Everything You Need to Know for the 2023/2024 Ski Season

Wax your skis and grab your helmet because it’s opening day in the mountains! If you’ve been waiting all summer for the snow to start falling, winter is finally here. It’s time to kick off the ski season in style at Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains. 

We’re covering everything you need to know for the 2023/2024 ski season - from passes to parking to where to find the best terrain and après ski festivities. This is your go-to guide to make the most of your winter wonderland vacation.

Vail and Beaver Creek Mountain Opening & Closing Dates 

Vail started spinning chair lifts on Friday, November 10, 2023. Beaver Creek Mountain opens in time for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 22, 2023. Closing dates are tentative, but both ski resorts enjoy a long ski season and stay open through mid to late April. 

Season Passes

Grab your lift tickets in advance to save money and stress. Ski all season at Vail and Beaver Creek Mountain on the Epic Pass. Sales are available online through mid-December. Prices will increase, so buy your pass early to save more. 

Epic Pass offers numerous pass types based on how often and where you want to ski. The Epic Pass provides unlimited access - and no restrictions - at Beaver Creek, Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Whistler Blackcomb, Park City, and more. Receive access to numerous other resorts (with some restrictions) throughout North America, Europe, and Japan as well. 

Even if you only plan to ski a few days this winter, buying a pass is advantageous while they’re still on sale. The Epic Local Pass includes ten days of riding at Beaver Creek and Vail with unlimited access to many other resorts throughout the U.S. For those only visiting for a few days, buying the Epic Day Pass for one to seven days of skiing saves up to 65% compared to daily lift tickets. 

Spending a Day on the Mountain

Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains offer world-class skiing. 

Head to Vail Mountain for the infamous Back Bowls - seven expansive alpine basins are a powder playground extending for seven miles. Blue Sky Basin is the most far-reaching of the Back Bowls, filled with deep snow and incredible views. With mellow gladed runs on Big Rock Park and steep cornices and cliffs off of Lover’s Leap, Blue Sky Basin caters to the intermediate to expert skier. Most of the terrain consists of ungroomed fields and tree runs, but check the daily grooming report for fresh corduroy. At the top of Skyline Express, Belle's Camp has a large flat area with picnic tables and two outside grills for a BYO picnic. 

Beaver Creek Mountain caters to skiers of all levels with exemplary service and unrivaled terrain. Families will love Beaver Creek, which has an accessible beginner area, kid-friendly activity zones, and complimentary cookies at 3 pm at the base of the mountain. Designated slow zones provide safe areas to practice new skills. For adrenaline seekers, Beaver Creek boasts long, steep bump runs off the Birds of Prey and Grouse Mountain Lifts. Powder hounds will find unspoiled snow stashes throughout the resort in gladed tree skiing, ranging from widely spaced, mellow aspen glades to technical tree runs. 

Parking at the Mountain

There are three options for parking in Beaver Creek. The most convenient - and pricey - place to park is in Villa Montane or Ford Hall, which are indoor parking lots leading into Beaver Creek Village. These spaces are limited and fill up fast. The Elk and Bear lots offer outdoor parking in Avon near the gates for Beaver Creek for $10 daily. Free shuttles run every 10-15 minutes to escort skiers to the mountain. 

Alternatively, guests of the Inn at Riverwalk can skip driving around lots looking for spots and hop on the complimentary skier shuttle, taking guests straight from The Inn to the mountain.

In Vail, parking garages are available in Lionshead and Vail Villages. Be aware that there are two different hourly parking rates - Peak Rates, valid Friday through Sunday, and Non-Peak Rates, Monday through Thursday. Free parking is available after 3 pm. 

After Skiing Activities

As the day winds down, it's time to trade your ski poles for a tasty beverage. Après ski, a French term translated to after skiing, is a fun and popular way to end your day. Vail and Beaver Creek Villages have a charming array of après ski spots where you can listen to live music and toast to an epic day on the slopes.

The Red Lion and Pepi’s in Vail have extensive menus and live music daily. In Beaver Creek, The Dusty Boot Roadhouse is a favorite for locals and visitors who enjoy hearty appetizers and juicy burgers. Head to the Mountain Fish House & Oyster Bar in Edwards for the best happy hour with $1.50 oysters, 50% off select appetizers, and discounted drinks daily from 3:30-5:30 pm.

Once you’ve had your fill, it’s time to rest your feet. Soak your ski legs in the riverside pool and hot tub at The Inn at Riverwalk, then relax in your room with a plush, feather-bed topped mattress. All one and two-bedroom condos have a fully furnished kitchen and a spacious living room with a gas fireplace. It’s a great place to gather with games from the complimentary Gear Garage as your evening winds down.

Planning your Ski Trip

After booking your reservation at The Inn at Riverwalk and buying your Epic Pass, consider reserving rentals and ski lessons if you are new to the sport. Reserving gear in advance ensures you have the best options for winter goods, and it’s ready to go when your family arrives. The Kind Bike & Skis offers the whole family high-quality ski and snowboard rental options. Conveniently located within walking distance from The Inn at Riverwalk, guests receive a 20% discount on all rentals.

Consider making dinner reservations before you arrive at your destination. Edwards has a fantastic dining scene with a more relaxed vibe in locally owned and operated restaurants. From fine dining to casual fare, numerous dining options are all within Edwards’ quaint, bistro-light strung downtown.

Packing for your Ski Trip

Colorado weather is known to be unpredictable, so your wardrobe should be as versatile as your skiing style. Plan your packing around layers that can be adjusted based on the day's temperature. Layer with moisture-wicking base layers, an insulating mid-layer, waterproof jacket and pants, and top it off with wool socks, a helmet, goggles, and gloves. Cozy winter boots and a beanie will help you transition from on to off the mountain.

If you need (or want) any additional items once you arrive, Ptarmigan Sports in Riverwalk has an excellent selection of outdoor gear and mountain-inspired clothing.

The Best Place to Stay in Edwards this Winter

The Inn at Riverwalk is the best place to stay in Edwards this ski season. Close to the action, yet away from it all, The Inn is an independent hotel in the heart of Edwards offering a modern and relaxing home base for your adventures. Outdoor access is easy from The Inn’s doors. Located just minutes from Beaver Creek Mountain and surrounded by numerous hiking and biking trails, nature is at your fingertips. 

The Inn is surrounded by more than just National Forest - there are dozens of local shops and restaurants in downtown Riverwalk. Guests at The Inn receive exclusive discounts on dining, shopping, and activities at many local businesses.

Ready to strap on your skis and hit the slopes? Book your stay at The Inn today.