club offers daily and weekly memberships to their lounge near the base of the gondola. Each membership is good for a family of four, and includes preferred underground parking, private lockers, a concierge to assist with lift tickets, reservations and activity planning, and best of all, a ski valet right next to the gondola line. In my opinion, any option to minimize carrying skis (not to mention kids’ skis and poles) while wearing ski boots is a good option!
The lounge is also stocked with complimentary sunscreen, hand warmers, cocoa, coffee and snacks. We love the convenience of easy parking, being able to get ready for the day close to the slopes, and having our gear and skis waiting for us at the gondola.
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Beaver Creek has an abundance of family-friendly activities all winter long. The Beaver Creek Resort website is a great resource to learn about events for children and teens taking place during your stay.
The Ski & Snowboard School at Beaver Creek is well known as one of the best around. Most people think of lessons solely for children or beginners, but even a family of advanced skiers/riders should consider booking a private family lesson, which enables families to tailor the day exactly to suit their needs. You can request bumps, jumps, terrain park skills, or just work on the basics.
The days we’ve spent with a private instructor have been some of my family’s all-time favorite days on mountain. The instructors are not only great coaches, but also great guides. Fulfilling the request of our boys, we spent most of our last lesson skiing in the trees. We gained new skills but also found runs we never would have discovered on our own. Similar to making a trip to a big city, hiring a guide with local knowledge can greatly enhance your experience. Instructors know all about the mountain, the wildlife (did you know there are porcupines in the trees?), where to find the best conditions of the day and where to avoid the crowds.
Private lessons work best with groups of the same ability, but you can also split lesson time between the family throughout the day to cater to different levels or interests. During a lesson, you’ll also get priority access to lift lines, which can mean a lot more skiing for everyone. Granted, a private lesson is expensive, but we found it to be a great experience and a good value as well.
If your kids still have energy at dusk, sign them up for Thursday Night Lights. This free weekly event is open to intermediate (and above) skiers and snowboarders. Participants make a glow-stick trail of light as they ski down the mountain at dusk, to music ending with a finale of fireworks — a fun and unique experience. Signup is at the Children’s Ski School.
At most resorts, on-mountain dining is nothing to write home about, but Beaver Creek has some great options. Talons Restaurant, located at the base of lifts 9, 10 and 11, is open for breakfast and lunch. Their breakfast sandwich is terrific, and for lunch they have excellent salads, burgers and pizza.
For something different, try Mamie’s Mountain Grill, located at the top of lift 16. Set on a large deck with great views, this spot features a selection of “grill-your-own” items. The burgers are especially good.
If you have time for a longer break, try SaddleRidge, located at the base of the cat trail behind the top of lift 2. This hidden gem is one of our favorites. The restaurant was decorated by Ralph Lauren’s interior designer of choice and holds the largest collection of western artifacts outside of a museum (including some cool items such as Geronimo’s hatchet). On arrival you can exchange your ski boots for slippers and take in a bit of local history. The food is excellent and similarly priced to the faster options on mountain.
Need to entice your little ones to take one more run after lunch? Let them know about Candy Cabin at the top of Strawberry Park Lift. It’s a fun stop and full of sweets for every taste.
For meals in the village, Blue Moose Pizza is a kid-friendly pizza joint. It’s boisterous but fun, and they have good pizza to boot. If you are after a more reserved setting, Toscanini offers upscale northern Italian fare next door. The dining room is cozy, and their excellent food ranges from pizza pomodoro to local organic salmon and veal piccata.
For a really special experience, take a sleigh ride to dinner at Beano’s Cabin. Rug up, as it’s a chilly ride, but nevertheless it’s an enjoyable and unique way to get to dinner. Beano’s has a beautiful dining room, attentive service and excellent regional fare. There is a 5p early seating for families; the menu is fixed-course and a kids’ menu is available.
As much as we love to ski, it’s also good to vary the activities. For the kids, there is ice skating in the village, Adventure Ridge in nearby Vail and family-friendly performances regularly scheduled at the Villar Center. For parents looking to ease sore muscles, Beaver Creek has an excellent choice of spas. Two of my favorites are Spa Anjali and Allegria Spa — both have well-deserved spots on the Conde Nast Traveler list of the top 25 spas in the world.
Editor’s Note: Beaver Creek Resort provided Ciao Bambino with a media package to facilitate our review. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Leslie Rich.
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