For Bob Zeeb, living in the Vail Valley for nearly 40 years has been an adventure. He started out as a busboy at a French restaurant in Vail Village when he was about 22 years old. He did odd jobs in order to get free ski passes, and eventually worked with the ski patrol on Vail Mountain before starting a lucrative construction business. After a brief stint away from the valley to focus on professional racing ” he raced with Jack Rousch and the Ford Motor Company racing teams from 1986 to 1994 ” now Zeeb, 60, is enjoying life downvalley. He has a love for motorcycles, and rides both recreationally and to raise money for charities. Recently divorced, Zeeb is now exploring the local dating scene and living life to its fullest.
I got here in December of 1969 after I got out of the Navy. I was on my way to Aspen, to see some friends, but I stopped here first and started having a good time. So I started working at a French restaurant as a busboy. I had a job, a place to stay and one free meal a day. I didn’t have a ski pass so I would go up and “ticket pack.” We would side-step the hills to pack the snow down and they’d give you a couple days free skiing for it ” this is before they had all the snow cats and modern equipment.
Then I ended up on the trail crew, doing sweeping of the mountain and helping ski patrol.
Eventually I got on ski patrol and did that for 10 years.
I have tons of stories, but I guess my biggest claim to fame was the gondola crash around 1976. Two (gondola) cars crashed to the ground on Lionshead. At that time I was in charge of lift evacuation. I got the call that we had two cars in the snow. I organized all of the teams to go in and evacuate all the people off ” the whole (gondola) line of people.
I’m doing a house now in Beaver Dam Circle. I like to stay with custom homes and the remodels. I have a good group of people I work with and I couldn’t ask for more. I’m much happier doing the small things.
I started drag racing and motorcycle racing as kid. I had a go-cart and my dad bought a new lawn mower, and I took the engine out of that and put it in my go-cart. I had to put it all back together; I was grounded for ages.
I’m still not old enough to play golf. I’m a gear head, so to speak. I have a passion for racing. It’s a lot of hard work and people working for a common goal. If you’re involved with racing, you love that goal. It’s the same vision people like Pete Seibert had for Vail.
Just like in the earlier days, everybody knew everybody in the village and it was more of a hometown atmosphere. If somebody threw a party, everybody was invited. If you needed help, everyone would help. It’s gone from that to a tourist town, which is great because that’s what the mountain is all about. I’m grateful for that shift; I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of the things I’ve done if it wasn’t for that. The valley hasn’t really lost its charm; the only charm it’s lost is that it costs a lot of money. I moved downvalley because it’s cheaper down here.
The community is still based on good core values of people who enjoy and respect their surroundings. Everyone is still friendly, it’s still a good community, and everyone is still connected to the outdoors. I’m glad to see people are starting to realize about building green.
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