NY Times Bestselling Author, Writer for USA Today and Forbes
There are worse ways to arrive at a ski resort than by helicopter.
I know, because before flying into Beaver Creek’s helipad like a rock star, I’d tried just about every other method of ski country transport, from chauffeured SUV to horse-drawn sled.
Whoever said, “Getting there is half the fun,” definitely had this kind of commute in mind. If you are going all-in on a luxury ski vacation, Beaver Creek is the place to do it.
This is going to be our test and we are going to test.
The helicopter allows me to see drop-dead beautiful scenery unfolding below in the vast expanses of the White River National Forest and do a fly-by of the Mount of the Holy Cross, one of Colorado’s most famous 14ers or 14,000-foot peaks.
When I think I see a bear (I’m wrong), the pilot seems to know the truth but humors me and politely loops around so we can be get a better look at the tree stump. Even that is fun and really, there’s no such thing a bad scenic helicopter flight.
It also got us to the ski resort about half an hour faster than driving, which meant another half hour on the slopes—important because we had started our day on the East Coast and it’s rare that I can ski at all on my day of arrival out West.
But Beaver Creek is a rarefied place, especially if, like me, you are on the “Beaver Creek Reserve Package.” I’ve just arrived and so far it lives up to its name—I’m whisked from the helipad to the White Carpet Club, a recently added private valet and locker facility in the heart of the slopeside village, where the package gives me temporary membership.
We brought our boots but Rentskis Gold, Beaver Creek’s premier ski delivery service, is waiting for my wife and me with a selection of demos.
We make a quick change, hand off our luggage to our “cabin keeper”—more on that later—and hit the slopes.

Beaver Creek thinks of it first

The first time I skied at Beaver Creek was more than 15 years ago and I was wowed by what were then state-of-the-art amenities unheard of in skiing. The village was carefully designed with strategically placed escalators so guests would not have to climb or descend stairs in ski boots, a minor annoyance but an annoyance nonetheless, and one that had long simply been accepted as an unfortunate part of skiing everywhere else.
The village streets were heated from below, always snow free, so women could head to dinner in heels if it struck their fancy. In the years since, I’ve realized that this is the real magic of the place, fixing ski vacation problems you didn’t even know you had, no matter how minor.
For example, Beaver Creek’s signature amenity is freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Years ago they had the bright idea to start handing these out in the late afternoon around the base of the slopes and it was pretty much a no-brainer. They smell great and taste great and who doesn’t love a warm cookie in winter? I know I do.
Like the escalators, it was a treat I didn’t realize I was missing until they introduced it, and now I look forward to it every time. Fortunately they bake a half million cookies a season so there are plenty to go around.
Now, every time I return to Beaver Creek, there’s some new “why didn’t someone think of that before?” bell or whistle to make my ski vacation better, and on my most recent visit, that meant the Beaver Creek Reserve, a slew of luxury offerings, whether packaged and purchased individually for a special treat—such as First Tracks at Beaver Creek.
Like most who ski out West, I want pristine snow, whether it's floating through unbroken powder or carving high-speed turns in immaculate untouched corduroy. So I’m thrilled that First Tracks at Beaver Creek comes as part of my package, though the limited spots are open to anyone who wants to register for the days it is offered.
This small group gets to hit the slopes a full hour before the lifts open to the public, boarding the high-speed Centennial Chair Lift at 7:30 a.m. for laps with the resort’s Ambassador team of mostly ski instructors. It’s amazing how many turns you can get in 60 minutes with no lines, fast lifts, perfect conditions, and empty slopes.
After ripping it up, the First Tracks group adjourns to Allie’s Cabin, a private restaurant in a log cabin, for a delicious included breakfast. Fresh snow first thing in the morning is a great way to work up an appetite, and now that the mountain is open, there’s a full day of skiing ahead, and we’ll need the fuel.

Cool enough for "The Bachelor"

But the best part of the Beaver Creek Reserve Package is one I’ve been jealously eyeing for years. Hidden in a mini-forest of birch trees, just off the top of the Bachelor Gulch Express Lift and adjacent to Mamie’s Mountain Grill, is Trappers Cabin, the coolest digs in skiing. So cool they used it for a season of "The Bachelor."
So cool I’ve always wanted to see the inside. And now I get my chance.
Mamie’s closes, the final few skiers of the day head down, and finally ski patrol does its sweep and the lifts stop turning. But we’re still here. Lots of ski resorts boast ski in/ski out lodging but Trappers is ski in/ski down—literally the only accommodation on the mountain, just shy of 9,600 feet up.
Finish your ski day near the top of the Bachelor Gulch Express Lift and you can walk right in (or get whisked up by snowmobile). We do just that, only to be greeted at the door by our cabin attendant, carrying a tray of canapes and flutes of champagne.
Welcome home.
For the next three nights we have the peak to ourselves, though Trappers could also hold eight more of our closest friends. It’s a deluxe four-bedroom log cabin rented only to a single party, often as part of the four-day Beaver Creek Reserve Package, though you can book single nights.
After draining our glasses and settling in with a quick tour of the place, we donned a couple of pairs of the snowshoes the cabin is stocked with and made a loop of the mountaintop trails, with the entire peak to ourselves, taking in vistas and wilderness in the fading light.
Returning to the cabin, we poured more bubbly and toasted a glorious Rocky Mountain sunset from the huge hot tub on the deck, kissing sore muscles goodbye while welcoming an evening under the stars. That first night a chef arrived by snowmobile to cook a private dinner in the cabin, followed by a spirited game of 8-ball in the billiard room, and finally, nightcaps by the roaring fire.
From the moment we clicked into our bindings that afternoon to when we fell exhausted into bed, not a moment of vacation fun was wasted.
But that was just the beginning. In the mornings, our breakfasts around the big table were interrupted by a knock on the door, as our private ski instructor and guide arrived, an integral part of the Trappers experience, as the location allows you to hit the trail before the first chair reaches the top.
In the nights to come, our dining choices multiplied thanks to our personal “chauffeur.” The cabin attendant picked us up and drove us around in a customized passenger snow cat, allowing us to enjoy après in the village and memorable meals across the length and breadth of the resort, all from our exclusive mountaintop hideaway.
A stay at Trappers Cabin sums up the Beaver Creek ski vacation experience, cutting out wasted time and effort and making every moment count, even if the moment is just relaxing by the fire with a book in hand (we never even fired up the elaborate home theater).
But I’ve also stayed at just about every hotel in Beaver Creek and always had a great time, even without the Beaver Creek Reserve experiences or helicopter.
From sleigh ride dinners at Beano’s or Zach’s Cabin to Thursday night wine pairing meals at Allie’s—complete with the best view of the weekly fireworks—there is no end to special activity and dining options.
Lunch at SaddleRidge, amidst the largest privately owned collection of Western art and memorabilia in the world, is another hidden gem worth seeking out, as are the guided snowshoe and wine tours.
Like First Tracks or conquering the Talon’s Challenge—an all-day black and double black marathon for the hardiest skiers—the folks here just keep thinking of new options to enhance my ski vacation experience, no matter where I stay.
As our time at Beaver Creek wound toward an end, I couldn’t help but wonder, what will they add next year?

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