By Rachel Walker
The first thing you notice about Beaver Creek will probably have nothing to do with the mountain. There are the escalators and heated sidewalks, the ambassadors quick to relieve you of your gear and direct you where you want to go. There’s the European-like village, with crepes and coffee, and a coterie of winter enthusiasts.
But once you navigate all of that and click into your bindings, it will probably occur to you that this mountain is unlike any other you’ve visited. Whether you’re an expert or a never-ever—or somewhere in between—you’d do well to book a lesson with Beaver Creek’s renowned Ski & Snowboard School. Here’s why.
Most of the women and men who instruct at Beaver Creek return year after year to their jobs. In an industry known for high turnover and attrition, this level of loyalty speaks volumes. It also advantages the students. Not only are you getting a lesson with a well-trained professional who’s passed multiple national exams, you’re getting a lesson from someone who knows and loves the mountain. This loyalty translates into an insider’s view guaranteed to showcase parts of Beaver Creek you’d most certainly miss on your own.
My two sons learned to ski at Beaver Creek. While friends enrolled their kids in programs closer to our Front Range homes, we committed to Beaver Creek because of Beaver Creek’s kids program, housed in The Ranch, a short gondola ride from the mountain’s base. Designed to appeal to little rippers (and little rippers to be), The Ranch is equipped with everything to keep a kid happy: hot cocoa, nutritious food, screens on which they can watch videos from their lesson and learn about technique, unintimidating bathrooms, and, best of all, easy access to the outside. My sons are now four and six, and they can both get down intermediate slopes (the older one also loves black diamond moguls, because, well, who doesn’t?).
If you’re new to winter sports, there are so many moving parts it can be terribly intimidating. And on top of all those layers and special boots and strange goggles and helmets is the prospect of surrendering control and letting gravity pull you downhill while attached to a wooden board with metal edges. Of course that can be overwhelming! The pros at Beaver Creek take their time and walk you through the basic elements of the sport. Because they’re experts, they can tell you everything you wanted to know about gear—they’ll even accompany you to the gear shop at the end of the lesson if you’re in the market for something new. Beyond acting as sports consultants, they will patiently answer any and all questions. Anyone who’s ever tried something new understands how important this is.
Nothing says VIP more than riding the mountain with a Beaver Creek blue coat. Your instructor gets priority in line, which means you get to ski down and ride up with minimal waiting. And this leads to #5…
Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to learning a new skill. A lesson makes sure you don’t cut out early (though you will take as many breaks as you need). There’s something to be said for accountability, and the instructors at Beaver Creek will hold you accountable, all the while encouraging and teaching you new skills.
This might seem obvious, but one of the best reasons to take a lesson is to improve, and everyone can improve. Even expert skiers take lessons, and Beaver Creek’s Mountain Guide private lesson option is tailored to these hard chargers. If you’ve ever wanted to explore the Royal Elk glades with a local or test your mettle on the Talons Chutes, this is your chance. Pros will share their secret spots and offer a customized on-mountain day to optimize your riding wherever the conditions are best at any given moment.
We know—you’ve been told to stand up to it your entire life. But there’s something magical about group think in a skiing or snowboarding lesson. When you watch others of similar ability do something you thought impossible, it inspires confidence. That group dynamic can push you (in a good way) and give you pals to laugh with throughout the day.
Beaver Creek instructors excel at identifying individual strengths and helping their clients set reasonable, attainable goals to work toward. Coupled with Vail Resorts’ Epic Mix Academy, you end your lesson with a plan for where you want to take your skiing or snowboarding and how to get there.
Beaver Creek offers a wide range of lesson options that extend well beyond private and group. For girls ages 7-14, there’s “Ski Girls Rock,” a program inspired and designed by Olympian Lindsey Vonn. Our beginner lessons start at $48, and you may choose from a group to a small group to a private (costs vary). Check out our entire suite of options here.
We’re known for our attention to detail, and our ambassadors are a perfect example. They offer free clinics, women-specific tours, and provide trail recommendations. They’ll help carry your gear and offer sunscreen if you’ve forgotten yours. Spend some time with them and you’ll know what to expect in your Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School lesson.
Rachel Walker writes about skiing, travel, and adventure from her home in Boulder, Colorado.
Beaver Creek’s inaugural Hike to the Mic, September 15 – 17, 2017, is a celebration for all the senses, including curated art installations both in Beaver Creek Village and along the hike up to Saturday’s headlining concert at Spruce Saddle. Read on to learn more about some of the featured artists.
You’re already counting down the days, hours and minutes until your next ski trip, so channel that excitement into prepping your body to make the most of each moment on the mountain. Our Director of Ski School, Greg Willis, recommends these five exercises to get you in shape for the season. #1. Strengthen those quadriceps Being office-bound is no excuse to skip out on training. Use your breaks and a wall to engage those quad muscles with some wall sits. Stand with your feet flat and a couple of feet from a wall. Keeping your back flat slide down the