Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame
Earl V. Eaton -1922
Inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame 1998
| Home | Back to Alphabetical List | Year of Induction List |
Back to Athlete | Back to Ski Sport Builder | Back to Inspirational
Earl, an Eagle, Colorado native, had his first experience with skiing at a very young age, when his father built him a pair of skis. They were simple pine boards shaped and steamed to turn up the tips, with a strap across the toe, which came with a single long pole to drag on either side to assist in turning and stopping.
In 1940 he joined the CCC camp in Glenwood Springs, where they worked on a nearby ski area. Glenwood's proximity to Aspen, provided Earl with the opportunity to become involved in ski racing in 1940, and he became an enthusiast. After the CCC camp, he went to Leadville to work in the mines, and when they started building Camp Hale, he worked on construction in the summer of 1941.
In 1943 he was drafted into the army where he served for 2-1/2 years as an engineer in Europe. He later had worked at Climax ski area and Cooper Hill plus a ski shop in Leadville, where he purchased his first "real" skis, boots and poles. He began dreaming of developing a ski area and looked over areas near Leadville, Copper Mountain, Frisco, Vail and Beaver Creek.
To prepare himself for the experience needed to build a ski area he worked at Aspen Highland, Ski Broadmoor and Loveland Basin. He also spent ten years in Aspen building ski lifts, constructing trails, ski patrolling and even helping with town construction.
While in Aspen, he teamed up with another dreamer, Peter Seibert, and together they climbed Vail mountain in the winter of 1957. Pete agreed that this mountain which Earl "found" would be a perfect ski resort so he headed up the search for investors. In 1962 construction on Vail Mountain began with trail cutting and ski lift building (gondola to mid Vail and one chair from there to the top, a mountain top restaurant and another chair in the back bowls).
In 1985, in honor of Earl Eaton, Founder's Plaza in Vail was renamed Eaton Plaza to celebrate his contributions to one of the top ski areas in the world.