Beaver Creek seeking Forest Service approval for ‘family-friendly’ ski zone at McCoy Park
BEAVER CREEK — Beaver Creek Resort recently announced that it is pursuing a dedicated family-friendly zone on the mountain at McCoy Park. Initial discussions have begun with the U.S. Forest Service, as the plans are subject to its approval.
The resort is proposing lift-served ski terrain at McCoy Park, located at the top of the Strawberry Park Lift and currently offering Nordic and snowshoe trails. The improvements are within the resort’s permit area and were accepted as part of the approved 2010 master development plan that outlines zoning concepts.
“McCoy Park is the ideal location for a protected family zone,” said Beth Howard, vice president and chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Resort. “The views are spectacular, and the park has an amazing natural feel that will be preserved. It is gentle terrain that will be separated from the rest of the mountain so that guests looking for a more relaxed, beginner and intermediate experience at a slower pace will enjoy it, and others won’t find themselves travelling through it on their way to another run or lift.”
McCoy Park would add about 250 acres to the resort mountain’s skiable terrain. The project would develop 17 trails, the majority of which would be “groomable glades.” Approximately 75 percent (190 acres) of this terrain would be rated beginner, with the remaining 25 percent (60 acres) rated intermediate. Vegetation clearing would be limited to fewer than 30 acres, which would be mitigated by a 1:1 tree restoration project.
The proposal includes two lifts — the McCoy Park Express and an egress lift. Access to McCoy Park would be made possible via three proposed skiways from the top of Larkspur Express, Strawberry Park Express and Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express lifts.
According to a release from the company, the proposed winter-only improvements for McCoy Park would be designed to minimize impacts to the wildlife habitat, including the deer and elk in the area. In addition to no summer activity in the area, existing elk calving closures will be maintained. A construction plan would be developed to best minimize impacts, and Beaver Creek will voluntarily work with the Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to develop any further wildlife enhancement efforts.
New trails will be created to maintain a cross-country skiing and snowshoeing experience at McCoy Park separate from the downhill skiing terrain. Additional details on the Forest Service approval process and timeline are expected in the coming weeks.
Wolves were a problem for ranchers when Kip Gates’ great-great-grandfather homesteaded in the area. He doesn’t want the problem to return.