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As with the majority of the area's resorts, the heart of Beaver Creek is a mountainside village. What sets Beaver Creek apart is that it's a series of cascading plazas connected by escalators. In this ultraposh enclave even boot-wearing skiers and snowboard-hauling riders ride the escalators from the hotels and shuttle stops on the lower levels. Opened in 1980 as a smaller version of Vail,
Beaver Creek has somewhat overshadowed its older sibling in glamour. In fact, its nearest rival in the luxury market is Utah's Deer Valley.Locals know that Beaver Creek is the best place to ski on weekends, when Vail is too crowded, or anytime there's fresh powder. Beaver Creek is just far enough from Denver that it doesn't get the flood of day-trippers who flock to Vail and the other Front Range resorts. The slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain are connected to those of even ritzier Bachelor Gulch. These are close to Arrowhead, creating a village-to-village ski experience like those found in Europe.
The Vail Valley stretches far beyond the town of Vail. Minturn began to thrive in 1987, when the Rio Grande Railway extended a narrow-gauge...