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How the 10th Mountain Division Veterans Sparked the USA Ski Industry

At Vela Apparel, we are so grateful to the American Veterans that are responsible for creating the Rocky Mountain culture that we thrive off today. Living in such beautiful protected lands and near an abundance of recreation inspires us to do what we do. Many know that in the Western mountains of the United States first flourished during the mining boom of the 19th century. During this time, miners built the first towns, railroads, and other infrastructure that still exist today. But the modern mountain culture of the U.S. wouldn't be what it is today without the influence of the 10th Mountain Division Veterans.

During World War 2, the 10th Mountain Division trained right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at Camp Hale. Located right in the middle of Colorado's Continental Divide between what is now Vail and Aspen, the soldiers spent a lot of time exploring these previously undiscovered mountains. Meanwhile, the need to house and sustain this influx of military personnel led to an expansion of the infrastructure that  During this time, many soldiers learned how much the mountains had to offer. Many would later make it their life's mission to share that with others. 

Following their training, the 10th Mountain Division were exposed to the rich mountain cultures of the Alps. First deployed to the Alps in Northern Italy, the 10th traversed across the Alps helping the Allied Forces push the Germans further back into Germany. Along the way, they experienced beautiful mountain landscapes dotted with towns full of really unique, vivid culture. Additionally, they saw European ski resorts and imagined making skiing as popular and accessible in the United States as it was in Europe.

After returning home to the United States, many 10th Mountain Division Vets decided to make a life for themselves in the mountains. They were inspired to further explore the Rocky Mountains, and make the beauty and wonder of these mountains more accessible to others. They also wanted bring a little bit of Alpine culture home. Pete Seibert, for instance, returned to Colorado and began ski patrolling at Aspen Mountain while he dreamt of a new venture that would later become Vail Mountain. In order to accomplish building a new Ski Resort and it's accompanying town, he brought over several people from the European Alps to help him build the facilities and businesses that would make Vail more like a beautiful Swiss mountain town. Many of these individuals, like Pepi Gramshammer, would become icons of the modern Colorado ski town. 

As a business that derives so much of its identity and values from the mountain culture of the Rockies, we are not only thankful to the American Veterans who helped establish the adventure lifestyle of the Rocky Mountains. We also hope to further contribute these cultures and bring about a new era of mountain life for future generations. 

For our Veteran or active duty customers, please enjoy a 20% discount when you shop with us. Reach out directly to so we can set you up with an account!