Connect with us

Twitter Widget

Twitter Authentication data is incomplete

Pepi Gramshammer passes on at age 87

August 17, 2019, 5:26 pm

If you live in Vail, you know Pepi. You’ve probably seen him out and about recently in Vail Village, or on the patio at his iconic Gasthof Gramshammer restaurant. He’s one of the legendary founders of arguably one of the most successful ski areas on the planet.

Pepi (Colorado Snowsports Museum photo).

And on Saturday morning he died at the age of 87.

An Austrian ski racer who rolled the dice on a fledgling resort in the Colorado Rockies, Pepi came to define Vail – its Tyrolean flare, its endless high-quality powder lines like the run Forever in Vail’s Back Bowls.

Legend has it Pepi named it before Chair 5 was even installed, marveling that it seemed to go on forever. Now Gramshammer is somewhere hopefully skiing that same line on 27-year-old knees, forever and ever.

I sat at a table with Pepi and Vail founder Pete Seibert on the deck of Gasthof Gramshammer sometime in the early 2000s, listening to Pepi and Pete swap endless stories about the early days – the pioneering passion to build, promote and manage the perfect ski area. They both came pretty close.

I was writing the first story for the Vail Trail on Pete’s new book, Vail: Triumph of a Dream. It was fitting that he wanted to meet me to talk about his book with Pepi by his side. I’ll never forget that day.

On Saturday, the Colorado Snowsports Museum, whose hall of fame includes both men, posted this notice on its Facebook page:

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Hall of Fame member Pepi Gramshammer passed away this morning at 8 a.m. He was 87.

Pepi was truly the heartbeat of Vail for close to 60 years and he genuinely loved his adopted home. He embodied the American “can do spirit” and the Vail Valley, as well as everyone that visits Vail and Beaver Creek each year owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sheika and his daughters.

— Jen Mason & the entire Colorado Snowsports Museum staff

The following two tabs change content below.

David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington),, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of and

One Response to Pepi Gramshammer passes on at age 87

  1. Carol pizer Reply

    August 17, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    Such a legend. The heart of Vail. Memories for anyone who knew him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *