Vail prepares for 50th birthday |

Vail prepares for 50th birthday

AP file photo/Vail DailyWooden skis stand at the archives building in Golden where Vail's Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame keeps and collects items. The museum will be looking for vintage skis during a recycling event today and Friday in Vail.

VAIL, Colorado – Preparations are already under way for Vail’s 50th anniversary in 2012.

Vail Resorts is planning a big, “iconic” event simiar to Spring Back to Vail or Snow Daze, but probably even bigger, said Adam Sutner, director of marketing for Vail Mountain.

“The notion of Vail’s founding 50 years ago, what we in the marketing team call the ‘spirit of Vail’ that came out of the vision of our original founders, is an important underpinning of today’s powerful Vail brand,” Sutner wrote in an e-mail.

The celebration would be along the lines of the celebrations of Harley-Davidson’s 100th anniversary a few years ago in Milwaukee, he said. For that event, a crowd of 150,000 bought tickets for a concert featuring Tim McGraw, Kid Rock and Elton John.

Vail Resorts has also committed to help fund a documentary about Vail’s history by Roger Brown, a Gypsum-area resident who came to the Vail Valley in 1961 as a ski filmmaker. Brown made several popular ski films and commercials during his time in Vail, and has ski footage dating from before Vail’s opening.

“I have Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton up there skiing when there were no lifts,” Brown said.

Vail Mountain opened for business on Dec. 15, 1962.

“I want to do this film because I’ve lived it, and I want the town of Vail to have the story,” Brown said.

Brown will be collecting new footage and interviews in the next couple of years.

Today and Friday, the Colorado Ski Museum will be collecting ski equipment as well as stories for a 50th anniversary exhibit. The museum is looking for:

• Stories about Vail’s residents and their accomplishments.

• Olympic clothing, coats, skis, stocking hats, flags and non-newspaper memorabilia like photos.

• Ski patrol clothing, skis, equipment and photos.

• 10th Mountain Division artifacts such as skis, poles, clothing and equipment.

• Wooden skis from the 1880s through 1930s.

• Old ski clothing from the 1880s through 1940s.

The town of Vail will also plan the 50th anniversary events. Planning will start this spring, said town spokeswoman Suzanne Silverthorn.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

Support Local Journalism