Vail CO, Colorado
We were saddened to hear of William “Sarge” Brown’s death last weekend.
Brown was another one of the 10th Mountain Division veterans who laid the groundwork for the ski industry in this country. Brown has been acknowleged as a pioneer in snowmaking and grooming, without which the ski industry today simply couldn’t operate.
He was also known for bringing an almost-military discipline to what, at the time, was a pretty ragtag crew at Vail.
Brown demanded, and got, discipline from his crews. He was also unafraid to tell a series of bosses at Vail Associates (precursor to Vail Resorts), just exactly what he thought.
Those qualities made Brown a lot of fun to talk to. We’ve relied on his memory quite a bit over the last few years as his fellow ski industry pioneers have preceded him to the Great Beyond. He was always good with a quip, and his memory remained sharp about nearly anyone we asked about.
He also invited more than one reporter to his Grand Junction home for a visit, which, unfortunately, we never were able to pull together.
Times change, but some things, like the thrill of heading down a mountain on a freshly-groomed trail, are evergreen.
Those of us who glide on the corduroy should give a quick, final thank-you to Sarge Brown on their first run of the coming season.