Arrowhead parallels VA’s corporate transformation
In September 1979, the property was sold to a seven-member group that included Fitzhugh Scott, Pepi Gramshammer, Jennings Wright, Fred Green, Andrew Norris and the Viele Duddy Company. In 1982, the Houston-based Wedge Group purchased most of the interest, and the development of the land began. The Arrowhead Ski Area opened in December 1988. Vail Associates acquired the property in 1993.
“I spent 50 years trying to make the land level for farming and they put the hills and bumps back in,” said Pete Dodo.
Progress cannot be stopped, but it should be controlled. After a succession of presidents – Dick Peterson, Jack Marshall, and Harry Frampton (a story in itself) – Harry Bass from Dallas, the brother of Dick Bass, gained control of Vail Associates. During his regime, Vail changed. It was more static with less personality. However, during Harry’s time at the controls, he carried on with the previously started new and compact Beaver Creek development.
Then there was the Gillett period. George Gillett is a skier who loves the mountains. He implemented much of the planning from the Harry Bass era. He again gave Vail an injection of spirit and leadership, returning the vitality and enthusiasm of the earlier years. If he had stayed, Vail would have grown on a reasonable basis, and the community closeness would have been preserved. Gillett was people-oriented and strove for guest satisfaction.
When Gillett ran into financial difficulties, Vail Associates was acquired by the Apollo Partners, a New York firm financed by a French bank – Credit Lyonnais. This occurred in August 1992. In August 1996, the new owners changed the name to Vail Resorts. In February 1997, Vail Resorts became a public company.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 139th installment, an excerpt from chapter 16, “Inventors Out … Corporations In.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.