Byron and Vi Brown were instrumental in building up the Vail community and Ski Club Vail |

Byron and Vi Brown were instrumental in building up the Vail community and Ski Club Vail

Sharon Schmidt
Special to the Daily
Vi and Byron Brown decided to move to Vail in 1963. They built the first home in West Vail, and Byron’s real estate firm was one of the first businesses in town.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail honorees

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail began preparation over a year ago for its Alumni Reunion Weekend, which will take place Feb. 6-8 during the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. This community-wide celebration features the first-ever Hall of Fame and Wall of Excellence induction on Feb. 7 at the Four Seasons Resort Vail.

Hall of Fame, Athlete Category

Sarah Schleper

Hall of Fame, Leader Category

Byron and Vi Brown

Wall of Excellence, Athlete Category

Rudd Pyles-Knutzen

Johnny Buxman

Jeff Gorsuch

Chad Fleischer

Ali Levy

Sylvan Ellefson

Wall of Excellence, Leader Category

Tom Pitcher

Pete Seibert Jr.

Larry Benway

Mike Porter

VAIL — Vi and Byron Brown have touched the lives of so many people, both young and old, in the Vail community since their arrival in Vail in 1964. Vail represented the land of opportunity for Byron Brown in the early 1960s, having explored a number of mountain living options while Vi Brown stayed behind with the children in the Front Range. With Byron Brown having spoken to a number of people, including Pete Seibert Sr., during his visit to Vail, and Vi and Byron Brown having spent every free moment escaping the city to “play” in the mountains as a young couple, there was not a moment of hesitation when Byron Brown asked Vi Brown if she would move to Vail, a community of just over a 100 people at the time.

There was not a lot to do in Vail in the early 1960s, especially in the winter, and so skiing quickly became an important part of the Brown’s family life. Starting out at Meadow Mountain, their children transitioned to Ski Club Vail as they were ready. Ski Club Vail was not just a place for children to focus their time and energy in the winter — it was a place for families to gather and support the interests of their children.

Vi and Byron Brown took on so many instrumental volunteer roles during their time at Ski Club Vail. Vi Brown announced many races at Golden Peak (known as the “Golden Voice of Golden Peak”). She often braved the cold as a gatekeeper at races, recalling a particularly icy day when she slid from her hillside post, hanging from the end of a bamboo gate until the racer passed her so as not to interfere with their run.

Donating their time

Many hours were spent by both Vi and Byron Brown helping to make Ski Club’s early fundraisers a success, including its Halloween Party and Ski Swap.

Much of Byron Brown’s time was spent in technical roles, including running races on Golden Peak, providing leadership at the start and setting up timing, serving as a U.S. technical delegate and becoming deeply involved with USSA chairing the Alpine Competition Committee setting race schedules for the five-state region. Byron also played an instrumental role alongside Vail Resorts in bringing the first World Cups to Vail.

When it became clear that Ski Club Vail could not properly serve its racers or the races it was hosting without a facility, Byron Brown retired his seat on the board to lead the charge in building a clubhouse at the base of Golden Peak for Ski Club Vail athletes and coaches, an initiative made possible through the helping hands of countless volunteers from the Vail community.

Byron Brown was instrumental in forming the Buddy Werner Ski League in the area with Vi Brown at his side, an organization which transitioned many great skiers to racers at Ski Club Vail.

Vi and Byron Brown each served on Ski Club Vail’s board of trustees, both as trustee and chairman. They also hosted many a young ski racer coming to town for races from Aspen, Steamboat and Crested Butte, broadening their family’s circle of friends in the world-wide ski racing community.

Vi and Byron Brown’s children enjoyed much success during their time at Ski Club, not just on the hill, but in learning many valuable life lessons.

Impact still felt

Vail was so new when Vi and Byron Brown moved here. They were so excited to have Ski Club Vail to sink their teeth into, work on, be proud of and for their entire family to be involved in.

Vi and Byron Brown were both recipients of SSCV’s Zella Gorsuch Memorial Award. Then SSCV Volunteer of the Year Award is named after the two of them.

Vi and Byron Brown have been and remain very active members of the community. Byron Brown was involved in real estate development and sales from the very early days of Vail, having transitioned from a career in electronics. He also served as a ski patroller at Vail Mountain. Vi Brown was dedicated to serving locals and visitors alike, with a small business known as Mountain Designs and working at local retail establishments as well as at the Vail Information Booth. Vi Brown was among the group of Vail women who founded the Eagle Valley Community Fund.

Vi and Byron Brown’s impact on the valley continues to be felt to this day through their work with the Eagle Valley Community Fund’s annual Rummage Sale. They have won the Hornblower Award for their overall community involvement and have been the recipients of Rotary Club awards.

Vi and Byron Brown’s passion for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and the Vail community can be felt in everything they say and do.

Sharon Schmidt is director of admissions and communications for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

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