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2000 – Seibert says so long

Peter W. Seibert
Courtesy Vail ResortsPete Seibert's dream of building Vail ultimately "made a lot of money and created a world-class ski resort." But it never stopped him from doing what he loved best - cruising the powder on Vail Mountain.
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During the first 10 years, 1962 to 1972, it was a rustic settlement, and we were a high-spirited family of romantic pioneers who filled the Eagle Valley with optimism and an almost childlike innocence and generosity. (Cynics may find that description nauseating, but I refuse to back down from it.) We also made a lot of money and created a world-class ski resort. These were the “beyond belief years.”

During the second period, 1973 to 1984, waves of new people came to town to build on the foundation laid by us pioneers. Some of them turned out to be opportunists, who invested, made money, and left. The amount of building was phenomenal, and, even though it generated profit – as well as some questionable architecture – some of the early settlers chose to move away to escape the roar of bulldozers and the steadily spreading carpet of condominiums. Still, the mountain offered magnificent skiing, while remaining an utterly family-oriented resort, and Vail received accolades from ski writers around the world. These were the “sweet and sour years.”

The third period, 1985 to the present, saw some marvelous development and on-mountain expansion – China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin, among others. Real estate boomed, and our population of millionaires per square foot was probably exceeded only by St. Moritz or Aspen. But there was also a lively sense of vitality about the place, a deeply rooted optimism. Vail was a resort for the millennium – irrefutably better groomed, better designed, and better run than any ski area on Earth. These are the “future-is-now years.”

Some time ago I became hooked on the idea of writing a book about my life and times, with emphasis on the discovery of Vail Mountain and the ultimate dream that it enabled. Neither Earl Eaton nor I were much good at documenting long-range ideas. I guess the only tangible evidence of our vision other than the town and the mountains themselves was the scale model of the mountain we had built to show prospective investors. The model, about 3 feet by 5 feet, displayed in topographic detail the terrain included in the Forest Service permit. It was, unfortunately, lost in the ensuing years. Somehow this magic, miniature Vail Mountain had managed to contain all of our passionate plans and heartfelt hopes for the future as it looked to us more than four decades ago.

But that future is now, and I am a happy man. Vail is in good hands. My family – including three sons, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren – is well, and most everyone is marvelously skilled at my beloved sport of ski racing. The grandchildren – two boys and three girls – have racked up many medals in junior alpine competitions over the years, and they are just getting started. The Seiberts have lived in this Colorado Camelot for most of their lives and most of them wouldn’t trade it, no matter what its imperfections may be.

How do you bring such a story to a close? You don’t. You just let it go on and on. …

Hell, I’m only 75!

Editor’s note: On July 15, about two years after he completed this book, Pete Seibert died after a long bout with cancer. He was 77 years old.

This is the 68th and final 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.


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