1989 – Pete’s exile from VA comes to an end
My old friend Jen Wright, a real estate man who had worked for Vail Associates in the past, was developing Arrowhead at Vail, a new resort next to Beaver Creek. He asked me to design the trails and lifts, keeping in mind that someday they would be a logical extension of the Beaver Creek/Bachelor Gulch expansion already on the drawing boards at Vail Associates.
Arrowhead offered the last really skiable terrain in the western extremes of the Vail Valley.
We put up a great-looking Doppelmayr quad chairlift as the centerpiece and installed snowmaking as the Western/Alpine base village took shape. All of it blended beautifully with Vail’s Alpine style and Beaver Creek’s European-flavored resort village.
Arrowhead at Vail opened in 1985. As it turned out, the ski area may have been a bit ahead of its time. Progress in real estate was slow in spite of a challenging new Jack Nicklaus golf course that had just opened. But in 1992 Vail Associates did what we had hoped for: they bought Arrowhead and, in doing so, put the final piece in place in the ultimate development of the Vail Valley.
And it turned out that I, too, was still considered an integral piece of the Vail operation. Fittingly enough, given the emphasis I had always placed on racing at Vail, my return to Vail Associates happened on the most triumphant day of racing that Vail had ever had: Feb. 12, 1989, the final day of the FIS World Alpine Ski Championships. The prize ceremonies were coming to an end, and I was standing at the rear of the stage, not far from George Gillett, who was fairly beaming with happiness. These championships – the first held in the U.S. since that long-ago competition in Aspen in 1950 – had gone beautifully, and Vail now commanded new respect from the Europeans who ruled international ski racing.
Gillett turned to me.
“What a day!” he cried.
He then looked me in the eye, grabbed my shoulders in a bear hug, and shouted, “Pete! When are you coming back?”
“Back to work for Vail Associates. We need you, fella.”
I’d been waiting quite a while for something like this to happen. I laughed and said, “Sounds great. Let me think about it. I’ll get back to you soon, George.”
I paused for a full five seconds while George frowned slightly, then said, “Okay, it’s a deal. Where’s my office?”
The following is the 64th installment of the Vail Daily’s serialization of “Vail: Triumph of a Dream” by Vail Pioneer and Founder Pete Seibert. This excerpt comes from Chapter 13, entitled “Heart of the Rockies.” The book can be purchased at the Colorado Ski Museum, as well as bookstores and other retailers throughout the Vail Valley.
Support Local Journalism
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User