SolVista hosts 10th Mountain Division presentation on Saturday |

SolVista hosts 10th Mountain Division presentation on Saturday

Brandi Brown
Special to the Sky-Hi News

Do you think you can ski, climb and mountaineer with the best of them? Would you be willing to bet your life on it?

That is exactly what the men from the 10th Mountain Division did in their 20s, as the only infantry unit in World War II organized exclusively for mountain warfare. From the end of 1941 through the end of 1944, the 12,000 men of the 10th spent most of their time training over six weeks, with high winds, blizzard and negative 30-degree temperatures at altitudes sometimes over 13,000 feet.

Talk about putting the contestants of Survivor to shame.

The unit, literally composed of volunteer ski bums, daredevils and recreational mountain climbers, trained in our Colorado backyard and helped to break the Nazis’ last line of defense in Italy leading to the end of WWII days later.

As if that legacy was not enough, when they returned home after the war, they invented the U.S. Ski Industry.

With their love of skiing, and extreme mountain sports intact, over 2,000 of these men became ski instructors, helped build lifts, design ski resorts, and develop ski equipment. Sixty-two American ski resorts, including, Vail and Aspen, were founded, managed or had ski schools directed by 10th Mountain Division men.

Many others were involved in conservationism, helped create our own 10th Mountain Hut Division, founded Wilderness education programs, formed ski programs for disabled vets, established nature trails for the blind, and built the Nike Shoe Company.

Ever ridden a snowmobile, motor toboggan or snow-cat? All of these were created in the 1940s for this special division that trained at Camp Hale near Vail, Colorado.

In 1988, 10th Mountain veterans helped create the International Federation of Mountain Soldiers, including their former German adversaries, dedicated to world peace.

There have been many books written, and movies made about this unique unit, and we are lucky to have Dick Over, a member of the 10th Mountain Division, joining us at Granby Ranch this Saturday to share his story. You will not want to miss it.

This is a free event, open to the public. January 22 at 6:30 PM. Base Camp Lodge at SolVista Basin, Second Floor. Hope to see you there. Please call 970-887-5272 with any questions.

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