Vail and Beaver Creek annually get rave reviews from winter sports enthusiasts for having varied terrain, great powder and fine accommodations.
But the secret to these Colorado playgrounds is that they don’t merely thrive in January and February. In fact, if you adhere to the following tips, you’ll ensure that a visit to the areas in April, August or any other time goes remarkably well, too.
The best time to visit Vail and Beaver Creek
Like most ski resorts, Vail and Beaver Creek have two major seasons: peak season and off-season. (Those are in addition to a shoulder season.) Peak season takes place November to April, when travelers flock there for breaks during Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Presidents Day and spring break.
Lodging fills up rather quickly during this time, so the sooner you book your reservations, the better. Some hotels might even include packages with ski lift tickets. During the peak season, temperatures tend to average in the low teens early in the morning and late at night, and daytime averages hover in the 20s and 30s.
The off-season takes place from June to September. Even though the name suggests that people leave the area, there’s plenty to do during the summer months — the Teva Mountain Games, hiking, biking, rafting, fly-fishing and concerts at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater. Daytime temperatures average around 75 degrees during this time, with lows hitting around 45 degrees. Plus, the air is dry with little-to-no humidity.
Should you rent a car in Vail and Beaver Creek?
The main reason to rent would simply be to get here, since it is a little more than two hours from Denver International Airport and still an hour from the smaller Vail’s Eagle County Regional Airport.
However, at both airports, Colorado Mountain Express offers frequent and reliable scheduled door-to-door service on its group shuttles. CME also has chauffeured cars for private transfers.
Once in town, most of Vail is pedestrianized and within walking distance of top hotels. And whatever areas are not served by easily navigated complimentary buses — there is really just one main route — can almost certainly be reached with the gratis in-town car service at local luxury hotels.
The only other reason to rent would be if you plan to transfer back and forth between Vail and Beaver Creek, which share lift tickets but do not have much in the way of connecting public transportation options.
What to pack for a trip to Vail and Beaver Creek
Obviously, if you’re visiting the area during the cold season, it’s important to layer — and that means packing long-sleeve shirts, sweaters and a fleece jacket. Warm underwear, headgear and plenty of socks are essential to a good trip. And if you plan on skiing, bring whatever gear you may need. But if you forget anything, there are many shops around town to stock back up.
If you’re heading to Vail or Beaver Creek in the spring or summer, you’ll want to make sure you have a few pairs of shorts and good hiking boots in your luggage. Don’t forget some comfortable pants, too, because it will get chilly when the sun goes down.
And in case of rain, have a light jacket with you as well.