Tenth Mountain Ski In Tribute Friday at Cooper
The annual Ski Cooper 10th Mountain Division Day will be held tomorrow, Feb. 19, honoring these special WWII veterans from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The troupe will ski in an “S” formation down the mountain, arriving at the lodge shortly before noon. Get there early, so you don’t miss one minute of this celebration.
As a special addition to this year’s ceremony, Lake County Intermediate School’s (LCIS) 3rd grade students will have the opportunity to take part in the Ski-In Ceremony. According to Teacher Daniel Leonhard, over the past few months, the third grade at LCIS has been engaged in an expedition focused on the 10th Mountain Division. In this expedition, students have built their background knowledge of World War II and the Tenth’s involvement. In addition, students have investigated the impact these men and women have had on our local community. After returning from the war, many of the “ski troopers” were major contributors to today’s thriving local ski industry.
As a culminating event to the student’s expedition, some 10th Mountain Division veterans will be traveling to Leadville today to be recognized for their achievements by third grade students at an assembly at 2:30 p.m. at LCIS.
Tenth Mountain Ski In Tribute Video
Brief Background of 10th Mountain Division
For those who may not know, during the winters of 1942 to 1944, fourteen thousands soldiers learned and refined ski and outdoor survival techniques on Cooper Hill, present day Ski Cooper.
Construction of the U.S. Army’s Camp Hale began in April 1942, north of Tennessee Pass outside Leadville. On November 16, 1942, the Mountain Training Center moved from Camp Carson in Colorado Springs to Camp Hale where it faced the task of filling out its two final regiments – the 85th and 86th to complete the division. This was the only division of the U.S. Army trained specifically for mountain warfare up to that point in American military history. The mission behind Camp Hale was to develop the ability to survive and fight in any weather, on any terrain, under any conditions. Eight months later it would pay off.
It had been five years since Germany had invaded Poland, when a troop of men from the Tenth Mountain Division scaled 2,000 vertical feet of rock and ice during the night and under the noses of the German army camped on Riva Ridge. They arrived at the top in dense fog and when it lifted, the German soldiers were taken completely by surprise.
The Tenth Mountain was responsible for breaking through the German line, allowing Allies to penetrate north. While the victory was sweet, the casualties were great; 990 members of the 14,000-man division died in the Italian Campaign in the winter of 1945. Today, the Tenth Mountain Memorial stands at the entrance to Ski Cooper as a reminder to those men who fought in Italy to preserve our freedoms.
After World War II, the same terrain that drew the Army to Colorado for warfare training brought thousands of 10th Mountain Division skiers back to its slopes. Tenth Mountain men founded Vail, Aspen, and Arapahoe Basin.
However, Leadville is the place that the Tenth Mountain Division soldiers still remember as their home in the mountains. The love and generosity that the Leadville community poured out to them during a very difficult period in this country’s history will always remain in their hearts.
Thirty Buck Thursday, Apres Ski Fun at Ski Cooper
Apres Ski fun continues at Ski Cooper today, Thursday, Feb. 19 with $30 lift tickets, appetizers specials and live music.
Today’s musician is Peter Albrecht of the local band Leadville Cherokee, who’ll be entertaining the crowd, getting started at 3:30, in Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub in the lodge. So join the fun at the pub after what looks like will be a bluebird day on Leadville’s hometown mountain.
Food Services Managers Scott and Steph have put together some delicious appetizers and drink specials too. Sounds like a good day to take the afternoon off, get in a ski and hang out with some friends for Après And there’s a big storm moving in for weekend – fresh tracks!
It’s Movie Night Tomorrow Friday, Feb. 20
Leadville Community Movie Night continues this Friday, Feb. 20 with the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. This action-packed, epic space adventure is a 2014 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe.
Doors open at 8 p.m. at the Colorado Mountain College – Leadville, Climax Building Gym. Admission is free. Movie goers are welcome to bring their own snacks and (non-alcoholic) beverages (no glass).