New McCoy Park hut at Beaver Creek named after Earl Eaton
Eaton, born and raised in Eagle County, wanted to make Beaver Creek a ski area even before Vail came about
Beaver Creek revealed its newest terrain offering Monday by opening up McCoy Park. The 250-acre expansion consists of 17 new trails and two new lifts. It also has a warming hut that is being named after Earl Eaton, who, along with Pete Seibert, is credited with founding Vail and Beaver Creek.
Earl Eaton’s son, Carl Eaton, was there on Beaver Creek’s Opening Day, Dec. 15, 1980 and was at the new Eaton Haus to comment on the dedication and what it means to the family. He is also the director of lift maintenance for Beaver Creek Resort.
Earl Eaton, whose family homesteaded in the area, looked at Beaver Creek back in the mid-1950s with a representative from the U.S. Forest Service.
“They thought it would make a great ski area, but the permitting process was held up due to private land issues and they couldn’t buy the land down below, and dad ran into another fellow, Pete Seibert, and their focus shifted to Vail.” Carl Eaton said.
“Earl was a visionary and this is another chapter in this story that is coming to life in the Rocky Mountains. As a founder of Beaver Creek and Vail, Earl’s legacy lives on. Not just because his family is still here, but because the mountain experience is still growing and thriving. It’s an honor to name this warming hut after him,” said Nadia Guerriero, the chief operating officer of Beaver Creek, at Monday’s dedication ceremony.
Carl Eaton said everywhere he looks from McCoy Park sparks a memory of his dad.
“Everything that you can see from up here brings up some thought of dad. He either told me the name of some peak, showed me or taught me something. It was our backyard,” Carl Eaton said.
Carl Eaton was joined by his son, Cash, and Earl’s granddaughter, Pamela Davis and her son, Ziggy.
The Eaton Haus sits at the top of the new McCoy Park Express Lift (No. 19) and will serve as a warming hut and a place to grab some sports and soft drinks, chips, candy and snacks while skiing or riding in McCoy Park.
“We’d like to expand it and have sandwiches and salads and some other hot items and we’re applying for our liquor license, so we hope to have beer and wine and other adult beverages soon,” said Donald Carlin, the senior director of food and beverage at Beaver Creek.
The structure, which was designed by Avon-based Zerhen and Associates, features lodge pole pine log accents on the exterior and pine beetle kill-wood trim on the interior. The windows reach to the ceiling to allow those stopping by a look at the magnificent views that many haven’t seen from this vantage point.
“Dad was such a laid-back, quiet, humble guy and this building isn’t big and ‘over-the-top,’ it fits his personality just right,” Eaton said.
The Eaton Haus also has the Wild Wonders interactive mural on the east wall to help educate visitors about wildlife in the area.
“One thing I appreciate about McCoy Park and the Eaton Haus is inside the warming hut we have a really beautiful wildlife mural on the wall with a QR code to learn more,” said Leanne Veldhuis, the U.S. Forest Service district ranger with the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District in the White River National Forest.
“People come here to appreciate good skiing and riding and being out in the outdoors, but any opportunity to help folks realize that they are in a special place for other reasons like that is something that I think this wildlife mural does really well,” Veldhuis said.
“Dad wasn’t a man of too many words, but he would probably say ‘it’s pretty nice and the view’s even better’ because I think he’d be looking out there more than looking at the building,” Carl Eaton said. “He would appreciate it. I’m totally filled with so much gratitude. It’s a whole different feel back here versus being on Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek main mountain. It’s just so peaceful.”