Whether or not you like to ski, a weekend in Beaver Creek can be the perfect way to enjoy winter with family or friends.  "Apres" Skiing is more my Cup of tea, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy stunning views and partake in other great winter activities in the area.  There is plenty to do to keep yourself occupied for a week, but you can pack in a lot into a visit to this quaint town even if you're just coming for a long weekend.

 

1. Day Trip to Vail- If you're faced with less than ideal conditions for the slopes one day, take the short trip into Vail.  We started the day enjoying Aria spa in Vail Cascades, which is just outside of the main hub.  Spas often offer specials via Groupon or Living Social, so it's great to search whatever zip code you're traveling to. It also doesn't hurt to just ask the spa directly. We were able to finagle a massage, mimosa, and yoga class for less than the price of a massage alone.  We then took the free shuttle into Vail to avoid parking, and ate a wonderful lunch at Sweet Basil.  The pork schnitzel was excellent, and so was the view of the Gore Creek from our window-side table.  You're likely to spot a moose as you walk across the covered bridge as you leave town!

2. Snowshoe to Discovery Overlook- Snowshoeing is probably the easiest winter activity to master. The main requirement is that you or your buddy are good with a map.  Otherwise, you just need to be physically able to hike for a good couple of hours.  This is also a less expensive sport than skiing; $75 covered the lift ticket & boots, poles, and snowshoe rentals at the Nordic Center.  We experienced some awesome scenery along the way to Discovery Overlook, including tons of birch trees, an igloo, and even a yurt! You'll want to bring along a bottle of water and a meal replacement bar, due to lack of food options other than the "Candy Cabin".  I had a blast with my snowshoe buddy, Aunt Kathy!  She was a trooper as I led her through some questionable paths.  I think she would agree the views were worth it in the end!

3. Spruce Saddle Lodge- Since we had a shorter second day of snowshoeing, I decided to take full advantage of my lift ticket and ride to the top of Chair 6.  You are permitted to go up without equipment, and all you really need are good snow boots. It was a long way up, and watching the Beaver Creek's village get farther and farther away was amazing from the gondola I was in.  Watch out for skiers coming from every direction, but there are plenty of spots off to the side to get some amazing views and photos. My husband was finishing up his skiing for the day as I arrived at the top, so we met up to enjoy an apres ski refreshment and some fabulous views from the outdoor adirondacks.

4.  Apres Ski at Park Hyatt- as opposed to a more serene break at Spruce Saddle, Park Hyatt is the happening place to enjoy a lively evening of apres skiing.  You can check out the champagne tent from 12-4, and enjoy s'mores happy hour from 4-5 by the fire pit.  If you're over the outdoors after a blustery day, head into Antler Hall for libations and live music instead.  You don't have to be a hotel guest to take advantage of the people watching and entertainment.

5. Coyote Cafe- A short walk away from the Park Hyatt is this cozy dinner spot. They easily accommodated a large group and had an extensive list of interesting margaritas.  It's also right across from the ice skating rink, which often has special music and great people watching. 

For someone who loathes the cold weather and expected to hibernate in our condo the whole time, I was surprisingly blown away by the scenery and other activities offered in this lovely town.  Beaver Creek actually made a snow lover out of this beach bum!

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