Women of Vail: Those Who Walked This Bridge
By Elaine Kelton and Carolyn Pope
Foreword by Warren Miller
Original and adventuresome, these women are the ones who made Vail their home during the early years. These are their stories, memories tempered by time and perspective. Psychiatrist Victor Frankl defined storytelling as “a way of thinking about something,” not a strict history, but the telling of lives lived in the same place, differently.
We were a collective of opposites: self-sufficient as a community, but totally interdependent. I chose the dates 1962-1970 based on Vail’s being a one-village community whose dynamic changed with the advent of LionsHead at the end of 1970.
Several books have been written about Vail’s history, but the women’s story has not been told until now. This book is a dream of mine to capture these memories in print as part of the fabric of Vail’s history.
Carolyn Pope partnered with me to get this done. Art Kelton supported me, making the book a reality.
~Elaine White Kelton
I've been blessed by Vail. I moved my first time to Vail as a young woman, looking for adventure and freedom in 1985, long past those first women who gave up their comfy existence for something unknown. The second time, I returned in 2000 with a husband and children in tow.
I'm moved by the many women I've met through this ongoing, sometimes burdensome, project that Elaine and I took on. But again, you women amaze me with your strength, your bond of friendship, and your pure joy of life and of this little valley surrounded by the majestic Rockies.
I was most touched by what Denyse McCoy wrote about Vail: "This has been hard for me to just put even a few words together about old Vail. I think you girls know what I mean. There was so much that if you started to talk about it, you could not stop or give this time or space we lived justice…so much was in our hearts and people in our lives…it would take a lifetime to explain…I hope others will tell it better…for me, it was what made me complete…and who I am today."
Thank you, dear ladies, for opening your hearts and your memories to me! May many follow in our footsteps....
~Carolyn Woodward Pope
“Vail became what I never had before - a home. It's my home, the only home I ever had. It opened its arms to all of us, embraced us with such a force, and such love, that you cannot help but being happy and in love with this town.” ~Sheika Gramshammer
“If Vail was a family, then the Copper Bar was its living room.” ~Diana Donovan
“I think we had the best of times in this valley. We were the generation with no prior experience, who created a town, a set of rules, built schools and hospitals, and raised children to become solid citizens. We created an enticing way of life called Vail that had started with a sheep meadow. And we’re still alive to tell about it. I doubt it could happen again ever – anywhere.” ~Carolyn Teeple Swanepoel
“I don't feel that I gave up anything moving to Vail. There was nothing difficult at all about it; it was an adventure. I thought it was wonderful, and I never thought of leaving.” ~Christie (Blanche Hauserman) Hill
“I opened the Emporium and sold gifts, antiques, and flowers.… Some weeks, my house looked like a funeral parlor…. Once someone bought a bouquet with the message, ‘May I please come home?’ Another order was a rose with the message, ‘Tonight?’” ~Sally Hanlon