Former president Gerald Ford, Beaver Creek's best-known resident, presided at the July 28, 1977, groundbreaking by Vail Associates for the resort town of Beaver Creek (1980, 8,100 feet). Despite opposition from environmentalists, this 5,000-acre, $600-million haven opened with 25 miles of ski trails and six chair lifts. Beaver Creek's 1979 design regulations aimed “at establishing a compatibility between buildings and the natural environment, fulfilling the expectations of visitors as a retreat to the mountains, respecting the historic precedent of mountain buildings and resort communities in both Colorado and Europe, and utilizing energy conservation and solar energy applications.”
The ski area won national design awards in 1991 and 1992 from Snow Countrymagazine, which praised the use of natural contours and minimal visual impact on the landscape. Beaver Creek's hotels and condominiums, even swankier than Vail's, bristle with gables, dormers, bays, and chimneys under “spruce blue” manufactured stone roof tiles. Beaver Creek cascades through the town center, which is landscaped with sculpture, boulders, and pansies, poppies, and aspen. The stepped massing, steeply pitched roofs, and vertical lines of many structures visually echo the surrounding mountain valley. Deluxe private homes above the town center, like that at 222 Elk Track Road, employ natural materials and ingenious design in the pursuit of elegance and comfort.
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