Our company’s military roots run deep. Vail Mountain – our namesake and first resort – was founded in the 1960s by Pete Seibert of the 10th Mountain Division and Army engineer Earl Eaton, both of whom served during World War II (WWII).
The Rockies – A WWII Training Ground
The 10th Mountain Division was constituted by the United States Army on July 10, 1943, and activated on July 15, at Camp Hale, Colorado. Camp Hale, located in the mountains surrounding where Vail Mountain now operates, quickly became a training ground for soldiers to learn to ski, snowshoe and climb – including one of our visionary founders, Pete Seibert. By January 1945, the division was executing combat operations in northern Italy. Now, the land once used for training sits in the White River National Forest and was designated as the newest national monument in the US, the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument.
Vail Resorts Roots
Our founders, Pete and Earl, recognized the untapped potential of the Colorado Rockies for skiing and envisioned creating a world-class resort. They leveraged their expertise in terrain assessment to pioneer trail design and infrastructure development to ensure that Vail Mountain would offer challenging and enjoyable skiing experiences.
In 1962, Vail Mountain opened with two chairlifts and one gondola, marking the birth of what would later become Vail Resorts. The legacy of the 10th Mountain Division can still be felt today in the challenging terrain, adventurous spirit, and the commitment to the outdoors that continues to inspire team members across Vail Resorts.
Honoring & Supporting Veterans Today
In addition to honoring the legacy of the 10th Mountain Division, Vail Resorts has maintained a strong and ongoing commitment to supporting the military community. In 2018, we announced special Epic Military Pass products to honor the service of our Vail Resorts founders, and the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, Canadian Armed Forces, and the Australian Defence Force. This pass allows current and past members of the military and their families to ski at our resorts for a highly discounted price.
In 2023, we announced the creation of the Veterans, Partners and Allies Affinity Group as part of our Employee Inclusion Network. This employee-founded and led community aims to foster culture and comradery for veterans and partners through connection and outreach. We continue to work with nonprofit partners like Vail Veterans, Operation Healing Forces, Operation Second Chance, Tactical Reintegration Project, and the National Ability Center to make the sport even more accessible to veterans.
Our commitment to supporting military families and veterans is a testament to the enduring legacy of the 10th Mountain Division and the spirit of service that has become an integral part of our history, and ongoing culture.