Yep, that’s the tag line that Beaver Creek, Colorado embraces: not exactly roughing it. And, you know what? When I’m faced with three kids, ski equipment, ski lessons, safety and a climate I’m just not all that familiar with, not exactly roughing it is pretty perfect.
This past Spring Break we booked a last minute trip to Colorado, splitting our time between Denver and Beaver Creek. The trip was amazing. So much so, we’re going back to Beaver Creek in December.
Where we stayed:
After many recommendations, we decided to stay at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa At Beaver Creek Mountain (ranked #1 out of 21 hotels in Beaver Creek by Trip Advisor). This practically new hotel is actually located in Avon, just down the mountain from Beaver Creek. Don’t worry, the ski area and village are just a gondola ride, or short bus ride, away. This means no car needed, which was a must.
The hotel is an eco-friendly hotel and welcomes dogs, has a spa, a workout facility, kids’ club, heated outdoor pools (that you can actually swim laps in), hot tubs and beautiful views. The rooms are spacious and we are big fans. On a previous trip (albeit a decade ago), we stayed in Beaver Creek Village, which is also great, but the prices at the Westin are a little bit better (especially if you take advantage of one of their special offers), and we liked being “close enough” with all these added amenities. When I recently read that this property was honored by Condé Nast as the 2011 #2 Top Resort in Mainland U.S, I knew that I needed to share my experience as I completely agree.
*Note: We were not paid for this endorsement, not were we comped rooms. We simply had a great time and wanted to share.
If convenience is your biggest concern and you want to be right on bottom of the slopes, the Park Hyatt is where you want to stay. (They are ranked #6 of 21 on Trip Advisor):
My kids had never been skiing before, and they each insisted that this was the “best trip ever” and they wanted to stay longer (we stayed four nights, so they got three days of skiing in). I’ve never seen a more bummed out trio about leaving a vacation.
The ski school was well organized and easy to navigate. Spring Break is their busiest time of year and we never felt overwhelmed. The kids were broken out by age, with about 8 to a group. We waved goodbye at 9:00 and picked them up at 3:30. It’s amazing how quickly kids catch on, and these all-day ski lessons were perfect. I will say that my kids weren’t too thrilled after day #1. But on day #2, the tune quickly changed to, “Can we do this every year?”
When you ski at Spring Break, temperatures sometimes soar into the 40’s, so you can get hot. But, being hot surrounded by snow is pretty fun. And, having exhausted kids by the end of the day, who are eager to eat and go to bed gives parents a sense of peace. They are pretty much too tired to argue and too tired to want to go “hang out” with their friends. As my oldest is an almost-teenager, I like this part. I don’t want her begging to wander off to go hang with friends. I want any “hanging with any friends” to happen on the slopes, in broad daylight, with hot chocolate as the reward for a day well spent.
Beaver Creek definitely is not a poor man’s getaway. Believe me, I felt poor walking around, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the sites, the food and the shopping. Everyone is just so dang nice. It’s no wonder its been voted “Best Guest Service in the Country” by the National Ski Areas Association for the last 5 consecutive years. They know they have a reputation for being helpful, having one of the best ski schools is the WORLD and being friendly. There are better mountains for more experienced skiers to ski. There are bigger towns in which to ski. But, for an overall package that appeals to all ages, Beaver Creek gives other destinations a run for their money.
In fact, one of the most appealing things about Beaver Creek is its size – it’s not huge. However, it’s big enough to have shopping you are familiar with (Patagonia, The North Face and Gorsuch) as well as the locally-owned and unique shops which make up the bulk of the shopping experience here. Beaver Creek is small enough to run into people you know and to learn your way around within minutes. There are plenty of options for dining, shopping and recreation. You can try something new everyday, if that is your wish.
Lastly, Beaver Creek is just really pretty. And, to me, that matters!
As you consider any upcoming travel this year or next, I heartily recommend a ski vacation. It keeps kids of all ages (meaning age 3 – adult kids) happy and it’s a “healthy” way to vacation, as it’s jammed packed with exercise. Plus, being from the south, embracing the beauty of our western states gives us a better perspective on just how beautiful our country is.
We’d love to know you recommendations for a vacation to Beaver Creek!