Join a family travel specialist and her family as they introduce their 4-year-old to the joys of snowsports at this upscale Colorado resort.
Spring turned out to be a perfect time for us Floridians to experience our first family ski trip. Lured by bright sunshine and mild temperatures, we ventured to Beaver Creek, Colorado for the resort’s last week of skiing. Fortunately, for us, the area received one of the season’s biggest snowfalls the day before we arrived.
Beaver Creek, a gated ski resort community, is small and secure enough for families with children to navigate from any of its accommodation offerings (75 percent are ski-in/ski-out). The resort boasts 17 lifts, 149 trails with 1,805 acres of skiable area. The quaint slopeside village includes several dining options (from pizza to fondue), upscale shops, a performing arts center, art galleries as well as the ski schools and plenty of ski rental operations. In the center of the village is a year-round skating rink always busy hosting one of many popular family activities.
Lots of Snow Fun
Beaver Creek provides an abundance of family-friendly activities, like most of the major ski resorts. Combined with the amenities of nearby Vail resort (shuttle buses are available between the two resorts), the opportunities are endless. Families can add dog sled adventures, fireworks, horseback riding, and sleighrides to a list of fun adventures when they are not busy skiing or snowboarding. We especially enjoyed our visit to Adventure Ridge, 10,000-feet above Vail via the Lionshead Gondola. The gondola is actually free to ride from 2-10pm. Tubing down the mountain was a big hit as well as riding child-size snowmobiles. Full-size snowmobiling tours, ski-biking, snowshoe and snowskate rentals, and after-dusk Laser Tag are also offered.
Learning & Childcare Programs
A comprehensive ski and snowboard school provides a wonderful opportunity for adults and children as young as 3 (who are out of diapers) to learn or polish their skills. Choose from half-day or full-day programs for the youngest beginners; but only full day programs are available for older children. For infants through age 6, a well-organized childcare center is located in the village.
In addition, a fun children’s evening program by the Vail Ski and Snowboard School, called Night Owl Beaver Creek has a similar “kids night out” program once a week through February and March, with a Western theme for kids 5 to12-years. take places twice a week for 6 to14-year-olds and includes dinner and activities.
Our stay at the centrally located Park Hyatt (970/949-1234) proved to be convenient as well. The Haymeadow chair lift is only steps away from the rear of the hotel. Guests can easily access the mountain and store their equipment right at the hotel. This friendly property offers large rooms (that come with an empty refrigerator to fill with your own drinks and snacks), a Camp Hyatt, supervised children’s program, several restaurants including a kid-friendly deli, indoor and outdoor fireplace. The hotel also boasts a new spa, large fitness room, outdoor heated pool and several whirlpools.
We also stayed a few nights at Borders Lodge (800 846-0233) which is located next to a lift that was not in service so late in the season. The two- bedroom/two bath condo with sofabed provides more room for larger families and has full kitchen facilities. The lodge also included free indoor parking.
Traveling to Beaver Creek was seamless as well. Our 2½-hour drive from the Denver airport provided stunning views of the Rockies. Nearby Eagle Vail airport is more convenient to the resort, but offers less flight destinations.
Overall, there is nothing better than to watch a 4-year-old experience snow for the first time! With so many fun activities, great choice of accommodations and stunning vistas, our trip to Beaver Creek will not be our last family ski adventure.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.