Charles D. Lewis - Sport Builder - 1989


Hall
“Good business, that’s why I am here.” That quote by native Coloradan Chuck Lewis sums up his lifetime contributions to building some of the most prominent ski areas in Colorado.   After attending Dartmouth College, Chuck served in the US Army from 1955 to 1957, serving as a Mountain Warfare Instructor in the Mountain and Cold Weather Command at Camp Hale. He was also a member of the US Biathlon Team.   After the Army, Chuck joined the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Company, which was doing the analyses for the original Vail Partnership. At that time it was still called the Trans Montane Rod & Gun Club. During this time, he met Jack Tweedy and Pete Seibert, who were working on financial projections for Vail’s future. Soon he left the accounting firm and joined Pete’s team.   At that time, Vail was under capitalized and it took Chuck and some creative thinking to unscramble the mess.  In 1964 he was elected Executive Vice President and Treasurer of the Vail Ski Corporation, then a mere two years old. One of his biggest challenges was to change Vail from a company town to an incorporated one.  To do so, it had to be established that the town had 50 citizens in a half square mile.  A count of the citizens in the are found were 16 people short, so Chuck and 15 other men bought a swampy lot along Meadow Road.  Thus the town grew by 16 people and gave them the density to petition for the formation of the town of Vail. It became official on August 3, 1966. (The Town of Vail Library now sits on that lot.)   During his years in Vail, he served as an officer and/or member of the board of the US Ski Association, the US Ski Educational Foundation, and the Rocky Mountain Division of the USSA.   In 1969, as the founding Chief Executive Officer of Copper Mountain, Chuck developed this ski area "from the ground up.” He raised capital through innovative financing methods that are now commonplace in the resort industry. He designed ski trails in new ways, involving environmental concerns more than ever before, and increased awareness of the industry among elected and appointed governmental officials, forming a coalition of all the various elements that are needed to make a ski resort successful today.   After leaving Copper Mountain in 1982, Chuck formed a consulting business concentrating on resort development. His success with Copper Mountain placed him in demand with many prestigious ski industry organizations that affect the sport throughout Colorado and the nation. He served as Director and Chairman of the National Ski Areas Association; as Director, and Chairman of the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board; and as Director and Chairman of Colorado Ski Country USA; as Trustee and Chairman of the Copper Mountain Metropolitan District, and as a former member of the Board of Directors of the Vail Valley Foundation.   The name Chuck Lewis and good business simply go hand in hand.   (Deceased)