Ski museum plans Vail history exhibit |

Ski museum plans Vail history exhibit

Nicole Inglis
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Nancy Nottingham and her family opened up the Talisman Lodge in the young ski town of Vail, Colorado on Christmas Eve of 1968. Nottingham and her family lived in the lodge and ran it along with 30 other partners.

Today, the Talisman has been swallowed up by the Sonnenalp Resort, and the last of the remains from the original building were torn down during the latest remodel.

“It was one of the earlier lodges in town,” Nottingham said. “We want to preserve that legacy.”

Nottingham and other early settlers of the Vail Valley will have the opportunity to display their heritage in a new exhibit at the Colorado Ski Museum. While the Ski Museum has traditionally been dedicated to the legacy of snow sports in Colorado, curator Justin Henderson is hoping to organize a community effort to display the colorful and rich history of the Vail Valley itself.

“We’ve been working for the last few months on an exhibit dedicated to the history and founding of Vail,” Henderson said. “It’s in the first stage. We want it to be sort of organic and grow with the community over the next few years.”

Henderson is asking members of the community to contribute photos or stories from the settlement of Vail.

Nancy’s husband Mauri Nottingham doesn’t think that there has been an exhibit such as this one in the valley before.

“It sounds like a good idea,” he said. “And the ski museum might be a good place for it.”

His wife agreed, and said she would be glad to be involved and contribute photographs, news clippings and an old Talisman brochure.

“Things like hospitals and schools, these are things that are still vital to the community and it’s interesting to see how they’ve changed,” she said. “I remember watching the Seibert boys building roads in the mud with their trucks. It’s just fun to record that sort of thing”

Henderson wants the exhibit to capture the spirit of Vail before there was Vail, the history of the mountain and the colorful characters who have shaped life in the valley.

He said that one of his favorite parts of the exhibit so far include a trail map that shows different parts of Vail Mountain as they developed, giving locals and visitors insight into the peaks and trails that they ski.

“We’ve never had an exhibit on Vail’s history before,” said Henderson, curator of the museum for the last eight years. “But there’s a lot of interest to capture local history and spirit. Vail has only been around for 40 years, but it’s amazing to look at how many buildings have come and gone in that time span.”

He said that the idea for the exhibit came from the many visitors who have come into the museum and wanted to know more.

“The seed was sewn through that need within the community,” he said. “Many of the early Vail pioneers are passing away, like (Earl) Eaton and (Sarge) Brown, and we’ve sensed this kind of need to capture that legacy before it’s gone.”

Although there is not set date for the exhibit to begin, Henderson hopes that the exhibit will get the community involved and show locals and tourists alike the unique flavor and spirit of what it means to live in Vail.

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