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Pepi recognized by Austrian government

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyPepi Gramshammer holds a trophy presented to him by the Austrian government for his successful life here in Vail as a business man.
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VAIL – The Austrian government recently honored Vail pioneer Pepi Gramshammer for his achievements in America.Gramshammer was presented with a proclamation of appreciation from Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel on Oct 25. A reception was held in the chancellor’s chambers in Vienna for Gramshammer and five others who were recognized for representing Austrian skiing with their endeavors abroad. The ceremony coincided with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Austrian Ski Federation.Gramshammer, a native of Innsbruck, said he’s always tried to be a good ambassador for Austria.”If someone asks me about Austria, I can always tell them to go here and go there,” he said.

Gramshammer said the Austrian leader was easy to talk to – not dissimilar to another of his famous politician friends, former president Gerald Ford.Sheika Gramshammer, Pepi’s wife, said the chancellor was so intrigued by Pepi’s success story – from his beginnings as a cheesemaker in Austria to his successes as a businessman in America – that the event lasted longer than the hour for which it was slated.”The bundeskanzler had so much fun, we stayed for two hours,” she said.Gramshammer came to Vail from Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1962, when he was recruited by businessman Dick Hauserman to race for Vail. He met Sheika that year, and the two have run the Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer since 1964 and Pepi Sports since 1968.The mountain, the proximity to Denver, the good weather, the high altitude – these were all reasons why he decided to buy a lot and build a hotel when there were almost no other buildings in Vail, he said.

“And I was right,” he said.Gramshammer is a former member of the Austrian National Ski Team. He was a top-ranked downhiller in the late 1950s before he joined the U.S. pro circuit in 1961.The men who were recognized alongside Gramshammer were Pepi Stiegler, a medalist in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics; Anderl Molterer, a medalist in the 1956 Games who later moved to Aspen; Klaus Heidegger, a World Cup overall runner-up in the ’70s; Franz Weber, a world-champion speed skier who went on to work for Squaw Creek resort in California; and Karl Plattner, a champion downhiller who worked at Hunter Mountain in New York.===========================Praise for Pepi

Pepi Gramshammer was presented with this proclamation in October:Mr. Pepi Gramshammer is hereby recognized with appreciation for his athletic achievements and his contributions to the honor of Austria as a nation in the world.Dr. Wolfgang SchusselChancellor of Austria

Vienna, Oct. 25, 2005==============================Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or estoner@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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