Bob Parker - Sport Builder / Inspiration - 1980
In 1957, Peter Seibert sat on the corner of Bob Parker’s desk and with a huge grin on his face, Pete told Bob that he had found his mountain. Although a skeptic, Parker agreed to see the mountain and after a historic trip to the top of Vail Mountain in Earl Eaton’s Kristi Kat, Parker was awed by what he saw. From then on, Bob Parker became one of Vail’s biggest promoters. Born in 1922, Bob Parker learned to ski when he was a kid in a Rochester, New York park. He was a member of the freshman team at St. Lawrence University before enlisting in the Army in 1942. One of the lucky ones to train at Camp Hale, Parker got his first glimpse of Colorado snow and blue skies. After basic training, he served as an intelligence scout for the 87th Mountain Regiment and served for three years. He married Barbara in 1947 and new attended the University of Grenoble for a year and then became an advisor of the U.S. Army in Austria. Versatility is the word that best describes both the background and the character of Bob's contributions to Colorado skiing. Bob’s experience of service included guiding at Mt. Rainier, membership on the first professional ski patrol at Aspen, and a Pacific Northwest downhill championship, and a degree in journalism. On to Europe then for studies in French and ski instruction, and for another four years with the military, during which he became slalom champion of US Forces in Austria. In 1955 he joined the staff of Ski magazine and served as its editor from 1956-62. In 1962, while in Chamonix, France, Bob’s tenure with the magazine ended because of an argument between Bob and Publisher, Merrill Hastings. Bob contacted Pete Seibert and was hired immediately. His first job with Vail started the next day and lasted many years. Bob became Publicity Director for Vail Associates and later Senior Vice President of Operations. During this period he helped to create Colorado Ski Country USA and Ski the Rockies, and also steered the new ski area of Beaver Creek to final approval and ground-breaking. As chairman of Vail's Centennial -- Bi-centennial Committee, he was principal founder of the Colorado Ski Museum.