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Colorado Guard Soldiers to hone mountain skills at Vail

By Staff Sgt. Joseph VonNida | Colorado National Guard | Feb. 14, 2019

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Colorado Army National Guard Soldiers will conduct annual ski and winter training to enhance their mountain skills while honoring Colorado as the original home of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division during Legacy Days in Vail, Colorado, Feb. 15-18.

After World War II, many of the 10th Mountain's veterans returned to Colorado and put their mountain fighting experience and skills to work to lay the foundations of Colorado's ski industry.

"This year marks the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Riva Ridge in Italy during World War II," said the adjutant general of Colorado, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Loh. "The 10th Mountain Division Soldiers secured their place in history by defeating Nazi forces during this daring assault on the slopes of the northern Apennine Mountains. Following the war, many of these brave veterans returned to Colorado to establish our ski industry."

The public will have the opportunity to view equipment used for mountain search and rescue and other domestic operations, including a COARNG UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, a Small Unit Support Vehicle, and a High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle. The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package, a Special Forces all-terrain utility vehicle, and other team and individual military equipment used in high-altitude military and rescue operations will also be on view.

While training, members of the 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment (Mountain), who aligned under the 10th Mountain in 2016, will ski with the public, build snow caves, and demonstrate the Colorado National Guard's capabilities. Soldiers will also participate in a tribute parade Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. and host a military ski race Feb. 17 at 4 p.m., both in Vail.

The events are open to the public, however some of the events may only be available to lift ticket holders.

Recruiters and unit representatives will be available to discuss the CONG's missions and enlistment benefits.