Vail ski museum’s ski historian, Pat Pfeiffer, passes away |

Vail ski museum’s ski historian, Pat Pfeiffer, passes away

Susie TjossemSpecial to the Vail DailyVail, CO Colorado
The picture of Pat Pfeiffer originally ran in the Vail Daily in 1986

VAIL, Colorado -The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum in Vail has lost a dear friend. Our historian, Patricia Ann Pfeiffer, passed away in Colorado Springs on March 3. Luckily for us, Pat discovered her passion for skiing back in the 1940s at Winter Park while attending college at Colorado College, where she met her future husband Bill Pfeiffer. Their passion for skiing led Pat and Bill to be part owners of Pikes Peak ski area. She used to tell us that, back then, ski attire was 10th Mountain Division jackets purchased at the surplus stores and ski fashion was for city slickers. The following quote from Pat explains why, in the latter half of her life, she helped launch the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum: “Skiing in Colorado is not only a recreation, it was instrumental in settling the state, thus helping to form the nation. It was a method of communication, mail delivery, mining, getting to school, etc. and it became a major recreational industry in the country and the world. “Colorado’s skiing is distinctive and attracts a world audience and is considered by many to be the best in the world. The state also has played a leading role in teaching, avalanche control, fashions, equipment, etc. There’s a huge story to tell and we need a world-class museum to tell it.” For over 35 years, Pat was a tireless worker for the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum, serving as its historian, on its board of directors, and on its advisory board. She was instrumental in helping the museum open its resource center in Golden and spearheaded the process of gaining accreditation for the museum. Each week, Pat drove from Colorado Springs to Golden to volunteer at the resource center research library. Over the years, many have considered themselves experts on Colorado’s “lost ski areas” but they soon learned that Pat knew more than anyone. She had photos and trail maps of most lost ski areas in Colorado. Pat was very proud of the museum. She was especially pleased with its statewide education outreach programs and weekly speaker series. Not just a volunteer who chronicled history, Pat was also a prolific writer. While she focused her attention on the history of skiing, she wrote a book on the subject, “White Gold.” She was featured in the PBS documentary, “Ski! A Century of Colorado Skiing”. Pat was married to Bill Pfeiffer for 56 years and had four children: Jan Hiland, of Gypsum, Robert Pfeiffer, of Parker, Colo., Kristi Pfeiffer Peck, of Colorado Springs, and Eric Pfeiffer, of San Francisco. In addition ten grandchildren brought great joy.It is fitting we celebrate Pat’s life and accomplishments with the “skiers toast” written by Pat in 1982:Drink to the snow that’s coming downDrink to the revelry in townDrink to the mountain steep and highDrink to the skier schussing byDrink to friends that have gone beforeDrink to the friends we are with once moreDrink to the skiers that will come here afterDrink to a life of love and laughterIn lieu of flowers the family encourages memorial contributions be sent to the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum, P.O. Box 1976 Vail, CO 81658 or the Pikes Peak Hospice Foundation, 825 East Pikes Peak Avenue, Suite 600, Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3624. Services will be held at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College at 10 a.m. on March 20, 902 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO.

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