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Skiing, Boarding, Snowshoeing, Shopping, Dining—The Beaver Creek Experience

Author, Carpe Travel blog
What makes a family ski vacation “epic?” It all depends on how your family defines epic. If your family is like mine, each person has his or her own definition. Mine is extremely different from my two young kids and even varies from my husband. That doesn’t mean everyone can’t have an amazing family ski vacation. It is possible, which is why we keep going back to Beaver Creek. There is something there to satisfy everyone’s definition of epic.
  • Some of the best terrain in the world for my husband.
  • Countless activities both on and off the mountain for my kids.
  • A chance to actually take a vacation during a family vacation for me.
Of all the family vacation destinations we’ve visited, Beaver Creek is one we have found that’s worth repeating. These are just a few of the reasons:

Conquer the mountain … together

There is something to be said about the sense of empowerment and accomplishment you get when you conquer a mountain. But, for kids (and new skiers), getting there can be an uphill battle if it’s not done well.
Our kids have taken both group lessons and private lessons with the skilled—and highly entertaining—ski instructors at Beaver Creek. Each time we watched them go into the lessons unsure about the day that lay ahead and their ability to make it out in one piece.
But as we picked them up that afternoon, we saw that each one had a new sense of confidence and accomplishment. They were able to look up at the hill they just skied down, knowing they did it. They just conquered a mountain—on their own. This empowerment is priceless and goes well beyond the ski slopes.
As our kids have gotten older and become more advanced skiers, we wanted to experience a lesson with them. I was hesitant to take a family lesson at Beaver Creek since both my husband and I are seasoned skiers but felt it was important to see how and what the kids did with an instructor. This would help us be able to better help them on the mountain.
What we got was unexpected bonding time with our kids and a unique way to experience the mountain. We even got an introduction to areas of Beaver Creek we had never explored, such as Teepee Village. We skied through trees, tunnels, and jumps. I had no idea they had developed such skills!


Put a little sweet in your life

It’s after lunch, the sun is out, and the snow is perfect. It’s time to catch the last few runs of the day. 
But my kids are drained and I’m not too far behind them. 
We need a pick-me-up, a push to get everyone to do those last few runs before calling it a day. Enter Candy Cabin—the push or rather the sugar rush we needed.
Located at the top of the Strawberry Park Express Lift and the Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express lift, Candy Cabin is a truly unique Beaver Creek experience. Barrels of salt water taffy fill the room. 
Candy dispensers filled with the sweetest concoctions line the walls. It’s somewhat awe-inspiring for candy lovers or at least for my kids who stopped and studied the small cabin for nearly five minutes before grabbing a bag and making their way around.
Kids of all ages will enjoy the classic candy options—jaw breakers the size of your fist, Sour Worms, Jelly Belly’s, Swedish Fish, malt balls, caramels, and locally produced artisan chocolates, to name a few. 
The candy is sold by the pound so it’s easy to load up on everyone’s favorites.

Ice skating, snowshoeing, shopping, and so much more

For those times you do skip the slopes, it’s easy to spend a day shopping, dining, and soaking in the atmosphere in the intimate alpine village. With more than 50 shops and restaurants, you’re bound to find something to complement your winter wardrobe. In my case, I tend to find a few too many.
I’ve been known to skip the slopes and relax in one of the luxury spas the resort is home to. My favorite is the spa at The Ritz Carlton. Its co-ed grotto is truly an escape—and no kids are allowed during the day, making serenity during a family vacation a reality. The best vacation day—for me—is spent here. I drop the kids off at ski school, pop into Starbucks, and sip my latte.
Then I strap on the skis and head over to The Ritz at Bachelor Gulch. Once I’ve gotten in a mid-morning massage, I indulge in a soak in the grotto for an hour—or two—before meeting my husband for lunch and a few afternoon runs.
On occasion, my kids have opted to hit the family ice rink instead of skiing. They’ll skate for hours, pretending to be figure skaters in the Olympics. When it’s time to warm up, we’ll snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate at one of the fire pits alongside the rink.
Snowshoeing is my favorite alternative to skiing both for exercise and as a way to explore parts of the mountain few skiers ever go. This is an opportunity to truly see and experience nature at its fullest—scouting for fox tracks, checking the trees for bear scratches, winding your way through an Aspen grove, listening to the stillness of the snow, stopping often to take a deep breath and take in all the beauty the mountains offer. It doesn’t get much better than this.


Over the mountain and through the hills…

There is no shortage of fun and unique experiences at Beaver Creek but a dinner sleigh ride to Allie’s Cabin is one not to be missed.
On special nights throughout the winter, Allie’s Cabin—one of Beaver Creeks’ three famed private, on-mountain fine dining cabins—is open to the public for Allie’s Cabin Family Dinners. This is one of those experiences that makes memories (you must make reservations!).
My kids love snuggling up under the pile of warm blankets as we ride up the mountain in an open-air sleigh, surrounded by snow-covered trees and more stars than you can imagine. Each is competing with each other, in true sibling fashion, to see who can catch the most snowflakes on his or her tongue.
After the short, 10-minute ride we arrived at the cozy cabin where we were treated to a gourmet culinary experience. Even the kids walked away talking about how amazing the food was. Yes, there is gourmet Macaroni and Cheese on the menu, albeit, I’d recommend the steak or another house specialty such as the chocolate tart. It will blow any chocolate lover's mind!
The kids are exhausted but in the best way possible. They are full to the brim with a new confidence on the hill and we are bursting with pride as we recap all that they’ve learned in the past few days.
We leave feeling invigorated with new family memories—plus, my kids are already counting down to the next ski trip. We know we’ll be back at Beaver Creek soon, where those warm chocolate chip cookies will be waiting.

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