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Skiing and Snowboarding at Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek's insider take:

Like Vail, Beaver Creek gets an average snowfall of 350 inches, but with 1,815 skiable acres and 17 lifts, it's decidedly smaller than its sister resort. And that's why so many skiers and boarders love it: Beaver Creek is easy to navigate yet still big enough, with its village-to-village skiing, that you can try something new each day. Beaver Creek is also a favorite venue for athletes who fly downhill at 70-plus miles per hour: The mighty Birds of Prey racecourse hosts the only men's Alpine World Cup races in the United States every year in early December, and the men's and women's Alpine World Championships will be held here in 2015. In the meantime, the Stone Creek Chutes on the western edge and Talons Challenge terrain (mid-mountain, centered around Grouse peak) should satisfy any expert. The rickety old Rose Bowl double was replaced with a high-speed quad for the 2011–2012 season, serving up faster access to the popular Rose Bowl terrain. There are also three freestyle terrain parks suitable for all levels, including a superpipe.

The Beaver Creek Nordic Sports Center offers access (via the Strawberry Park Express lift) to more than 20 miles of cross-country and snowshoeing trails in McCoy Park. There are also snowshoe tours that include lunch at the mountaintop Mamie's (970-754-5313).

For equipment rentals, try Beaver Creek Sports, which has locations at every base chairlift, including one inside the Ritz-Carlton (970-845-5418). Or, have your skis and boards delivered to your room via Ski Butlers (970-845-2268). Aim to make all rental reservations at least two weeks in advance for holiday periods.—Sarah Tuff

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