For Love of the Mountains

Jul. 6, 2017

A guide for those racing at XTERRA Beaver Creek & those who might!

Intrepid traveler Kirk Ermels, a long-time XTERRA crew member, recently spent a week in Avon, Colorado, home to the XTERRA Beaver Creek Championship races on July 15-16, 2017.   Here he tells us why a trip to the Colorado Rockies is a most worthy summer tradition…


“The mountains are calling and I must go…” - John Muir, 1873

For many of us outdoor lovers that first trip to the mountains as a child or young adult is something that has helped shape and direct our entire lives.  There is just something special about being in the mountains.  And something extra special about being there in the middle of summer!

The smell of pine in the crisp air.

The cool nights enjoying nature’s escape from the heat.

The warmth of being that much closer to the sun.

It’s why we love coming to Beaver Creek, Colorado every summer!  There aren’t too many better ways to get out and enjoy what nature has provided us.  We could spend a week just walking around in the mountains and it would probably be one of the highlights of our year.

Simply being in the mountains is truly the highlight of the whole experience.  Whether it’s waking up to a beautiful Colorado sunrise over a warm cup of coffee or watching the sun settle behind the western slopes while enjoying a cold local beer, every day seems like a little slice of heaven.

The drive up into the mountains is a great way to start the trip every year.  There is something about leaving the city behind and driving toward the peaks that just feels right.  If time allows, I highly recommend taking your time and enjoying everything the drive has to offer.  I love stopping off for a little pizza at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs or even better making time for a late breakfast at Columbine Cafe in downtown Breckenridge (the CBH Benedict is an all-time favorite).  Even if you don’t have time to stop, just taking a moment to enjoy the views can be great medicine for the soul.

One of our favorite events at Beaver Creek every year is the weekly Beaver Creek Rodeo Series.  The rodeo is held every Thursday in the town of Avon not too far from where we have the swim start.  The event features roping, barrel racing, and bull riding along with plenty of food vendors and lots of fun for the whole family.  Festivities kick off at 6:00 pm but show up early (doors open at 5:00) if you want to sign up for one of the audience participation events like mutton bustin’ or burro racing.

If you are fortunate enough to come up a few days early or have an extra couple days after the race, there is plenty to explore in the Beaver Creek area.  Mountains abound in every direction with paved and unpaved roads great for an easy pedal or even a quick drive and picnic.  Local towns like Eagle and Minturn are a short drive away and a great chance to experience small town mountain life.

Closer to race headquarters there is plenty to meet your needs in the towns of Avon and Edwards and the Beaver Creek Village area.  The Beaver Creek Village located at the base of T2 has dining options ranging from quick bites to five-star chefs and plenty in between.  Down the hill in Avon, Avon Bakery and Deli has great coffee and baked good or across town you’ll find Ristorante Ti Amo, a long-time favorite of XTERRA Global Tour Director Dave Nicholas.  Or drive a few miles to Edwards for even more options -- Bookworm has great coffee and Main St Grill has some of the best pork belly tacos I’ve ever tried.

There is plenty to do, see, and explore in this area.  Take your time and enjoy what you find along the way.  And most of all enjoy the mountains!