Colorado Altitude Training: Beaver Creek Mountain

Narrow dusty single track traversing a steep mountain slope, with a pine covered mountain rides in the background underneath a magnificent blue sky

A view from Allies Way trail, heading up towards Beaver Lake

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.

Elevation profile starting out at 8,100 ft, climbing to 9,800 ft by mile 4, descending a few hundered feet before climbing back over 10,000 at mile 7, then steadily descending back to 8,100 ft in the last four miles

Over 2,500 ft of climbing in the first seven miles

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.

Wooden archway entrance to Beaver Creek Resort, blue sky overhead

A grand welcome right off the bus!

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.

A grassy mountain plain under my feet, a pine covered mountain ridge to the left, the roofs of hotels and shops of Beaver Creek in the center, and the brown and green slopes of red and white mountain on the horizon under a cloudless magnificant blue sky

A view of Beaver Creek Village, with Red and White Mountain to the north along the horizon

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.

View of a dusty trail turning left with lush mountain grass on eiather side, and steep, pine-covered mountain ridge to the west, under a blue almost cloudless sky

Fortunately, the terrain turns more lush as you ascent Beaver Lake Trail

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.

A foamy, roaring creek beneath a steep pine covered mountain slope

A view of the raging Beaver Creek and the steep pine covered ridge to the West of Grouse Mountain

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.

Narrow dirt singletrack on a grassy mountain meadow with pine covered ridges careening down to the left adn right, Red and White Mtn on the horizon under a perfect blue sky

Starting the eastern traverse between 9,500 and 10,000 feet on the Royal Elk Trail

The views were just as nice crossing through pine forests as on the ski meadows.

Aspen trees along a steep slope, with a pine covered slope along the horizon

Beaver Creek runs down between the immediate slope below and the pine covered slope on the horizon

There’s plenty of peace and quiet on the slopes of the mountain.

Steep rocky mountain meadow overlooking the lower slopes of Beaver Creek Resort, a ridge on the right hides the village from view, Red and White mountain sits on the horizon

Beaver Creek Village isn’t visible from most points on the high 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.

Narrow dusty trail traversing a grassy meadow into a pine forest, cleared sections of the slopes for skiing are visible along several ridges

Near 10,000 ft at the intersection of Cinch and Royal Elk Trails

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.

Wide dirt road along a meadow with sporadic pines, perfect blue sky overhead

Clouds line the horizon atop Red and White Mountain to the north and the Gore range to the northeast

Wide and winding dirt road along a grassy meadow with occasional 30 ft pines, with the snow capped Gore range on the horizon

Another view of the snow capped Gore range from Cinch road

Wide dirt Cinch road with several 180 degree hairpin turns descending down the steep grass and pine covered slope, light clouds overead and snow-capped Gore range on the horizon

Not a bad place to test out one’s physical limit!

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.

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3 Responses to Colorado Altitude Training: Beaver Creek Mountain

  1. Oshri says:

    Fantastic- wishing you the best on every step of the training, my friend.

  2. Pingback: Colorado Is For Runners | Alex Modestou Racing

  3. Jamaal says:

    Best of luck to you!

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