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10th Mountain Division | Lowry Speaker Series

Have you skied Riva Ridge in Vail? It’s one of my personal favorites! Did you know it was named by members of the 10th Mountain Division after a victorious battle on Riva Ridge in Italy. In fact, Vail and many other Colorado ski resorts owe much of their success to the elite soldiers of the 10th.

The July speaker, Flint, shared his unique perspective, stories and pictures from Camp Hale. We also enjoyed handling equipment that was used by the soldiers. In the 1940’s, their equipment was the best available. Well, I’m sure glad ski gear has evolved! Otherwise we’d be trekking up the hill with our 20 pound skis that convert from cross country to downhill skis.

After their service, members of the 10th made history with their innovations and some went on to be founders of our favorite Colorado ski resorts. You may have heard the name Bill Bowerman. After his service with the 10th, he co-founded Nike. They created the first running shoe with tread…the sole looks remarkably similar to the Italian mountaineering boot he wore in service with the 10th. Rumor has it, he initially created the shoes using his wife’s waffle iron.

The men who served in the 10th Mountain Division were phenomenal athletes. The gear they carried weighed over 100 pounds. Yikes, can you images hitting Riva Ridge with 100 extra pounds. They trained and lived in snow caves or tents. No cozy heated cabins at the end of the day.

It was a pleasure to listen to their stories and learn about the rich history of the 10th Mountain Division. This winter when you are out shredding, give thanks to the innovators who made it all possible!

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