Tenth Mountain Ski In Tribute Friday at Cooper
The annual Ski Cooper 10th Mountain Division Day will be held this Friday, Feb. 19, honoring these special World War II veterans at noon. The troupe will ski in an “S” formation parade down the Molly Mayfield trail as a tribute to these skiing soldiers. Get there early, it’s a very moving tribute to these very special veterans.
As a special addition to this year’s ceremony, Lake County Intermediate School (LCIS) students will have the opportunity to recognize the 10th Mountain Veterans at a special assembly. Parents are welcome to attend this presentation and hear the incredible stories of these brave men on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 2:15 p.m. in the Lake County High School Auditorium.
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.
Two Musical Opportunities This Week at Ski Cooper
Apres Ski fun continues at Ski Cooper this Thursday, Feb. 18 with $30 lift tickets, appetizers specials and live music.
Thursday’s musician is Todd Johnson who’ll be entertaining the crowd with some Blues & Classic Rock, getting started at 3 p.m., 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 with some fresh snow on Leadville’s hometown mountain.
If you can’t break away during the week, then plan to take in some turns and then some tunes on Saturday, Feb. 20. The Original Folk Trio, Heather Romero & The Butterfly Effect will be easing you out of a day on the slopes with their easy-going music which starts at Katie’s at 3 p.m.