If each of Vail’s Summit County properties has a distinct identity, Beaver Creek is aimed squarely at the fur-coat set. But don’t let the ski valets and outdoor escalators fool you, it actually has much more interesting terrain than its more down-market neighbors. And while it has less than half the acreage Vail does (1,800), it has a slightly higher vertical drop (3,340 feet), and nearly as many blacks and double blacks. But, unlike Vail, there are corners of this 11,400-foot-high, five-peak ski area where you actually might have the place to yourself. With steeper bowls, thicker bands of trees, and some killer hike-to terrain, it also has a wilder feel, even if you are sharing it with skiers who wear fur on the slopes. Lift tickets are $108.
Where to Stay: It would be a waste to visit Beaver Creek and not indulge. The Osprey is luxury ski lodging at its most opulent, and the lifts are so close you can practically jump from your balcony onto Strawberry Park Express.
Insiders Tip: Beaver Creek village has some of the best restaurants in Summit County. But for places where you can clink glasses and brag loudly about the chute you dropped into, head to the town of Avon, six minutes away near I-70. Agave has killer western Mexican food and top-shelf tequila.
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