Rod Slifer to be honored at ski event |

Rod Slifer to be honored at ski event

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyVail Mayor Rod Slifer will be honored as a pioneer of skiing next week at the Colorado Skiing History Gala. He was one of Vail's early ski instructors and its first real estate agent.

VAIL ” Next week, Vail will be the meeting spot for some of the greatest names in skiing. But don’t look for Bode, Lindsey or Toby ” the 15th annual Skiing Heritage Week is more about the folks who got it all started.

Hosted by the International Skiing History Association in conjunction with the Colorado Ski Museum, the Heritage Week will see luminaries from around the ski industry in town, talking, swapping stories, signing books and, yes, skiing.

As part of the week’s activities, Vail Mayor Rod Slifer will be honored as a pioneer of Colorado skiing. Slifer, who came to Vail for the mountain’s first season in 1962 and started out as a ski instructor, went on to become the area’s first real estate agent.

Dave Scott, interim director of the Ski Museum and a board member of the International Skiing History Association, said the choice of Slifer as this year’s honoree was a simple one.

“He was part of the original ski school, so he had an impact on that side, but then he evolved into the real estate and development segment,” he said. “That’s a major piece of the why and how Vail was developed.”

In addition to honoring Slifer, the event organizers also chose to recognize six of Colorado’s pioneer ski areas: Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Mountain, Howelsen Hill, Loveland, Ski Cooper and Winter Park.

Skiing’s legacy

The reason for the museums and heritage organizations, Scott said, is to keep the history alive for those who remember the old days as well as the new generations just entering the sport.

“The goal is to tell the story of what’s happened,” Scott said. “It hasn’t always been high-speed lifts and fancy lodges.”

Five of the six ski areas being honored go back to the 1940s, he said. Howelsen Hill’s history goes back to 1917, when it was used for early ski-jumping contests.

As part of the history week, representatives from all of those early Colorado ski areas will take part in a recorded panel that will be part of the Colorado Ski Museum’s permanent exhibit. Ultimately, he said, all of the state’s ski areas will be represented in that fashion.

For information and to make reservations for any of the events, call 476-1876

Next week’s Skiing Heritage Week has a number of events that are open to the public, including:

Tuesday, April 4

– 6 p.m. ” Welcome reception and book signing with Roger Brown at Colorado Ski Museum.

Wednesday, April 5

-10 a.m. ” Ski day at Ski Cooper, including presentations and reenactments by the 10th Mountain Division.

– 6 p.m. ” 10th Mountain Division book signings with Charles J. Sanders and Robert W. Parker at Sapphire Restaurant, Vail

– 7 p.m. ” Lecture/dinner with presentation about the early days of freestyle skiing by Art Furrer and Doug Pfeiffer; plus freestyle film footage by Roger Brown at Sapphire Restaurant.

Thursday, April 6

– 6 p.m. ” Special screening/preview of 10th Mountain Division “Last Ridge” documentary, Sonnenalp Lodge, Vail.

– 6:45 ” “Movers and Shakers” reception/dinner hosted by Doug Pfeiffer with surprise guest, Sonnenalp.

Friday, April 7

– 6:30 p.m. ” International Skiing History Assn. Reception and awards banquet, Eagle’s Nest.

Saturday, April 8

– 8:30 a.m. ” Historical displays open at Vista Bahn gondola and Colorado Ski Museum

– 7:30 p.m. ” Colorado Skiing History Gala honoring Rod Slifer and six Colorado pioneer ski areas, The Lodge at Vail.

Some of the events are free, others have admission fees. For information and to make reservations, call 476-1876

Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14625, or

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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