Pepi Gramshammer - Sport Builder / Athlete - 1990
Pepi was born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1932, and began ski racing at 10 years of age. After finishing an apprenticeship in cheese making, he decided to become a ski racer and was determined to make the Austrian Ski Team. He did so after four attempts. In 1960 he came to the United States to Sun Valley and began to race professionally. He was a member of the Austrian National Ski Team and Professional Ski Racers Association, and winner of many international and professional ski races. As a certified Austrian and Rocky Mountain ski instructor, he was the coach of several international ski teams, as well as Racing Coach and Director of Red Lodge International Summer Ski Racing Camp. One day in Sun Valley, Dick Hauserman showed him a film about Vail. Impressed, Pepi met with Pete Seibert, Morrie Shepard, and Bob Parker after a race at Loveland. The next day the men visited Vail and skied the back bowls. “I skied down a run called Forever and had to walk a long way back.” After that experience, Pepi decided to move to Vail. Pepi moved to Vail in 1962 and operates the Gasthof Gramshammer, Pepi's Bar & Restaurant, and Pepi Sports Ski Shop. He has designed a ski training program for recreational adult skiers, called Wedel Weeks. A philanthropist who has organized and hosted The Crystal Ski Ball in Vail since 1981, Pepi has raised nearly $700,000 in contributions which support Colorado ski related organizations, including the Vail Valley Foundation (organizers of the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships & World Cup Races), the US Ski Team, the Blind Skiers Program, the Handicapped Skiers Program, the Jimmie Huega Express, Buddy Werner League, and Ski Club Vail. Pepi was instrumental in obtaining the second United States FIS World Alpine Ski Championships for Colorado, hosted by Vail & Beaver Creek in 1989, and served on the Executive and Organizing Committees for the Championships. Pepi is an honored ambassador for Vail, Colorado and the entire ski industry. He has hosted President Ford and in return has spent evenings at the White House. To this day, Pepi’s prime interest is keeping the ski mountain and the town of Vail a place to enjoy.