Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: Hauserman embodied Vail’s spirit |

Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: Hauserman embodied Vail’s spirit

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado

Dick Hauserman was the most accessible of Vail’s pioneers for visitors and newcomers, in recent years as well as back in the beginning.

Just as visitors were likely to meet him first in Vail back when, plenty met him in recent years as he signed his book, “Inventors of Vail,” at the Vail and Minturn farmers’ markets.

I met him in 2002 after he wrote the book about Vail’s early years and had this crazy idea about serializing it in the newspaper.

As with so many of his ideas, it was a pretty big hit. We ran excerpts daily that ski season and then next one, too.

Then we ran Pete Seibert’s book the same way, then Bill Clinkenbeard’s book about building Cordillera, and then probably my personal favorite, ski instructor Allen Smith’s “Ski Instructors Anonymous,” which we’re running again this winter.

This was classic Dick, as I came to learn. Always trying things and often pulling them off pretty darn well, too.

After writing, he turned to art. Wouldn’t you know it, he sold his sketchings for handy little sums, too.

Did I mention he was well into his mid-80s when I met him?

In midlife, he had started anew

in Vail, freed of corporate life in Cleveland.

First he bought into Pete Seibert’s vision for Vail and then set about getting everyone else he met to buy in, too. He built the first habitable building, became the first resident, started the first ski shop, served on Vail Associates’ first board, helped start the ski club and the golf course and I’m sure a dozen other big firsts, including designing the logo Vail Resorts still uses today.

I didn’t really care about any of that. I just instantly thought he was a great guy. He was one of those rare people who can make you believe that you are the most important person in his life while just chatting with him.

I can tell you firsthand he was

that way at 93, everything I read tells me that he was this way at 43, and

I’ll bet all I have (admittedly not much) that he was born this way.

I’m sure he chatted up his mom

while she labored, just to, you know, make the experience a little more pleasant.

Yeah, I liked the guy.

Favorite memory? Well, one Vail market day, I sat for a while between Dick and Scott Carpenter while they signed their books, met old friends and chatted with new admirers. During lulls, what were they talking about, these two greats?

Well, they were admiring the attractive women walking past.

“Don, you know, some things don’t change with age,” Dick confided.

To me, Hauserman embodied the lively spirit of Vail at her best.

Don Rogers is the editor and publisher of the Vail Daily. He can be reached at or 970-748-2920. He welcomes your comments at

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