Pete Seibert

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Pete Seibert
Born (1924-08-07)August 7, 1924
Sharon, Massachusetts, U.S
Died July 15, 2002(2002-07-15) (aged 77)
Vail, Colorado
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Commands held 10th Mountain Division (United States) 10th Mountain Division
Battles/wars World War II
 • Battle of Riva Ridge
Spouse(s) Elizabeth (Betty)

Peter W. Seibert (August 7, 1924 – July 15, 2002) was an American skier and the founder of Vail Ski Resort in Colorado.[1] In 1980 he was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.[2]

Seibert, a Massachusetts native, graduated from the New Hampton School in New Hampshire and served in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II, training as an elite ski trooper at Camp Hale in Colorado. Wounded in the leg by a mortar shell blast in the Battle of Riva Ridge in Italy, he returned to the United States to begin recuperation. Like other ski soldiers who had trained at Camp Hale, Seibert returned to Colorado, where he became a ski patrolman at the Aspen Mountain Ski Resort. 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".[3] 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.[4]

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,[5][6] but ran into financial difficulty in 1984. The area was sold that October to Earl Holding, owner of Sun Valley in Idaho.[7][8][9] 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.[4]

Seibert died at age 77 on July 15, 2002, following a nine-month battle with esophageal cancer.[10] 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.

Works[edit]

  • Vail: Triumph of a Dream (2000)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pennington, Bill (2006-03-10). "The Legacy of the Soldiers on Skis". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-02. The 10th Mountain Division connections are everywhere in American skiing, whether it's at Vail Mountain, founded by Sgt. Pete Seibert of the 10th Mountain Division, or in Vermont. . . . 
  2. ^ "Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame – Peter W. Seibert". Coloradoskihalloffame.com. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  3. ^ Hauserman, Richard; M. Scott Carpenter; John Love; Warren Miller (2000). The Inventors of Vail. Edwards, Colorado: Golden Peak. ISBN 0-9704438-0-3. 
  4. ^ a b "History". Vailresorts.com. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  5. ^ "Vail founder buys resort". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. October 21, 1978. p. 13. 
  6. ^ Knudson, Max B. (March 20, 1981). "Snow Basin hopes Trapper's Loop will let cat out of bag". Deseret News. p. D11. 
  7. ^ "Sun Valley Co. buys Snow Basin resort". Deseret News. October 11, 1984. p. 2B. 
  8. ^ Grass, Dan (January 24, 1985). "Snowbasin is finally headed in right direction". Deseret News. p. D3. 
  9. ^ Grass, Dan (September 11, 1986). "Snowbasin". Deseret News. p. D3. 
  10. ^ Whitney, Veronica (2002-07-18). "Seibert family says farewell". The Vail Daily News. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 

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