Pitcher, Seibert nominated to Ski Club Vail’s Wall of Excellence
Special to the Daily
Editor’s note: Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is naming six people to its first Wall of Excellence in the Athlete Category and four people to its Leader Category on Feb. 7 at the Four Seasons Vail. Tom Pitcher and Pete Seibert Jr. are among the four people being inducted into the Wall of Excellence Leader Category.
Originally from Iowa, Tom joined the military at the age of 19, traveling the world and serving his country as a fighter pilot. Tom later went on to become a pilot for Delta Airlines.
Diverting to Vail in the late 1960s for a family vacation when there turned out to be no snow in Taos, the entire family fell in love with the mountain and the town and decided to spend the next winter in Vail. By the following winter, they were full-time residents of Vail, leaving behind a brand new home they had just finished building in Houston for life in the Vail Valley. Tom continued his career as a pilot with Delta, commuting for assignments and his children went on to ski race with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.
Tom and his wife Kay volunteered every free moment they had with SSCV Tom served the Club in many ways. In the early days, he was timing races and rallying athletes from other parts of Colorado to race in Vail. Tom, together with Ed Livran, started the Vail Cup, which exists to this day, attracting racers from across Colorado.
After attending referee school in Colorado Springs, he became a USSA licensed race referee, which helped enable SSCV to run USSA sanctioned races in Vail. Tom would help out with the construction of the clubhouse whenever he had a free moment. The opening of the clubhouse doors remains one of Tom’s fondest memories of the organization, realizing just how needed it was to support its racers and what an amazing community effort it represented.
Tom was also instrumental in helping to expand the coaching staff at SSCV and served as a SSCV trustee and board president. Tom was the first Zella Gorsuch Memorial Award winner in 1977 and went on to win it a second time in 1979. He also coached young athletes in the Valley’s Buddy Werner league.
SSCV was like a second career to Tom, something he was fully committed to and engaged with. Tom’s leadership and commitment has indeed left a mark on SSCV.
Pete Seibert Jr.
Pete Seibert Jr. has been involved in many ways with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, not only as an athlete in the early years of the Club, but also as an SSCV parent, trustee and board president.
Moving to Vail from Leadville as a second-grader in the early 1960s, Pete saw all of the big kids skiing a lot faster than him and told his dad he wanted to ski with him. And so, he began training around willow gates with SSCV coach Don Larsh and remained a SSCV athlete until 1973.
Fast forward to Pete’s senior year of high school. Modest about his career as a SSCV athlete, Pete recollected qualifying to compete in Junior Nationals, where he came in 50th in the downhill, which he felt a good result for him. The good sport that he is, Pete playfully recounted competing in the Roch Cup in Aspen that same year, a competition his dad, Pete Seibert, Sr., one of the founders of Vail, had previously taken first and second places in. Pete, Jr.’s claim to fame in that race was straddling an entire flush (a race course gate configuration in that competition), subsequently getting disqualified.
Pete went on to attend Middlebury College, graduating in 1977. He went on several years later to obtain a business degree from the University of Denver.
Pete’s own children grew up in SSCV, starting out in Gravity Core, which re-involved Pete as a Club parent from the early 1990s until the late 2000s. He was on the SSCV board for 16 of those years, very involved with volunteer work, recalling in particular how he was always trying to find enough gate keepers and the excitement of working the Birds of Prey course for the World Cups.
Pete’s wisdom and direction in facilitating progress in the development of facilities, such as the expansion of early season snowmaking, at Golden Peak has had a transformative impact on the club and the community. He was also instrumental a few years prior in working with the Town of Vail in redesigning the driveway at the Club to better accommodate cars at drop off and pick up.
When asked about what a family gets out of SSCV, Pete replied that it provides a lot of extra time you get to spend with your children that you can never replace.
Seibert is also aware of the impact that SSCV has on empowering local youth. Throughout the years, he has heard many compliments from SSCV alumni who note the lessons and work ethic they learned while at SSCV. Chris Steinberg, MD, who raced with Seibert at SSCV before attending Middlebury, told Seibert that the club taught her the discipline needed to get her through medical school, helping kids do a whole lot more than ski race.
Seibert also recounted a comment from SSCV alumnus Steve Yestness, who test flew helicopters for the Air Force — the downhill gave him the courage to keep his hand on the stick, and the slalom taught him humility.
Migrating out of the ski resort industry, Pete has spent the past 25 years involved in real estate in the Vail Valley, most recently with Slifer, Smith & Frampton.
He is a past recipient of SSCV’s Zella Gorsuch Memorial Award. He continues to give back to the community as a ski buddy with the Vail Vets program and is also a member of the Minturn Economic Development Advisory Council.
Pete has not only experienced, but contributed to, the forward movement of the Club in many special ways throughout several generations.
It would be really hard to spark a wildfire anywhere near Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek right now. Still, unattended campfires will always draw attention.