THE BEST RUNS FOR YOUR MIXED GROUP
Navigating ski resorts like Vail and Beaver Creek can be a bit tricky when you’re with a group. Honestly, navigating just about everything (including dinner) can be tricky with a group but finding options to suit a range of skiers and riders on the slopes doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. Nor does it mean waving goodbye to each other only to reconnoiter for lunch or apr.s. Whether you’re enjoying a day at Vail or Beaver Creek, here are some great runs for mixed-level groups to enjoy together.
Now that you’ve navigated Beaver Creek, you’re up for the Vail challenge. With 195 runs and 5,289 skiable acres, there are plenty of areas to choose from. When skiing with a group of varying abilities, Chair 7 should be your first destination.
Chair 7 (technically the Game Creek Express Lift) accesses a playground for almost everyone: there are trees and groomers, mellow terrain and steeper sections — there are even moguls. If you want the group to stay together, Lost Boy lets everyone carve the corduroy at their own speed while enjoying stunning views of Mount of the Holy Cross and the Gore Range. More advanced riders can press their luck on Dealer’s Choice: It’s fast when it’s groomed and a mogul field when it’s ungroomed. Experts skiers can enjoy expert runs like Deuces Wild, Faro and Ouzo or duck into Ouzo Glade for some forest fun. At the end, everyone can meet back up at Chair 7 for a few more laps.
Getting there: On Gondola One, exit the gondola, ride Chair 3 and exit to skier’s right. From Eagle Bahn: Exit the gondola and follow Game Trail to the base of Chair 7.
Another excellent area is Avanti (Chair 2): This classic area sits just off-center of Vail’s front side and is chock full of varied terrain with blues, blacks and a network of connecting cat tracks for those who might want a mellower option. On a powder day, Avanti features two-in-one runs: One half of the run will be groomed while the other half is left au natural, letting you hit natural rollers or, by the end of the day, revel in a mogul field. Plus, there’s a beginner terrain park if anyone feels the need for rails, slides, boxes, etc.
Getting there: Avanti takes a bit more work to access: Take Gondola One then jump on the Wildwood Express and it’s a short ski down to the top of Avanti.
From Lionshead base area, Pride Chair is a great place for skiers and riders of abilities to play. From the top, everyone can take Simba (a blue run) down. At the edge of the resort’s boundaries, you’ll find fewer skiers and some nice, open runs. However, for those who want to challenge themselves, there is some expert terrain, too. There’s a black section that connects Simba to Safari or take Simba farther down and Simba will turn into bumps (as does Safari) while Cheetah lets you skip the bumps; everyone can reconvene at the base area.
Getting there: Take the Eagle Bahn Gondola and head skier’s left to Pride Express Lift.
These are just a few options for areas your varied-ability-level group can sample on the slopes. The good news is that even if everyone is skiing or riding at different levels, it often sorts itself at the end. More advanced skiers can practice riding switch on beginner runs; more hesitant skiers might find themselves rising to the challenge on a more advanced run. But at the end of the day, it’s really about having fun on the snow. So gather up your group and get going — there are stories waiting to be made on the slopes.
Beaver Creek has 150 trails and 1,832 acres of skiable terrain which means lots of choices. However, with a group, this myriad of possibilities can be daunting.
When in doubt, head to the summit. Here, Red Buffalo Park provides a wide variety of runs for varying ability levels, especially beginner and advanced skiers and riders. Here, beginners have several options (including the Sheephorn Skills Zone); advanced folks can enjoy Jack Rabbit Alley or Mystic Maze and for burgeoning park rats, Park 101 offers beginner features. It’s a great warm-up area for more advanced skiers and riders but if a bit more speed is desired, both Centennial and Sheephorn turn into black runs before you arrive back at Cinch Express.
Getting there: Ride the Centennial Express Lift from the base to the Cinch Express and you’ll offload in Red Buffalo Park, 11,440 feet above sea level and with some of the best views.
For a group with a higher level of skill, take the crew to Rose Bowl. This gem has it all: open fields and glades as well as intense steeps and challenging moguls. For a wide-open intermediate run, C Prime and Stone Creek Meadows are your best bet (especially on a powder day); bump connoisseurs can savor the never-ending moguls on Ripsaw and the off-camber Cataract. Those who enjoy trees can dip into the pines that separate each of the mogul runs; Keller Glade is also an oftenuntracked option.
Getting there: Take the Centennial Express Lift to C Prime and you spend the morning running laps on the Rose Bowl Express Lift.
IF YOU WANT THE GROUP TO STAY TOGETHER, LOST BOY LETS EVERYONE CARVE THE CORDUROY AT THEIR OWN SPEED WHILE ENJOYING STUNNING VIEWS OF MOUNT OF THE HOLY CROSS AND THE GORE RANGE.
…AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT’S REALLY ABOUT HAVING FUN ON THE SNOW.