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December 13, 2012
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Students vow to carry forward spirit of Vail's founders

VAIL, Colorado - Vail Mountain held an essay contest asking local students this question: "Why are you grateful to our founders for creating Vail? What does their contribution mean to you? How will you personally take the spirit of the founders with you as you grow up?"First-, second- and third-place winners were selected at the elementary (kindergarten through fifth grade), middle (sixth through eighth grade) and high school (ninth through 12th grade) levels. The first-place winners get a pizza and tubing party for themselves, nine of their friends and a chaperone at Adventure Ridge. The second- and third-place winners receive 50th anniversary swag.Here are the winner's essays:Elementary school, first placeFifty years ago, two men saw Vail Mountain and thought it would be a wonderful ski area. These two men built the ski resort because they saw all the snow on the mountain and they had a vision of chairlifts, buildings and roads. I'm grateful to my town founders, Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton, because we get to ski on this mountain and have a great time. Also, I'm grateful for the hot chocolate and Learn to Ski programs. If you were born in Vail like me, you are one of the luckiest people ever. If Mr. Seibert and Mr. Eaton hadn't formed Vail, then my parents wouldn't have met at the Vail Daily newspaper, and me and my two brothers, Nick and Rennick, wouldn't have been born in Vail and skied here since we were all 2 years old.Most people don't even see snow, let alone ski snow. A lot of kids - or even adults - don't get to play outside every day. I feel lucky because I get to play outside every day with my friends. I feel happy because I get to be so close to nature. In the summer, being on the mountain is a great time as well. You can hike, see animals and participate in nature programs. It feels different because in the winter you ski and are cold and everywhere you look, it's white. In the summer, you hike and are hot and everywhere you look, it's green. I think we should maintain this ski mountain and the two men's love of the outdoors by turning off lights and televisions when you're not using them - your computers and phones, too - and work together to make an eco-friendly car so that when we do drive, it's safer for the air. If we pollute, there may not be a Vail Mountain for us to ski and hike.Just like Vail's founders were innovating when they built Vail, all of us should innovate and come up with new ideas to help pursue our dreams and keep the world cooler and cleaner.Our founders were committed to creating a Vail today just like they saw it for the very first time. You should always believe in your dreams and always have a goal for yourself. If these two men can climb a mountain, create an entire ski resort, and invite skiers from all over the world, then anything is possible. If you can reach the top of Vail Mountain and get back down, the beautiful blue sky is the limit.- Maximilian R. Williams, fourth grade, Edwards Elementary SchoolElementary school, second placeI'm grateful to the founders of Vail for two reasons. One reason is because in 1962 when Vail was just getting started, my dad who was 2 at the time had just moved from Taos, N.M., to Minturn, Colo. At the time, the only place to get food was Vail and Avon, so it was very helpful. The other reason I am thankful for Vail is that it's my favorite place to ski and snowboard. My favorite run on Vail Mountain is Lost Boy. Lost Boy is a fun run.The contribution of Vail's founders means so much to me because if they hadn't founded Vail, we would not have the wonderful mountain to ski on. My dad wouldn't have a job working for the town of Vail and I wouldn't have a chance to grow up here.I will take the spirit of the founders with me as I grow up by never giving up and helping others. I haven't given up in school when I had to complete a hard research paper. I will help out my community by volunteering my time to show how thankful I am to live here.These are the many reasons that I am grateful. Happy birthday, Vail!- Phillip Gallegos, fourth grade, Red Sandstone Elementary)Elementary school, third placeMy winter paradiseI am so very grateful to the founders of Vail. Most importantly, my family and I have come to Vail so many times. It has given us a wonderful outlet to let our spirits soar. Before we moved to Eagle, we lived in Michigan and we came all the way over to Vail just to ski. It took a lot of effort and money just to come ski. If this place was never founded, we would have never come out here to ski, which means that I would have never moved to this wonderful state. That's how much Vail means to me. I will always take the spirit of Vail's founders with me. They will guide me through all of the skiing I ever do. Vail is the foundation of my skiing career. Whether I become a famous ski racer or a famous business woman, I will always remember this wonderful paradise. Thanks to all of Vail for this wonderful experience. - Gracie Rounds, fifth grade, Brush Creek Elementary SchoolMiddle school, first place."Vail. Like nothing on Earth." This slogan is about so much more than simply a tourist attraction and a place to go on vacation. It is a lifestyle ... a way to get away from everything that is pulling you away from the joy in your life. And we have had the opportunity to live this way in Vail for 50 years now. It is definitely time for us to show our thanks to the founders (Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton) of Vail. It is because of them sacrificing so much just for us to be able to live this lifestyle.I am so grateful for everything they have done for us. Vail gives us a chance to get away from reality and stress and just ski. I have also been blessed with the chance to live somewhere that I can do so much in the entire year. In the summer, I can bike and hike all over Vail. In the winter there is, in my opinion, the best ski mountain in the world. And without the founders of Vail, we would not have these opportunities. Thanks to the founders, I now have memories that I will remember forever.This anniversary is also so much more than just the anniversary of opening a mountain. To me, it symbolizes a certain type of freedom. A freedom to go out and forget about everything except for having fun and relaxing. Not many other people in the entire world get an opportunity to do this. We happen to have it right at our footsteps. Also, this anniversary is a memory of the selflessness that Vail's founders put into the creation of Vail. When Vail was being created, the goal was to make a place where people can be free and go somewhere to enjoy the great outdoors. Personally, I am going to use these founders as an inspiration for my life. It is my wish that I will make the biggest decisions and actions of my life with the good of others as my only want. I hope to be confident in taking myself out of the equation and instead only look for what will help others. This is the key to being successful, and the founders of Vail are a prime example of this. It has now been 50 years since the grand opening of Vail, and so much has changed in those 50 years. On this anniversary, we must look back and thank the founders for doing so much for us. Vail has been an inspiration for us all. It shows us that we can all be a part of something so much bigger than ever thought possible. It shows that we can be part of something like nothing on Earth.- Max Clark, eighth grade, Eagle County Charter AcademyMiddle school, second placeWhen people say the word "Vail," the first word that comes to my mind is home. A home is a sanctuary, a place where you live. A home is the area where you grow up. A home is your shelter, your warmth, and a home to me, is Vail. If I were asked what would happen if my home got taken away or worse, if my home never existed, my answer would be "I can't imagine." That is why I am grateful towards the founders of Vail.The founders of Vail created my home and my training facility, and that is why I thank them with all of my heart. I am a skier. Skiing is my everything, my passion, and Vail is the place where I go to ski. I have been skiing since I was a toddler, when I first fell in love with the sport. I attend the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, and am lucky enough to ski almost every day of the week. I just might have a future in skiing, but if Vail never existed, I have not a clue where my life would be heading. Thankfully, I will not have to even think about that happening, all because of the founders of Vail.I also thank the founders because Vail to me is the very heart of Colorado. It is not only my home, but it is also a place where I spend my free time. There are so many wonderful things you can do in Vail; you can go to dinner with family or friends, you can go sledding, you can go mountain biking and do many other things all year round, all of which I greatly enjoy doing. Vail is a place to have fun, to live your life to the fullest and a place to make memories. When I look back on my childhood as an adult, I want to see myself in Vail, having fun with my friends and family and making memories I will never forget. Vail will be a part of me forever and always. The contribution the founders put into making Vail means a lot to me. It means that these people made me a home. They made it for me and many others to enjoy, cherish and appreciate. The founders should take pride in what they have created. They should take pride in their blossoming community that they started from almost nothing. I know I am proud to say that Vail is my home, and I can't imagine how proud the Founders are, after all of the hard work they put into creating Vail. I hope that one day Vail will be known to people around the world not only as an amazing ski resort, but as a community and a home. I hope the founders are also known all around the world, for creating the most amazing and breathtaking place on earth.I will take the spirit of the founders and the place that they have created with me as I grow up. It will stay a part of my heart. I will appreciate my home through every goal I accomplish, every step I take to becoming who I am, and through my every breath. I will take their spirit with me as I flourish as a person, and as my home flourishes as a community. I want to be able to look back and remember my appreciation for my home and the people who created it. I want Vail to be not only a part of my heart, but a part of my soul and who I am. So when someone asks me where I live I will be proud to tell them Vail, because Vail is not only my home, but it is part of who I am, and as for the founders, they will always be remembered in my heart as the creators of what in my mind is the greatest place on earth.- Sylka Snyder, seventh grade, Vail Ski & Snowboard AcademyMiddle school, third placeVail's Grateful 50thThe founders of Vail are very inspiring and important to me. I'm immensely grateful for the dedication and perseverance Earl Eaton and Peter Seibert had to create skiing in Vail possible. They had found a perfect place to take a risk on a revolutionary resort, and it worked. These men were hard-working and never gave up on their resort. The founders of Vail hold a special place in my passion for skiing the slopes.Most importantly, Vail would not be possible without the perfect combination of these two men. Earl had the vision and knowledge of the location, and Peter had the connections to the money and investors. Not to mention their special love for Vail and the mindset they had of never failing. Without their diligence and unique attributes, Vail wouldn't be the same. I am gracious for the dedication our founders had to establish a one of a kind ski experience.I'm grateful that our founders didn't just think about their own gain; they thought about the gain of the skiers. When Peter and Earl were creating their resort, they said that Vail was "built by skiers for skiers." Nevertheless, during the summer of 1962, commitment from Earl and Peter had set in. With the help of their crew, they were going to build a world-class ski resort. There was no turning back.My love for skiing has been enhanced thanks to the guys who made Vail into an ongoing production of greatness and wonders. Furthermore, my extraordinary experiences in the Back Bowls and on many other runs in Vail would not be possible without Peter and Earl's dedication to the mountain. The hard work must have paid off because Vail has had a successful 50 years, thanks to these gentlemen. Thank you, Peter and Earl, for making Vail "like nothing else on Earth."- Daniel Huck, eighth grade, Homestake PeakHigh school, first placeAin't No Mountain High Enough!50 years ago, a group of 10th Mountain Division World War II veterans created an idea: To turn the mountains into a resort that would attract worldwide visitors. Today, they have done not only that, but exceeded even their original expectations. However, great diligence and a long-term vision were needed to accomplish their dreams. As Sheika Gramshammer, one of Vail's inhabitants, recounted, "To get here, it took a lot of work, participation, and belief within that community and partnership." Not only did they create a heartwarming town and world-class attraction, but they also forever changed the valley lifestyle, making it unique among others. Vail is now a place our community can be proud of. When a tourist visits Vail, the founders' dream spreads further and another person is captivated by this remarkable town that I am lucky to call home. I am tremendously grateful to Vail's founders for numerous reasons. Have you ever heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child?" When writing this essay, I developed a deeper understanding of this aphorism. Without the founders of Vail fulfilling their dream, I would not live the life that I live, I would not have learned and grown up around the incredible people that I have, and certainly would not be the person that I am today. Because of 10th Mountain Division veterans Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton, I am able to call the Vail Valley my home and what a privilege that is. I am indebted to the people that Vail has attracted in the past 50 years. Vail beckoned the most amazing people from around the globe which has afforded me and countless others the opportunity to experience cultures and people we would have never encountered anyplace else. Most of these remarkable visitors are here for the same reason: the unmatched winter sports. Children raised in Vail learn to ski before they can walk! I am incredibly proud to say that is how I have grown up. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Pete, Earl, Pepi, Sheika and the myriad of others who first contributed to establishing this extraordinary community. The founders' contributions mean everything to me. The founders dedicated their lives to making their hopes for Vail become a reality. Vail's founders knew this was not going to be an easy task yet they pursued it anyway. Now, 50 years later, all of their determination and hard work has yielded unbelievable results. Vail has transformed from remote ranching land to one of the most prestigious international ski resorts. The people who created Vail and their ideas were and continue to be essential to the ongoing development of the Vail Valley as well as the state of Colorado. Vail is now one of the top Colorado and U.S. tourist destinations, which has brought money, as well as recognition to our state. Vail, as well as the Vail Valley, is home to thousands of residents and thousands of annual tourists. To think that 50 years ago, Vail did not exist, boggles the mind. Look at what is has blossomed into! There truly is no place like Vail, which is why I am so proud to call it home. Vail is not simply a place on a map, now it is a home; the Vail lifestyle for means something to people around the globe. None of this would have existed or been possible without the founders' contributions, vision, planning and diligence after their noble service in the U.S. Army. In countless ways, I will personally take the spirit of the founders with me as I grow up. The founders of Vail have taught me an abundance of valuable life lessons that I will be sure to apply as I mature. The founders taught me that no matter how huge or challenging my goals or dreams are, they are attainable: Vail is proof. The founders knew it would be tremendously difficult to attain their goals, but with hard work, determination and hope, they succeeded! And if you have ever succeeded, you understand there is no feeling like accomplishing your goals. As Sheika Gramshammer explained, "The founders hoped it would be what it is now." The founders have reached their ultimate goal. "Difficult" does not mean impossible. And because of the founders presence in my own life, I will not accept failure or anything less than what I originally intended to accomplish, because I know now that anything is possible. If you desperately want to succeed and thrive, and take the necessary steps to ensure that accomplishment, you can achieve anything.Vail truly is nonpareil. An amazing town and community have been created where there was none. Vail's past and its history will continue to live on with me and others forever. Congratulations Vail on your first 50 years! Here's looking forward to the next 50 years. - Katie Townsend, ninth grade, Eagle Valley High SchoolHigh school, second placeTumbling mountains, flowing rivers, freshly fallen snow. Vail is a winter wonderland that transforms into a summer joy like the arctic fox trades its white winter coat for a glossy summer skin. Vail was founded in 1962 and has been bringing joy to its inhabitants and visitors since that date. Our founders, Peter Seibert and Earl Eaton, created a brilliant ski resort and the foundations for a wondrous town and area. This has made a great environment for people of all ages, especially families like my own. Additionally, the founders' vision to create a world-renowned ski resort and town inspires me to dream my own impossible dreams. Seibert served in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II. After suffering from war injuries and becoming a member of the Aspen Ski Patrol and Ski School, he became the manager of Loveland Basin Ski Area. There he met Earl Eaton, and together they went in search of a land upon which they could establish a new ski resort. They discovered Vail and immediately decided this would be their new resort. Seibert reportedly said, "My God, we've climbed all the way to heaven," after first climbing the Vail mountain. The founder stated it perfectly: Vail is heaven. Eaton and Seibert transformed the natural "heaven" into paradise, full of cheerful people and opportunities for a happy life. Our founders made this town the majestic place it is, and for that, I am immensely grateful. My family first moved to the Vail Valley after living in Tennessee, then Telluride and Fort Collins. Even after all the different places, Vail is by far my favorite. Vail is most known for its ski resort and fantastic mountainous terrain, but for me it goes beyond that. Yes, Vail is gorgeous. Yes, I am ecstatic to ski all day on the runs. The winters here are fantastic, but the people deserve some credit as well. Vail is the most caring and supportive community I have ever known. The natural beauty of the land our founders chose for their new resort has created this conscientious community. Socrates once said, "He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature." The Greek philosopher was referring to how the natural environment will make one content with life. This is exactly what my family experienced; from stressed and busy, we slowed down and began to experience the contentment that Vail brings people. Vail's feeling of natural wealth is contagious, causing everyone to optimistically welcome new opportunities and people with warm, open arms. Eaton and Seibert started with a simple dream: To find and establish a new ski resort. They faced many challenges, one of which was a lack of funds. Despite their obstacles, they still pursued their dream and made it happen. They essentially discovered beauty and made happiness out of nothing. This is a valuable life lesson for me. I will always keep in mind that no matter how impossible my dreams may seem, if I work for it, I will succeed. Orison Swett Marden, an American spiritual author from the New Thought Movement, once stated that, "All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers." Our founders achieved great things, all based on their dreams. Knowing that turning your dreams into a reality is possible will carry me far in my life, and Vail is the perfect, close-to-heart example to remind me. Ultimately, the founders of Vail created a gorgeous town, full of the most caring people I have every met, and have given me the hope to always pursue my own dreams. I know exactly where I plan to live when I am an adult. Vail and the valleys surrounding it have become such a great community and is the only place in the world I can imagine raising my own family. Happy 50th Vail!- Maddi Dougherty, ninth grade, Eagle Valley High SchoolHigh school, third placeFifty years ago, the founders of Vail Mountain, Pete and Earl, developed a magnificent idea. While skiing at Aspen in 1957, the founders fell in love with the concept of having a quaint town at the base of a ski resort. There was only one problem: Aspen was known to be a "bad" town. Pete and Earl had a vision of their own mountain. A mountain that was located on the west side of Vail Pass. Pete and Earl succeeded in doing the impossible. They created the biggest ski resort in America; they built Vail Mountain.Today, we often hear the story about how our beautiful home was created. Once a poor lettuce farming town, the Vail Valley flourished after the depression into one of the biggest tourist destinations in the United States. People often ask why we are grateful for our amazing mountain. As teenagers, we sometimes don't take the time to look around us to see what is truly beautiful. People living in the Vail Valley are grateful to our founders for many different reasons. Without their vision, we would be a step behind in this world. Although there will always be people who resent Vail Associates for building on their majestic mountain, many of us love what Vail has become. We will always be appreciative for having the opportunity to ski every day, see the beautiful view, and have the chance to host the Olympic trials. As we grow older, we see the incredible chances we have to be a part of history. To me, the contributions the founders made is something I will forever be thankful for. Pete, Earl, and the investors of Vail Mountain have given me the unique opportunity to volunteer and expand my knowledge of the mountains and the Vail Valley. One day, I may make the decision to leave the Vail Valley, but I can guarantee that the spirit of the founders will always be with me. My life has been forever changed in ways I could have never imagined. I will always be indebted to the founders of Vail for my extraordinary experiences of learning to ski, volunteering for world races, and being part of history that will around for ages to come. - Eleanor Egizii, 11th grade, Battle Mountain High School


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The VailDaily Updated Dec 13, 2012 12:36AM Published Dec 13, 2012 12:30AM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.