Who’s the real McCoy at Beaver Creek? | VailDaily.com

Who’s the real McCoy at Beaver Creek?

The history behind the name gracing the resort’s new expansion of lift-served terrain

Officials from Vail Resorts and the U.S. Forest Service dig up some wet dirt Thursday morning at the top of the new McCoy Park area at Beaver Creek. From left are Bill Kennedy, Carl Orlowski, Kyle Griffith, Gary Shimanowitz, Nadia Guerriero, Leanne Veldhuis, Carl Eaton, Dan Ramker and Addy McCord. Guerriero, Beaver Creek’s chief operating officer, got to hold on to her gold shovel as a keepsake.
Vail Resorts/Special to the Daily

Beaver Creek and U.S. Forest Service officials broke ground Thursday on the ski area’s new McCoy Park project, a 250-acre expansion of lift-served terrain that will include two new quads and 17 new trails.

Among all the questions asked from the assembled media, however, one never really got answered sufficiently: Who’s McCoy?

The most common refrain was that McCoy must’ve been an old homesteader, given the resort’s proclivity to pay homage to historical figures who inhabited the area.

For instance, Townsend Place and Allie’s Cabin are named after George and Allie Townsend, who ranched in the area. Allie was nicknamed the “first lady of Beaver Creek,” according to local history. Frank Bienkowski from Chicago, who grew lettuce and sold it in Avon, was nicknamed “Beano,” settling near what is now known as Beano’s Cabin.

There’s also Zach’s Cabin in Bachelor Gulch, which was named after another homesteader who, according to local history, was a sheriff’s deputy who died in the line of duty. And as for Bachelor Gulch itself, it was named after a number of bachelors who lived in the area. Gunder Berg, John Anderson, John Mertz, Ferdinand Smith and Ed Howard were just a few of the names of the bachelors who farmed, ranched and cut timber in the area. Remnants of their cabins can still be seen today.

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Which brings us back to McCoy Park, and, well, whoever McCoy was. To get the answer, we reached out Kathy Heicher, the president of the Eagle County Historical Society and a longtime local journalist.

Heicher, in an email, wrote: “It appears that McCoy Park was named for John F. McCoy, a cattle rancher at Beaver Creek in the early 1900s. He was the son of Charlie McCoy, who founded the community of McCoy. John McCoy served as a county commissioner from 1904-11. Sometimes left commissioner meetings early to go ‘throw hay.’”

Added Heicher: “Nothing really stands out about him. Homestead records do put him in the vicinity of McCoy Park. Nothing in the Beaver Creek history books. Nothing that really stands out about the guy.”

So there you have it — the story behind the name.

McCoy Park honors an old cattle rancher who once was a county commissioner at the start of the 20th century.

As for the trail names at the new McCoy Park, they all follow a theme highlighting the area’s appeal to beginner and intermediate skiers offering groomable glades that feel at a remove from the rest of the resort.

Among the 17 trails are: Kinship, Reflection, Exploration, Harmony, Splendor, Tranquility, Enchantment and Serenity.

The only thing that hasn’t been named, it appears, is the warming hut that will be near the top of the lift where officials dug into wet dirt Thursday.

Although Addy McCord, the longtime director of the Beaver Creek Ski Patrol, already had a suggestion that she shared with the jeep full of journalists she drove up the mountain Thursday.

“Hatfield Hut,” she said.

Yep, a perfect name. Here’s hoping someone in an official capacity makes it so.

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