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Learn Beaver Creek’s history at Vail Public Library event

Daily staff report
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Author Laura Chiapetta Thompson visits the Vail Library this week.
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: Book launch and discussion with local author Laura Chiappetta Thompson

Where: Vail Public Library, 292 W. Meadow Drive, Vail.

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Cost: Free.

More Information: Call 970-479-2187.

VAIL — Discover the history of Beaver Creek at the Vail Public Library at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday as local author Laura Chiappetta Thompson visits. Thompson is the author of Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series “Beaver Creek.” The book features more than 200 vintage images showcasing this community in Eagle County.

Since 1883, Beaver Creek has attracted adventurous individuals. The allure of precious minerals brought miners to the valley, and many stayed after the illusion of striking it rich began to fade. Those folks homesteaded and farmed or ranched. Ranching flourished for a few families until the early 1970s.

Two men credited with developing the Vail ski area set their sights on the Beaver Creek drainage for a new ski resort. There were political battles over permits waged in Denver and Washington, D.C. In addition, environmental issues burgeoning in the early 1970s added another layer of complexity to the proposed ski area. Dark days were looming as interest rates hit 18 percent and a recession hit the national economy. A silver lining in all the turmoil at the fledgling resort occurred when former President Gerald R. Ford bought one of the first residential lots, making Beaver Creek his address. The original visionaries’ goal to build a world-class resort was on its way to completion after years of challenges.

Highlights of the “Beaver Creek” book include:

• The waterwheel constructed in the 1930s, which still exists east of the Beaver Creek and Eagle River confluence.

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• A private plane crash in 1985 between Cinch and Beartrap ski runs near the bottom of Beaver Creek ski mountain.

• Arrowhead development was named for a white quartz arrowhead discovered by a hiker.

Thompson has lived in Eagle County since 1980. She enjoyed being part of Beaver Creek’s premier season in 1980-81. Her position at Spruce Saddle restaurant allowed her to meet skiers from around the world.

Being a graduate of Arizona State University with a marketing degree opened many career opportunities for Thompson. She went on to pursue a 22-year career in the newspaper industry. Hired to sell advertising, her career path continued to management and ultimately to leading the digital media transformation. Her community involvement included being on the board of directors for Walking Mountains Natural Science School and the United Way. Her love of the outdoors led her to a marketing and buying position at a local outdoor retail store. When not doing historical research, Thompson enjoys backcountry skiing, hiking and fly-fishing.

Books will be for sale at the event for $21.99 plus tax. Cash or checks are accepted.

This program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 970-479-2187.


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