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The Back Bowls were key

Peter W. Seibert
In all of their previous explorations throughout Colorado, Pete and Earl had seen nothing to match the Back Bowls, an almost treeless universe of boundless powder, open slopes, and open sky.
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I had gone to war with the U.S. Army’s famed 10th Mountain Division and suffered devastating wounds over much of my body.

After a painful postwar recovery, I had left New England to find a mountain in the West where I could build ski lifts and a village at its base.

I worked as a ski patroller in Aspen and made the 1950 U.S. Alpine Ski Team.

Then I attended a French-language hotel school in Switzerland, where I learned from the Swiss the fine art of hospitality and service.

In 1955 I had married Elizabeth “Betty” Pardee, and we had a 2-year-old son. I was managing my first ski area at Loveland while looking for one to build from scratch.

Then, early in the winter of 1957, Earl Eaton confided to me that he had seen this nameless mountain west of Vail Pass that was rarely visited, except by stray prospectors and shepherds. He had explored it thoroughly with his Geiger counter ticking. There was no uranium to be mined, but he told me that it was the damnedest ski mountain he had ever seen. He said that the only reason someone hadn’t already developed it was because no one could see the top slopes or the miraculous Back Bowls from the valley below.

Editor’s note: This is the third installment of the Vail Daily’s serialization of “Vail: Triumph of a Dream” by Vail Pioneer and Founder Pete Seibert. This excerpt comes from Chapter One, entitled “Up the no-name mountain.” The book can be purchased at the Colorado Ski Museum, as well as bookstores and other retailers throughout the Vail Valley.


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