Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pete Seibert of 10th Mountain Division

Pete Seibert, a member of F Company / 86th Regiment / 10th Mountain Division, poses outdoors during training at Camp Hale (Eagle County), Colorado, in 1943 or 1944. He wears a jacket, cap, and sunglasses.

Peter W. Seibert (August 7, 1924 – July 15, 2002) was an American skier and the founder of Vail Ski Resort in Colorado. In 1980 he was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

Seibert, a Massachusetts native, graduated from the New Hampton School in New Hampshire and joined the 10th Mountain Division in 1943, training as an elite ski trooper at Camp Hale in Colorado. On 3 March 1945, as a platoon sergeant in the Battle of Riva Ridge in Italy, he was nearly killed by mortar shells, shattering both arms and severely injuring his face and right leg. After 17 months of rehabilitation in the United States, he was released from the army and, like other ski soldiers who had trained at Camp Hale, returned to Colorado where he became a ski patrolman at the Aspen. In 1950 he qualified for the 1950 U.S. Ski Team, which hosted the 1950 World Championships at Aspen, although his injury prevented him from competing.

In 1957, Seibert and rancher Earl Eaton climbed Vail Mountain where, as trainees from Camp Hale (Earl did not train at Camp Hale but he did help build it), they had learned winter bivouacking, and decided to build "the most beautiful ski resort in the world". They raised funds from a group of Denver investors, bought a ranch at the base of Vail mountain and, to distract competitors, called it the "Trans Montane Rod and Gun Club". The resort was built in 1962 at the base of Vail mountain, opening on December 15, 1962 with two chairlifts, one gondola. A lift ticket cost $5.

In seven years, Vail grew to become the most popular ski resort in Colorado. Seibert hoped that Vail and (the future) Beaver Creek would host the skiing portions of the 1976 Winter Olympics, which had been awarded to Denver in 1970. However the proposition was voted down, funding rejected in November 1972, and the games returned to Innsbruck, Austria, which had hosted the 1964 Winter Olympics.

Seibert led a partnership which bought "Snow Basin" near Ogden, Utah, in 1978, but ran into financial difficulty in 1984. The area was sold that October to Earl Holding, owner of Sun Valley in Idaho. Snowbasin was the venue for the alpine speed events of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Pete's Bowl in Vail's Blue Sky Basin, and the Pete's Express lift, was named for Seibert when the second phase of the expansion area opened in December 2000.

Seibert died at age 77 on July 15, 2002, following a nine-month battle with esophageal cancer. A small plaza, built in the 1970s, at the top of Bridge Street in Vail is named Seibert Circle in his honor. While Pete was best known for founding Vail, Pete's life was dedicated to the passion that skiing should be accessible to everyone.

Source :

No comments:

Post a Comment