25/04/2024

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Winter Things to Do in Beaver Creek for Non-Skiers • Ottsworld Unique Travel Experiences

8 min read
Winter Things to Do in Beaver Creek for Non-Skiers • Ottsworld Unique Travel Experiences

Being a non-skier in Colorado can be perplexing to people. People often question why I moved to Colorado if I don’t ski. Of course, that’s ludicrous – there are so many things to do in the Colorado Rockies besides skiing!

It’s inevitable that as a non-skier in Colorado, you’ll likely have skiing friends, however, you don’t have to avoid them all winter – instead, you can join them to go play in the mountains. I recently traveled to Beaver Creek Colorado with my skiing friend Courtney, and I found lots of non-ski things to do ranging from adventure to culture!

Beaver Creek Colorado

This was my first trip to Beaver Creek Resort. It’s located in Vail Valley near the town of Avon just west of Vail ski resort. It was the most recent addition to the long list of ski areas along the I-70 corridor in Colorado. The ski resort opened in the 80s and has grown into one of the premier winter destinations in Colorado.

The cute resort town is nestled back into the mountains away from I-70 making it feel exclusive. A creek runs through the village, and there are ample condos, hotels, restaurants, and shops to make your stay enjoyable in the winter or summer.

Things to Do in Beaver Creek for the Non-Skier

Of course, the most popular thing to do in Beaver Creek in the winter is skiing. However, even if you don’t ski you can still soak up Beaver Creek’s wintertime atmosphere. You can even get up on the slopes…without skis!

Nordic Center at Beaver Creek

The Nordic Center near the Strawberry Park Express Lift is your headquarters for winter adventures that have nothing to do with downhill skiing! Here you can rent snowshoes, cross country skis and choose organized tours through McCoy Park with Nordic Center guides. McCoy Park is a spectacular lift-accessed natural area that offers Nordic, snowshoe, and alpine trails. With breathtaking views of the Sawatch Range, McCoy Park offers more than 19 kilometers of groomed and rustic trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

I love snowshoeing, it’s basically winter hiking…what’s not to love? I got a guide, rented snowshoes, and went snowshoeing around McCoy Park. My guide Carrie was super and took me all over McCoy Park pointing out mountain ranges, dining spots, flora, and fauna.

My Best Tips for Snowshoeing in Beaver Creek

If you are new to snowshoeing – then I would suggest renting snowshoes for the full day and hiring a guide for the morning. The guide will take you up the mountain and also point out trails and get you oriented.

Snowshoe through Aspen Groves to Mamies Mountain Cabin located at the top of Bachelor Gulch near the Express Chairlift (#16) and have lunch on the deck with a spectacular view! If you have skiing friends – you can even plan to meet them there. Then you can spend the rest of the afternoon snowshoeing on your own around the trails of McCoy Park.

If you have your own snowshoes and are fine to go out on your own, then just get a lift ticket for McCoy Park for $61 for the day and go out and explore the trails on your own! Maps are available at the Nordic Center and the trails are really well marked.

Finally, make sure that when you take the Strawberry Park Express lift you stop at the Candy Cabin and pick up a few of your favorite sugary sweets for a pick-me-up on the trail! I highly recommend a few sour gummy worms!

Cookies – A Beaver Creek Tradition

At 3 PM, follow your nose to the base of the mountain at the base area to enjoy a chocolate chip cookie! It doesn’t matter if you skied or snowshoed down the mountains, just look for the people wearing chef hats who are holding platters of chocolate chip cookies. This loved tradition was the perfect way to end my day on the mountain!

Ice Skating in the Heart of the Village

At the heart of Beaver Creek Village is a small ice rink that opens at noon each day. You can bring your own skates or rent them and give the rink a twirl. Or if you want to give your legs a break, just sit by one of the many cozy fire pits to sip a drink and watch the ice skaters show off their moves. Either way, it’s a great way to enjoy an Apres ski experience.

Go to a Show at the Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC)

It’s hard to imagine, but underneath the ice-skating rink is the home of Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC). This architectural wonder is hidden underneath the village and is the perfect place to spend a cultural evening.

When they were developing Beaver Creek, they were in search of a ‘heart’ for the village. They found it in the unusual architectural design of Gorden Pierce. The goal was not only to give culturally enriching experiences but also to invigorate the village and it did just that. Of course, local residents enjoy it frequently. But it’s also an attraction bringing in people like me from the surrounding communities as well as Denver. It makes this typical Colorado ski resort, a more interesting place to ski, visit, and live!

“I looked and looked for a location in Beaver Creek for a site and could not find an available or suitable location. I thought that the plaza area might work, except that the required height of the fly for all of the rigging would block the views from the Market Square building condos,” architect Gordan Pierce said. “Then a lightbulb in my brain went on. I remembered reading about a building in the theater district in New York that was mostly underground.”

Vilar performing arts center
Depiction of layers of architecture. Image Courtesy VPAC

What seemed like a crazy idea was a brilliant idea! However, it certainly came with challenges too. Much of the stage rigging needed to be created horizontally, rather than vertically, since the ice rink was directly above the stage! They also had to take into account the potential noise from the Zamboni clearing the ice during concerts (a pretty unusual theater issue to have)!

Inspired by the heritage of European theater design, the 535 seats in the theater’s horseshoe shape are reminiscent of many classic European halls. Raised, parterre seating at the orchestra level, along with a curved balcony create an intimate room, bringing the audience closer to the performers. Interior finishes, the use of natural wood, and custom-designed carpets and fabrics reference the rich, autumnal palette of the Colorado mountain environment.

Learn more about the founding and building of VPAC

You might be thinking that a small little community like Beaver Creek might not have a very good lineup. Ok – that was me thinking that! I suppose after living for three years in New York City, I became a bit of a theater snob. That’s why I was so surprised to see that VPAC has attracted big-name acts out to the small-town mountain community. VPAC has played host to world-renowned performers like B. B. King, Ringo Starr, Lyle Lovett, Tony award-winners “Rent” and “Kinky Boots” and comedian Jay Leno.

See the complete VPAC lineup

MOMIX

Courtney and I went to see MOMIX perform their show, Alice. This trip down the rabbit hole was a nod to Alice in Wonderland. MOMIX is a modern dance company that performs all over the world. I never expected a town like Beaver Creek, this small and remote, to have productions that are so sophisticated. More than once I had to remind myself where I was!

MOMIX Performance Calendar

Alice was one of the best shows I’ve ever experienced; creative, surprising, and ingenious. The costumes and lighting were out of this world – creating Alice’s world of illusions. This is one ’trip’ you definitely want to take! Many of the performances included props that were so basic, but used in ways that I never could have imagined. I kept imagining how fun it would’ve been to work with the props and come up with the choreography!

Dining Tip: Have dinner at the Dusty Boot or Aritza Restaurant before the show and let them know that you are going to the show at VPAC because you’ll get 25% off your bill.

Have a Meal at Beaver Creek’s Dining Cabins

If you want a unique dining experience, make reservations at one of Beaver Creek’s dining cabins!

Allie’s Cabin offers an on-mountain experience, complete with unparalleled views of Beaver Creek village and delicious Italian food. Get there and back by sleigh ride and enjoy the views along the way!

Take a 25-minute sleigh ride to Beano’s Cabin for a fine dining experience. During the sleigh ride, you’re treated to sweeping views of Larkspur Bowl and Grouse Mountain. In operation for more than 35 years, Beano’s is Beaver Creek’s longest-running dining cabin, and it’s known throughout the state for its five-course menu.

Board a snowcat-towed sleigh at Bachelor Gulch and after a few minutes you’ll arrive at Zach’s cabin tucked between the Cabin Fever and Stirrup ski runs. The food at Zach’s is Alsatian and the heartiness befits the mountain atmosphere.

Where to Stay

Since Beaver Creek is a ski resort, there are plenty of options for accommodations ranging from hotels to condos, to home rentals. We stayed at Creekside at Beaver Creek, a luxury ski-in/ski-out property located within the heart of Beaver Creek Village. Nestled right up against the bubbling Beaver Creek, it’s easy walking distance to restaurants, shopping, and the theater.

Next time your skiing friends want to head to the mountains to catch some runs, go with them! Beaver Creek has a variety of things to do for the non-skier where you can even hang out with your skiing friends on the mountain or in the VPAC theater. Sometimes the best experiences are found in the most surprising places!

Disclosure:

I was a guest of the Vilar Performing Arts Center for my trip, however all opinions expressed here are my own.

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