The de la Lamas – Vail’s Mexican connection
They came to Vail the first year, but because the medical facilities were inadequate, they returned to Aspen, where they had skied before.
Vail was given a second chance when the clinic was opened. The de la Lamas have enjoyed life here in the mountains ever since, spending about half of the year here.
Their story is unique. It was through Victor de la Lama and his friends that an ever-increasing number of Mexican families started coming to Vail.
“We brought our friends here,” he said. “They, in turn, brought their friends, and after a few years, there were hundreds of Mexican families enjoying Vail, especially during the Easter holidays.”
The family started staying in the Plaza Lodge, then rented a house. Soon they bought their own condo in Lionshead Center. Now they live in a beautiful home in Beaver Creek.
When they first came to Vail, they loved the small-town feeling. They were closer to the Denver airport than they were in Aspen and had made friends with the early Vailites. They also brought their friends Tom and Jeannie Ehrenberg, who own their home here, too, and have been coming to Vail for years.
“We really enjoyed the skiing,” de la Lama said. “We always had good snow. It was wonderful seeing my family grow up. It was a perfect environment for families to enjoy Christmas together.”
Some members of his family have made their home in Vail, and his grandchildren have become national heroes in skiing. Their granddaughter, Chus III, represented Mexico at the Olympics in Norway, and their grandson, Rodrigo, would have made the Mexican Olympic team except for a political problem. Even so, he has distinguished himself as a very competent downhill skier in the United States, with many medals to prove it.
Victor de la Lama is an architect of renown in Mexico. He studied at the University of Mexico and has had a long and industrious career. He recently designed a spectacular 18-story building in the center of Mexico City commonly called “the tree building.” His father owned Parque de la Lama along Reforma Boulevard in the center of Mexico City. It is reminiscent of Central Park in New York City. However, it is sad to report that it, too, fell into the hands of developers who are filling it with buildings.
Without the foresight of the de la Lamas in bringing so many good neighbors to Vail from the south, a large segment of Vail’s growth and prosperity would be missing.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 110th installment, an excerpt from chapter 12, “The Ever-Increasing “New Locals.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.