Finder, Founder / Earl Eaton, Pete Seibert: Their complimentary skills and styles formed the perfect partnership to launch Vail. The quiet, unassuming Eaton grew up in a homesteader’s cabin, learned to ski on pine boards fashioned by his father, and served as an army engineer in World War II. In 1957, while other 10th Mountain Division pioneers scoured the state for ski resort locations, Eaton struck gold, leading Seibert above Vail’s deceiving front face to its bountiful upper slopes—and then into the Back Bowls to seal the deal. He played a critical role in laying out the trails and lifts, though he would never see a big payday for his efforts and didn’t seem to mind. Seibert, a brash New Englander who dreamed of building the quintessential ski resort as a child, was a 10th Mountain vet who meticulously studied the resorts of the Alps. He had vision, passion and an uncanny ability to get things done—lining up investors, acquiring the ranch land at the base, and, after opening Vail in December 1962, directing its daily operations until the mid-1970s. In 2000, SKI Magazine, in its list of the most influential skiers in history, named Seibert No. 3. Pete Seibert is on the left.