McCoy Park~ a little piece of paradise

Herb Eaton, who grew up fishing, hunting and tending cattle in the Beaver Creek area, worked as the manager of slopes and trails when the Beaver Creek Resort development began in 1980.

“What really excites me about the place was to see how well we could put it together and made it all fit,” Eaton was quoted as saying in the book, Beaver Creek, The First Hundred Years.

Eaton most likely didn’t envision a Nordic center on top of the mountain. But, Jean Naumann, former manager of the Nordic Center, and mountain planner Mike Larsen did. After scouting other Nordic centers they realized the best location was not on the golf course but, rather, on top of the mountain.

McCoy Park, nestled between Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch, is a must for visitors and locals, as well. This snowshoe and cross-country area offers never-ending, breathtaking views at the Gore Range, Castle Peak, the Flat Tops Wilderness area and the north face of New York Mountain. It boasts 32 kilometers of groomed trails, is just a six minute chairlift ride on the Strawberry Park lift to an elevation of 9,850 feet, and offers a magnificent terrain of green, blue and black groomed runs, with a few “rustic” or not-so-groomed runs.

According to Nate Goldberg, Product Manager of the Beaver Creek Sports Center, McCoy Park is Colorado’s best-kept secret.

“A visit to Beaver Creek just isn’t complete without snowshoeing or Nordic skiing at the park,” says Goldberg who, on any given day can be seen “working” as he cross-country skis or skates around the mountaintop.

What’s more, the park’s trail system is the only groomed and track cross-country and snowshoeing of its kind in North America.

Indeed, a day at McCoy is a great way to take a “walk in the park” with family and friends. Just leave your downhill skis behind and enjoy a bit of blissful solitude. There’s really no skill to snowshoeing; all you need is a pair of snowshoes and a set of poles. And the amount of exercise you get out of it depends on how much you want to push yourself.  Follow the easy Polaris trail, and it’ll be a breeze. Take, say, Aurora or Morningstar, two of the intermediate trails and you’ll breathe a little harder. And, then there’s the Wildside, which might just take away your breath.

In fact, pack a lunch, head out to the picnic table at The Overlook and bask under the Colorado blue sky. It’s truly a little piece of paradise!

And don’t forget to watch for Nate who will probably whiz right by you. He’ll be hard at work.