Colorado Snowsports Museum

Celebrating snow sports—and war heroes

Planning to ski in Vail, Colorado this winter? Save time for the Colorado Snowsports Museum there, which has recently completed a $2.6 million upgrade. 

“Before the renovation, it looked like Granny’s attic,” admits executive director Jennifer Mason. “Now it’s a state-of-the-art museum.” The facility includes interactive exhibitions about ski racers and equipment dating back more than a half century. 

One major focus of the museum is the U.S. Army’s legendary 10th Mountain Division, which trained at nearby Camp Hale in 1942 and 1943, before fighting the Nazis in Italy. The ribbon-cutting at the museum’s reopening was performed by three soldiers from the 10th, including Sandy Treat, who is now in his 90s and who tells his story at the institution every Friday at 3 p.m. Says Treat, who was a ski racer before the 10th recruited him, “I want visitors to understand the history and the tremendous influence [of the 10th Mountain Division] on skiing and ski racing.”

Each day at the museum, a 45-minute film, Climb to Glory, runs continuously. The movie tells the story of the training of the 10thMountain Division soldiers, their role in the war, and what many of them did after it. Those soldiers include the founder of Vail, the cofounder of Nike, the Sierra Club’s president, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, and the inventor of the Petzl headlamp.