Vail: The First 50 Years

Material Information

Vail: The First 50 Years
Series Title:
Vail: The First 50 Years
Sanocki, Abigail
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

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Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Vail: The First 50 Years | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/7/2015 3:57:43 PM] Home Vail: The First 50 YearsVail: The First 50 YearsSubmitted by nwharton on 8-3-2013 07:50 PMAuthor: Shirley Welch Publishing: SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2012. 127 pages. Black-and-white photographs. $21.99 paperback. Reviewer: Abigail Sanocki This is both a chronology of Vails development and a celebration of the closeknit community that built and lives at North Americas largest ski area. Welch covers the regions original ranching landowners, the development of the resort, current events, and the resorts future plans for expansion. An Images of America book, this is loaded with photos of mountain vistas and energetic skiers. Brief introductory narratives at the beginning of each chapter describe the chronological growth of the region and skiing. Pictures with detailed captions follow the narrative and tell additional stories about the experiences of people related to the resorts development. This is an entertaining and quick read, excellent for interested skiers and even skiers at heart. Whether readers choose to flip through the paperback and just enjoy the photographs, or read through all of the text, they will gain a better understanding of the evolution of Tovky Mountain skiing since the 1940s. Welch provides the reader with vivid written imagery as well as many photos. When describing founders Pete Seibert and Earl Eatons first trip to the top of No-Name Mountain, Welch makes the reader feel as though he or she were there: Pete gulped for air and stopped. Turning in a circle, he saw perfect ski terrain in every direction, the snow sparkling as if littered with diamonds, the sky so blue it seemed fake (27). These words describe the thrill any skier can relate to when atop a mountain, and the feelings demonstrate why and how Vail became an international ski destination and continues to grow in popularity. The text begins with a brief review of local Native American activities and the first families who settled the valley where Vail later blossomed. The author explains how the recreational sport grew out of the U. S. Armys efforts to train specialized mountain soldiers during World War II at Camp Hale. Through images and text, Welch traces the improvement of ski equipment from ranchers barn-wood-and-leather skis to the use of refined carbon fiber materials as a result of the war effort. She credits members of Colorados 10th Mountain Division with developing skiing into the popular vacation industry it is today. After the war, veterans of the 10th Mountain Division, including Peter Seibert, worked to formalize networks of ski professionals and associations, as well as develop the lodges, lifts, and equipment used at Vail, Aspen, Sugarbush, Crystal Mountain, and Whiteface Mountain. The mountain, with ideal treeless slopes on which Seibert and Earl Eaton designed Vail, had been on the landscape for centuries, but to build a town at its base required a community of enthusiastic skiers, which proved to be challenging. This book chronicles the difficulties of constructing a small city in the mountains in less than a decade, as well as the innovation of Seibert, Eaton, and other avid skiers to develop specialized lift and grooming equipment. EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanWhile on the Dominguez-Escalante expedition in 1776, Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco drew the first map of Colorado.


Vail: The First 50 Years | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/7/2015 3:57:43 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us The most significant theme of Vail: The First Fifty Years is community. Welch lists names of residents who facilitated in the development of the resort, from lift construction to bar keeping. She describes residents as a raw and woolyevery night was Saturday night in Vailand Saturday night in Vail was like New Years Eve (63). Numerous photographs from the 1960s and 1970s show groups of people with big smiles, squeezing together in the frame. The photos and quirky and fun-loving residents demonstrate why Welch and other newcomers [who] arrived in town for a few ski daysstayed for a lifetime (73). Welch researched the history of Vail to assist the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum with celebrating the resorts fiftieth anniversary. She also wrote the book as a tribute to the community and to share its collective heritage of fun-loving sportsmanship. Reviewer Info: With a professional background in archaeology and history, and an MA in public history from the University of Colorado Denver, Abigail Sanocki is interested American West history and the means in which it is celebrated and studied by scholars and the public alike. Currently, she works for Cardno-TEC, an environmental agency in Golden, and is working with the South Park National Resource Area to develop an interpretive site at the King Coal Mines, near the town of Como