10th Mountain Division
Throughout the 1930s, there was incredible growth in the ski industry as wealthy skiers and transportation advances helped to produce a modern, centralized ski industry in Colorado, and intensified after WWII with the return of the 10th Mountain Division.
As the men of the 10th Mountain Division returned from helping to end World War II, these mountain men, now veterans, continued to spend time in the mountains.
Love of outdoors attracts 10th veterans
Many 10th Mountain Division veterans joined the booming ski industry after the war, but love of the outdoors took others down divergent paths.
The Birth of the 10th Mountain Division
Taken from “The Impact of the Tenth Mountain Division on the Development of a Modern Ski Industry in Colorado and Vermont: 1930-1965” by David M. Leach
One of the biggest influences on Colorado skiing history was the 10th Mountain Division.
Military Maneuvers & Division Training Prepare 10th
From 1941 to 1944, the members of the 10th spent most of their time training at Camp Hale, built in1942 and located in Pando Valley, Colo.
Mountain Troops Enter World War II and Italy
While training at Camp Hale from 1941 to 1944, soldiers in the 10th pioneered critical winter warfare techniques and equipment.
At the end of 1944, the Allies‟ 16-month war struggle had left Italy in shambles, and the Germans were prepared with artillery batteries around the country.
10th Takes Mount Belvedere, Gorgolesco, della Terraccia
Called into World War II in early 1945 to capture Italy’s northernmost Apennine Mountains from the German stronghold, the 10th Mountain Division succeeded where no other Allied soldiers had before.
America Discovers Downhill Skiing
In order to fully understand the significance of the 10th Mountain Division, it is necessary to examine the transformation and growth in popularity of downhill skiing before World War II.
The End of WWII: German Army Surrenders
In early 1945, the 10th Mountain Division was called into World War II to regain Italy’s northernmost Apennine Mountains from the German stronghold.
Ski Broadmoor, Breckenridge & Steamboat
Ski Broadmoor, which was built and operated by the famous Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, was located below Cheyenne Mountain and opened in 1959.
In the late 19th century, Aspen thrived during the silver boom but quickly declined in population by the 1930s.
10th Veterans Jump Start Winter Park
Many ski resorts in Colorado had a distinct disadvantage of being isolated and not easily accessible in the 1920s and „30s, but not Winter Park.
If it weren‟t for the 10th Mountain Division, many of Colorado‟s ski resorts would not have been founded and taken off after World War II.
Post-War Economy & Ski Industry
Upon entering World War II in early 1945, the 10th Mountain Division was able to tip the balance in the Allies favor by the spring.
Borne out of winter warfare training during World War II, the 10th Mountain Division was deactivated on Nov. 30, 1945. Although reactivated in 1948 as a training division during the Cold War, this infantry lay dormant until the 1980s.