Editor’s note: This is an extract from “Women of Vail,” by Elaine Kelton and Carolyn Pope. The Vail Daily is serializing the book as Vail celebrates its 50th anniversary. Books are accessible for acquirement at http://www.bookwormofedwards.com, the Colorado Ski Museum, Pepi’s, Gorsuch, Annie’s, and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. There will be book signings at Vail’s 50th Reunion on Friday and Saturday.
remember aback I aboriginal came to Vail. It was Christmas Eve, 1963. I was in Aspen and was active to Vail to absorb Christmas. Aback I larboard Aspen, the acclimate was nice, and I had the top off the Jeep. I fabricated a amiss about-face in Newcastle and got lost. I fabricated it to Vail actual late, about 10:30, and it was very, actual cold. The temperature was about abrogating 20 degrees that night. What I bethink is that anybody backward up for me and greeted me with accessible arms. That’s what Vail is like. Accessible arms.
What admiring me aboriginal of all was Pepi. What admiring Pepi was the aggregate of my not absent to go aback to Austria and his accepting an befalling to buy acreage in 1963. Again we could body something. With me actuality in appearance and Pepi in racing, the ideal affair was to body a shop. What we begin out afterwards was that you had to body aural one year. They didn’t appetite bodies sitting on the acreage and not architecture because they capital to body a town. We submitted affairs to Vail Associates, and they said we couldn’t body a boutique because Vail Blanche and Blanche Hauserman had the absolute rights to retail for three years, so no added retail boutique could appear in. But we had to body something.
My ancestor had hotels, so I anticipation we could body a little Gasthof, and again in three years we could body some shops. With no experience, we absitively to accessible a hotel. We got affiliated in May of 1964 and opened in December of 1964. I had no abstraction what it would be like in the business, and so I went to Barnes Business School in Denver for three months to apprentice about business. Every day was a new day. Then, it was added or beneath acquirements day by day.
Strong, honest people
Three years later, the befalling came to accessible the shops. We anon angry that into reality. We all bare to get our anxiety on the arena in town. Not aloof anybody could appear in and accessible a restaurant. You had to prove the charge of the neighborhood. It was actual accessible to apprentice because there wasn’t competition. We all had one goal, and that was to body a town. While we were architecture Gramshammer, we had no abstraction about this thing, so I became the administrator of the Plaza Architecture for Dick Hauserman and abstruse how to agent the rooms, how to accomplish up the rooms. I abstruse how to accord with maids. Again I went to the Red Lion because the owners were my accompany (Larry and Marge Burdick) and formed for them as a bartender. I modeled aback I was in Aspen, and I was accompany with the client of the Red Onion and had formed as a cocktail waitress there. That’s how I abstruse to administer a auberge and how to tend a bar.
Entering the business apple of Vail, I had to apprentice fast. I admired bodies and had been into the amusing activity in Vegas, Hollywood and New York. I admired socializing. As Vail was so arid in the beginning, I came up with some ideas, like the picnics. The boondocks bare a hospital and fundraising for that. I abstruse footfall by footfall from my accompany who were experienced. I wasn’t abashed to ask, “How do you do this?” and I wasn’t abashed to say, “I’m sorry, I did article wrong.” That’s aloof allotment of growing up. The admirable affair was at that time there was no greed, no competition, abandoned a dream to accomplish something. Bodies came to Vail from all over the country to authorize themselves and accession a family. They all had a dream to accomplish article acceptable of it. That’s what it is still today because of the foundation; the way it was laid out was with strong, honest people.
I would not change annihilation in my activity and absolutely not the aboriginal bristles or 10 years in Vail. They were some of the best admirable years. It started out with potlucks and dinners; no one capital to eat alone, so we had potlucks, and we’d comedy games. We had no television. Because of that, we had an acquaintance and accord amid all of us. Some I admired more, some I admired beneath – but you talked to everybody. What was altered about this resort was that you had the richest of the affluent – we alleged them millionaires then, but they are the billionaires of now: The Hunts, the Taylors, and we were all arrive to their homes. There were no amusing differences.
It was admirable actuality a adolescent mother to Kira. Everybody helped with babysitting. I was for three years in business, so I bare to accompany addition from Europe to watch the kids. We brought over Omi Krauss aback Kira was aloof six weeks old. Omi had been a nurse, and again she started babysitting.
There were consistently arduous times. There were times aback I wondered if what we were accomplishing was right, abnormally aback the antagonism started advancing in. There was consistently somebody added accomplished than you were. But if you had adamantine times, there was consistently addition to go to. There was never a time that I said I capital to leave town. It was never that hard. Yes, I capital to leave aback I absent my old accompany and the amusing activity in New York City, the fun, the parties, and the things that were activity on. I absent that, but I was the client for Pepi Sports, so I went to New York several times a year, and that was good. I never had a moment aback I said about affective to Vail, “Why did I do that?”
I consistently beam aback I anticipate of the adventures with the advance blaze department. From the alpha of Vail, there were six or seven of them. You know, they were the jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none. Pepi was additionally a firefighter, forth with Larry Burdick, Donovan, Joe Langmaid, and Joe Staufer. They all had to do it, and watching them was so funny. We had one blaze arch from Eagle who accomplished them. We had one badge arch who was added professional, so he gave the orders. I bethink the blaze at the Covered Bridge abundance (Cissy and John Dobson’s place). Pepi had a cold, and it was backward at night. The blast rang, and aback it rang, there was a recording adage what was accident because it was affiliated to all the phones. The recording said, “There’s a blaze at the Covered Bridge.” Pepi was adamantine asleep, so he said, “Oh, don’t anguish about it.” Again he jumped up and shouted, “The Covered Bridge! That’s aloof next-door. We allotment a bank with them.” He got dressed anon and helped abandon everyone, blind on to their adornment and their furs. It was absolutely a fire. Bobby Joe Britton climbed up the ladder, slipped and fell bottomward and bankrupt his leg. We had to booty affliction of the fire, the burst leg and the guests.
Clobber a robber
When we opened in 1964, there was no Clock Tower Building. We lived in the allowance aloft the restaurant and hadn’t unpacked all the actuality we had for the big aperture on Dec. 15. We had some guy sitting in the bar with the bartender and a cook, and he capital article to eat. I went into the kitchen, fabricated sandwiches, again came aback out and served him. He came aback for dinner, and I brought out spaghetti for him, but the guy was gone. I asked the bartender what happened to his friend, and he said he didn’t know, conceivably he went to the bathroom; for bristles or 10 minutes, he still didn’t apperceive area he was, and I anticipation it was strange. Again Cheryl, who affiliated Bobby Joe Britton, said she saw addition walking out with Pepi’s skis. She knew they were Pepi’s because he had Look bindings. We went out and looked for the guy and got him. He’d taken our accoutrements out of the apartment and was annexation us while I was confined him dinner. The sheriff came, and I got in a action with the man. I got so mad aback I saw it was our stuff, I pummeled him. The sheriff said, “Stay abroad from Sheika, she’s violent!” I looked beyond and saw suitcases, and they were our suitcases. While I was attractive afterwards his dinner, he was annexation us. And then, of course, we abject him aback as bound as we could, and I got so mad aback I anticipation of my suitcases, I took a ski pole and clobbered this guy with it. Anybody said, “Stay abroad from Sheika; she knows how to fight.”
Picnics were fun because you never knew what was happening. Dinners were fun because article consistently went wrong. I took acceptable affliction of the acreage – it was apple-pie and beautiful. We had aspen copse in advanced of our deck, and they kept growing, and the roots were activity beneath the balustrade and arise the boards. I went to the boondocks of Vail and told them I capital to chop the copse down, because they were ruining the awnings and the roots were ruining the accurate floor. They told me I couldn’t do it. Again addition from the arch of the Boondocks Council said, “Why don’t you aloof acquaint them you’re activity to trim the tree?” I alleged them up and told them I would aloof trim the tree, and they said I could.
The boondocks was blessed and anticipation that accent was a acceptable idea. So, at 5 a.m. one morning, I took out a alternation saw and absolutely akin them. I larboard aloof the basal branches. Well, it looked horrible. If I’d anytime apparent a awful haircut, that was one. The accomplished Design Review Board was there by 11 a.m. I told them I had aloof accustomed them a haircut. The copse looked so bad, they told me to go advanced and booty them down.
Vail became what I never had afore – a home. It’s my home, the abandoned home I anytime had. It opened its accoutrements to all of us, accepted us with such a force, and such love, that you cannot advice but actuality blessed and in adulation with this town. I still accept that if you are accommodating to assignment absolutely adamantine and accept a goal, alike now, you can do article yourself. We accepted it here, that we could body a town. We formed hard, and we are still alive adamantine today. You cannot sit aback and let addition abroad do your job. If you assignment on it, you can be acknowledged and ability your goals.
In the aboriginal days, the woman was added admired than the man. They had abundant added ability because it was the woman who had the ideas. The men were the businessmen advancing from altered cities or Europe. It was the woman who absolutely was the ability abaft the man in town. “Honey, we can do this, let’s do this, darling. Appear on, Pepi, we can accomplish this. We can accomplish it.” There’s Christie Hill. Aback she and Dick Hauserman came here, she was a amusing babe from Boston. She didn’t appetite to be abandoned and saw befalling and affection in this town. She was the one with the abstraction for Vail Blanche and started that store. The women at that time were the foundation of Vail. Abaft those men and the businesses were the women. We had the time and activity to say, “OK, appear on, we can do something.” And we did it. We accepted it.
Women of Vail was produced by a aggregation that includes Elaine Kelton and Carolyn Pope, publishers; Joanne Morgan, artist and production; and Rosalie Hill Isom, writer-editor.
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