10th Mountain Division veteran Sandy Treat dies at 96
Treat delivered weekly talks at Colorado Snowsports Museum recounting tales from World War II era
VAIL — After training in Camp Hale and fighting through Europe with the famed 10th Mountain Division, Vail icon Sandy Treat spent the rest of his life smiling.
Treat’s life ended at 96 on Sunday, but his smile lives on.
Among so many other contributions to his community, Treat hosted the Colorado Snowsports Museum’s Tales of the 10th, a weekly series of talks by members of the 10th Mountain Division. The standing-room-only crowds almost always greeted Treat with a hero’s welcome. He deserved it, as do thousands of others.
Treat fought with the 10th Mountain Division across the mountains and valleys of northern Italy during World War II.
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After working his way through the Ski Museum crowd of well wishers and fans, Treat would take a seat at the front of the room, clear his throat and begin to tell stories.
“Let’s make this a happy thing. I’ve seen a lot of unhappy things, lots of terrible things,” Treat told the crowd.
Treat was 19 when he and other members of the 10th shipped out to Europe for the war. His presentation shifted from week to week, depending on the questions he was asked and the stories that followed. At the end he fielded questions. Someone always asked, “Were you scared when you went to war?”
“Sure!” came Treat’s reply. “When someone next to me was shot, I was damned scared!”
Pepi Gramshammer recruited Treat to Vail with a simple admonition: “You must come to ‘Wail!’ That’s the place!” So, in 1986 after a successful business career, Sandy did.
He had a big effect on the small town.
Treat served on the boards of the Rotary Club, the Jimmy Heuga Foundation and Country Club of the Rockies. He was an integral part of Rocky Mountain Masters Ski Series and raced well into his 80s. He supported the Vail Valley Charitable Fund through the Barbara Treat Foundation.
He was an avid golfer and a member of the No Names, a men’s Friday lunch group, and won the Inaugural Heart of the Community Award.
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Aspen Skiing Co. and most of the Colorado ski industry were cruising along in a second strong season, until the coronavirus crisis forced their closure on March 14. Skier visits would typically be announced this week, but the ski industry is focused on forging ahead rather than looking back.