A short shuttle bus ride from Avon, CO, Beaver Creek Mountain is a stunning resort with enough running and biking trails to delight nature enthusiasts and exhaust the even the fittest of endurance athletes.
After studying the extensive summer trail map, I picked a route for a hilly long run. Starting in Beaver Creek Village I ran up a short portion of the Cinch road to catch Allies Way Trail, which traverses west along the lower slopes. I then caught the Beaver Lake Trail, which ascends up a to the west of Grouse Mountain to Beaver Lake. From Beaver Lake, I ran the Royal Elk Trail, which heads east on the higher slopes of the mountain, and finally barreled four miles and 2,000 vertical feet downhill on the winding and dusty dirt roads of the Cinch.
A shuttle bus runs every 10 minutes from skier parking lots adjacent to Avon up to Beaver Creek Village. Dining, lodging, and shopping are within a stone’s throw of the trail network.
Within a few minutes of stepping off the bus, I commenced with lung searing mountain running up the Cinch road. Some respite awaited on the relatively flat Allies Way Trail traversing west. There are excellent views of Beaver Creek all along Allies Way.
When I caught Beaver Lake Trail at the end of Allies Way, the pitch shot up dramatically, and the trail narrowed, becoming increasingly rock-strewn.
Beaver Lake lies at 9,746 ft, about 1,600 feet above Beaver Creek Village. As you near the lake on Beaver Creek Trail, you can hear the roaring of the eponymous creek as gravity pulls it down the steep slopes.
As I traversed along the narrow, tight, steep, and technical Royal Elk Trail, I had to make sure to keep my focus on my footwork and not the stunning views at every turn.
The views were just as nice crossing through pine forests as on the ski meadows.
There’s plenty of peace and quiet on the slopes of the mountain.
With the dramatic vertical drop and huge variety of technical slopes, it’s no wonder that Beaver Creek will host the FIS World Alpine Skiing World Championships for the third time in 2015. It’s also regular stop and consider one of the toughest venues on the FIS Alpine World Cup circuit.
I ended my run with a quad-busting 2,000 vertical descent down Cinch road. The smooth dirt road allowed me to savor the stunning views of the Gore Range to the northeast instead of focusing on the immediate terrain at my feet.
Even to a mountain rookie like myself, it’s clear why Beaver Creek is a skiing mecca and the perfect venue for the XTERRA Mountain Championship. In two weeks I’ll be fighting it out with the top XTERRA pros for a spot on the podium.