VAIL, Colo. (CBS4)– Sandy Treat can often be seen on Friday’s in Vail Village talking about the 10th Mountain Division, but this week was completely different. Friday night was the first 10th Mountain Division Legacy Parade at Vail resort, with Treat as the Grand Marshall.
“It’s here right where it started. This was the birthplace of it,” said Treat.
Treat was an elite skier at Dartmouth so when he entered the Army he went to the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale near Leadville.
“They said, would you be an instructor? And I was a young kid, and I said sure, I’ll do it,” he recalled.
Much of the Ski Industry as we know it in Colorado today started with the veterans of the 10th Mountain Division, from equipment to even the founding of Vail Mountain by Pete Seibert and Harley Higbie.
Friday night, skiers dressed in World War II style uniforms the 10th was known for, descended Vail after dark with red torches in hand. Then a parade through Vail Village with Treat at the front in an old Jeep. The parade concluded at a statue dedicated to the “Ski Troopers” from Camp Hale. A large crowd attended.
“I talk to young people about Camp Hale, about serving in the 10th Mountain Division and what that was like, the training and everything. And they love to hear that,” Treat said. “It means a lot and I hope I can still talk about it as long as I’m still around.”
Three more 10th Mountain Division Legacy Parades are planned this winter. Jan. 18, Feb. 15, and March 8.