Beaver Creek was originally proposed as part of Denver’s bid for the 1976 Winter Olympics. Denver won the bid, but withdrew in 1972, after Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected a $5 million bond intended to finance the games. The International Olympic Committee moved the games to Innsbruck, Austria, but Beaver Creek was developed anyway, eventually opening in 1980.
Located within the White River National Forest, Beaver Creek is one of Colorado’s premier skiing destinations. Indeed, upon its grand opening in 1980, Colorado’s governor called it the “Tiffany’s” of ski resorts.
Beaver Creek is just two miles up the mountain from Avon, a slightly larger town with more restaurant and service options. Visitors can travel between the two on Avon’s free bus system. While Beaver Creek is just over 8,000 feet above sea level, chances are that any discomfort you’re feeling isn’t altitude sickness, but rather significant dehydration—and we can help you with that! (The Park Hyatt is also quite experienced with altitude sickness, should you encounter trouble.) For more information, please see our altitude section, as well as for resources for maps, weather, and packing.
Colorado has the highest average altitude in the United States, and the average elevation in Beaver Creek is 8,100 feet. Colorado is also the seventh driest state in the United States. The altitude and the dryness together can be challenging, so we’ve provided you with the following information—and we strongly encourage you to prepare before coming to Sirens.
At Beaver Creek’s altitude, you’ll find that, due the reduced oxygen, your body will work harder: you’ll breathe more quickly (and become winded more quickly), you’ll sweat more easily, you’ll be hungrier, and you’ll need more sleep. Further, as every mountain-town bartender will tell you, alcohol will have a greater effect: assume that every drink you’d have at sea level equals three in the mountains. Beaver Creek’s altitude also comes with a thinner atmosphere, making you significantly more susceptible to sunburn.
Most people will have no significant trouble at Beaver Creek’s altitude, especially if you take a few precautionary measures. The bigger concern is making rapid ascents at and above 8,000 feet; airplane cabins are often pressurized between 5,000–8,000 feet, for example, because the range is considered a safe and healthy pressurization for most people.
So what should you do to prepare for Sirens in Beaver Creek?
- In Colorado’s dry climate, you need a lot of water. Coloradans are easily identified at conferences by their giant water bottles, and we strongly encourage you to be adopt the habits of locals: a large water bottle should go everywhere with you and you should need to refill it 3–4 times a day. Please consider also adding sports drinks to your hydration regime, to help you replace lost electrolytes. We strongly recommend that you begin to increase your hydration a few days before departing for Beaver Creek; it’s much easier to prevent dehydration than it is to recover from its effects.
- Moisturizers like lip balm, heavy-duty lotion, eye drops, and saline nasal spray will help reduce any discomfort due to dryness. We strongly recommend that you start applying your moisturizers the moment you arrive. Again, prevention is easier than recovery.
- Beaver Creek’s dryness can also lead to headaches and insomnia. Please consider bringing headache medicine and sleep aids.
- Please bring—and wear—a full-spectrum sunscreen and dark sunglasses. The thinner atmosphere makes for a very quick sunburn if you aren’t careful—and your eyes can burn, too!
- You may want to consult a medical professional regarding supplements designed specifically to ease the transition to high altitude.
- The Park Hyatt includes humidifiers in all its guest rooms. Please use yours religiously.
- Please take things a bit more slowly than you otherwise would. Perhaps go to bed a bit early or have breakfast in bed. Maybe pamper yourself at the spa or take it easier than you otherwise would when exercising.
- You may want to come into Beaver Creek early to give yourself time to adjust. The discounted Sirens room rate begins on Friday, October 19, 2018, so if you have the time and resources to travel to Beaver Creek early, you’ll have time to both take care of yourself and spend a bit of extra time reading, writing, or exploring Beaver Creek and the Colorado Rockies.
- If you’re very concerned about the altitude, you may want to fly into Denver a day early and spend the night at Denver’s altitude before traveling to the mountains. Adjusting to high altitude in stages often helps. Denver International Airport boasts a Westin hotel right on site, as well as a number of hotels just a few miles away.
In Beaver Creek, altitude sickness may be a concern for a small percentage of attendees. Symptoms of altitude sickness include a headache that does not respond to painkillers and other symptoms such as nausea, extreme fatigue, inability to sleep, swelling, and continued rapid heartbeat. Altitude sickness usually clears up in a day or two at most, but can be very uncomfortable in the meantime. Treatment options include going to a lower elevation, oxygen treatment, hyperbaric therapy, and prescription medications; if you’ve experienced altitude sickness in the past, you might consider obtaining medication from your doctor, as well as travel insurance specifically for this trip (if your regular insurance policies don’t cover trip interruption or medical care). Additionally, the Beaver Creek Market and Deli, a two-minute walk from the Park Hyatt, offers altitude adjustment pills composed of vitamins and other natural ingredients that attendees report help with acclimatization. Should you experience symptoms of altitude sickness while in Beaver Creek, please consult the staff of the Park Hyatt for assistance and treatment options.
Weather in the Rocky Mountains can change in an instant. Though Sirens is scheduled in mid-fall, you might encounter summer-like conditions or a light sprinkle of snow. We recommend checking the weather for Beaver Creek just before leaving so that you’ll be prepared. Daytime temperatures are usually 50–60° F, with cooler weather, even freezing conditions, overnight. To get up-to-the-minute weather information on Beaver Creek, please use this tool:
Before you leave for Beaver Creek, check the weather—and then pack cold-weather gear anyway, since that weather might change in a matter of hours! We also recommend sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes, and comfortable, casual layers so that you’ll be at ease in air-conditioned meeting spaces or outside on the beautiful resort grounds at high noon during a warm spell.
Additionally, we recommend some must-haves:
- A water bottle (though you can buy a Sirens-themed one from us!)
- Full-spectrum sunscreen and dark sunglasses
- Moisturizers, including lotion, lip balm, eye drops, and saline nasal spray
- Headache medicine to help with any dehydration or altitude headaches
- Sleep aids to help with any insomnia
- Any prescription medications that you need, including any designed to help you adjust to Beaver Creek’s altitude
- Your identification, credit/debit cards or cash, and travel itinerary