A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter broke through the silence on the slopes of Vail recently, landing at the top of the Avanti Express Lift (Chair 2). The Black Hawk made an appearance to honor a group of veterans from the 10th Mountain Division, who were at Vail that day. Some skiers were over 90 years old, tackling runs like Riva Ridge.

The 10th Mountain Division had a huge impact on Colorado skiing. The 10th Mountain Division of World War II trained just 30 miles south of Vail at Camp Hale, near Ski Cooper at Leadville. The Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame reports they were known as the Ski Troops. "They were the toughened soldiers who learned to survive at high altitudes in sub-zero weather. They traveled with 90-pound packs on their backs; scaled sheer cliffs and skied across treacherous mountain passes. The 10th suffered heavy causalities in Europe, but became one of the most decorated divisions in World War II."

Over 60 ski resorts have been founded, managed, or have employed head ski instructors who were 10th Mountain Division veterans.

There was even more excitement at Vail recently. The Obama family didn't spend Presidents Weekend with the president. Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, spent the holiday weekend on the slopes of Vail. Mrs. Obama's press secretary issued a statement that the family picked up the tab for personal expenses.

"We're thrilled to have had the opportunity to host the First Lady of the United States here in Vail. Mrs. Obama's passion for health and outdoor activity was clearly evident. We hope they will return to ski with us again in the future," said Vail spokesperson Liz Biebl.

Reports are that it was the Obamas first trip to Vail, but not their first time for a ski vacation. The first lady took her daughters skiing last year at Liberty Mountain Resort in Carroll Valley, Pa.

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