After first tracks in Beaver Creek, Colorado

Mountain top cocoa

We heard that after first tracks there’s a light breakfast at the celebrated Beano’s Cabin. (Don’t worry Jen, we’ll never tell!) But if waking before 8:00 am doesn’t fall under your definition of “not exactly roughing it,” might we suggest three alternate slope-side favorites that can be enjoyed at a more civilized hour in Beaver Creek.

Cocoa and corduroy. I headed to the top of the Centennial lift at a dignified 9:30 ish after dropping the kids off at ski school. What a welcome it was to take in the morning grooming report but also complementary hot cocoa. You could hear the oohs, aahs and whoops as kids and adults slid off the lift and grabbed a whipped-cream topped beverage. Pat (pictured above) was so nice he let me sneak two cups!

Mountain Welcome Tours. Free mountain welcome tours begin at a civilized 10:00 am and the guides are full of fun facts, history, insider’s knowledge and amusing anecdotes. Even better for me, they offer a guided tour just for the ladies. Ask at the mountain base or look for the pink signs to see if their 2-hour women friendly tour is offered during your stay.

Rose Bowl Lift Beaver Creek

Cookie Time. Often imitated, there is no substitute for the massive outpouring of cookies that flows through the mountain base at 3:00 pm, just in time for the kids being released from ski school. I tried to make Toll House cookies in our room and it is really hard at this altitude so I tip my ski helmet to the team passing out the still warm and slightly gooey chocolate chippers in the late afternoon sun.

If you’re not about the downhill skiing you might prefer to ice skate, snow tube or get lost in the mountainside Marmot Maze. I’m finding I have a passion for snowshoeing and cross-country as well.

Maybe you’ve tried something new, too. I’m beginning to think that I just like playing outside in the snow.