When Vail Mountain’s founders gazed out from the mountaintop in March of 1957, they saw more than beautiful slopes blanketed in snow. They saw deeper, recognizing the opportunity to share their skiing passion with the world. As veterans of the Second World War and accomplished skiers, both Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton knew how to harness their expertise, commit to their vision, and fight for their dreams. On that epic day in what the local Ute tribe referred to as “The Shining Mountains”, Seibert and Eaton staked the future of Vail Resorts.
A New England native, Seibert came to Colorado in the early 1940s to train with the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, just twenty miles south of Vail Mountain. From there he went on to serve in northern Italy’s Apennine Mountains. But the small arms fire and mortar shells of war nearly terminated this ski enthusiast’s time on the slopes. When Seibert’s right kneecap was blown off at the Battle of Riva Ridge, doctors informed him that his skiing days were done, and he may not even walk again. But two ski seasons after Armistice Day, 1945, this die-hard was a ski instructor and member of the Aspen Ski Patrol, where he met native Coloradan Eaton.
According to Eaton, everybody was combing the Rockies for a great ski resort location post World War II. But these guys took the prospect as seriously as they had their military service and pals from the 10th Mountain Division. A seven-hour climb to the summit in deep snow revealed what were to become the world-famous bowls of Vail, as well as extraordinary potential. Now it was time to frame the dream in reality. It was time to get to work.
Imagine getting a condo unit and lifetime season pass at Vail for a mere $10,000? That was the investment and reward in the late 1950s and early ‘60s if you believed in the vision of these veterans. To land a permit from the United States Forest Service, they needed to first get $1 million in the bank, a culmination of funding from the many who believed in, and very much wanted to see, the reality of a great ski resort at Vail Mountain. In the true spirit of a mortar wound survivor, Pete Seibert stated “Everybody else thought we were crazy, but we thought we could do any damn thing we decided to do.” And they did. Winter sport enthusiasts were quick to embrace world-class skiing located halfway between Denver and Aspen. With the price of a lift ticket at $5 in the opening winter of 1962, Vail became Colorado’s most popular ski resort in just seven years.
Fast forward to another landmark March. With foresight that would forever change the landscape of snow sports, the Epic Pass was introduced on March 18, 2008. The Seibert – Eaton ideal of making skiing and snowboarding more accessible than ever advanced by giant steps.
These two winter sports visionaries never forgot their training or experience in serving with the United States Military. Vail Resorts carries on the commitment to those who serve. Military who are actively serving, retired or veterans, as well their dependents, are given a deep discount on the Epic Season Pass. $99 lets active and retired military and their dependents ski all eighteen resorts with unlimited access during the 2018/2019 season. Veteran military and dependents also get one pass for unlimited access to eighteen resorts, for only $499, with dependent children aged 5-17 eligible for passes at $269. To further ground their commitment to carrying on the legacy of their founders, Vail Resorts will donate $1 from every season pass sold in the 2018-19 season to the Wounded Warriors Project® (WWP.)
If you’re as passionate about winter sports as 10th Mountain Division veteran Pete Seibert or army engineer Earl Eaton were, or are curious about what it means to ski in their tracks, this discount is an opportunity not to be missed. Seize the moment! Ski with a pass that honors your service.