Vail’s challenge: building in the mountains |

Vail’s challenge: building in the mountains

Dick Hauserman
Daily file photoAl and Gerri Cohen. Al learned how to build in the mountains, and Cohen Construction Company of Denver was retained by the Vail group to build a number of projects in Vail.

Al Cohen owned the Cohen Construction Company of Denver and through the years became the builder of several of the high-rise buildings that exist today in downtown Denver. He was retained by the Vail group to build the upper and lower terminals of the gondola, the Lodge at Vail, my first commercial building on Bridge Street, and the townhomes along Gore Creek.

The lower gondola terminal became a headache because the crew had to dig approximately 40 feet below the surface to get enough room for the counterbalance of the gondola cable. Because the water level in the spring was very high – just a few feet below the surface – it became very difficult to dig that hole. The sidewalls kept falling in, making the job very dangerous.

Earl Eaton, even though he had a rope to protect him, had a close call when one of the sidewalls collapsed on him. Completing the upper terminal was a problem in the freezing weather, and it was finally finished late in the fall. The Hauserman Building proceeded on schedule and was the first building that could be occupied in the new town. As a result, my wife and I moved to Vail on Oct. 21, 1962, and became the first ever permanent residents of Vail.

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 26th installment, an excerpt from chapter, “Creating a Plan to Make it Work.” 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.

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