People want Vail’s stories, and that’s what they’ll get Thursday. History is stories and the thing about a place like Vail is that those stories are told by people who lived them. And that’s why, during Vail’s 50th anniversary, we begin to understand that there’s no place quite like it.
The Vail Symposium is hosting a Founders of Vail panel. Rod Slifer, Elaine Kelton, Merv Lapin and Terry Minger will tell most of the stories fit to tell. For example, in May 1962, before there was a Vail, Rod Slifer moved here from Aspen to help Morrie Shepard start the ski school. Slifer was to be paid the princely sum of $500 a month for his efforts, which did not begin or end with the ski school. There were no job descriptions. Everyone did everything.
Slifer, you’ll be interested to know, was not only Vail’s first Realtor and mayor for 16 years, he took Vail’s first pay cut. In May 1962 before he even arrived, on that original, short Vail Associates corporate roster, someone erased Slifer’s $600 monthly salary and penciled in $500.“It was still the most money I’d ever made,” Slifer said.