10th Mountain Vet and Vail Skiing Icon, Sandy Treat, Passes at 96

Sandy Treat at Dartmouth, 1942

VAIL, Col. — Sanford Morris “Sandy” Treat II first trained in the Colorado mountains as a young man at Camp Hale after leaving Dartmouth College in 1942 when US forces would soon join World War II. He later returned to the Vail area after retiring from a successful business career.

Treat was personally recruited by 10th Mountain Division and National Ski Patrol System co-founder, Minnie Dole.

He headed west from his new York home to train in the art of alpine warfare with the 10th Mountain Division at Colorado’s Camp Hail. His division ended up leaving the skis behind as they battled German forces in the Italian Alps during WWII, culminating in the Battle of Riva Ridge. That battle marked a turning point in the war that ultimately let to the Allied Forces’ victory.

Sandy Treat, Rocky Mountain Masters Competition

Treat will be missed as the host of weekly story-telling sessions at the Colorado Snowsports Museum. His talks on Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division were often filled to capacity, shifting in focus depending on the questions posed by the audience.

Treat attended Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. There, he was captain of Deerfield’s ski team and had a major league baseball tryout. After graduating from Deerfield in 1941 he briefly attended Dartmouth College, where he was a member of the Dartmouth team that won a national championship in the 1941-1942 season, skiing for Dartmouth ski coach, Walter Prager.

Dartmouth Winter Carnival, 1942

Pragler joined the War effort as lead ski instructor of the 10th Mountain Division. Treat left Dartmouth after he was recruited by Minnie Dole to join the Army in 1942. He was one of 119 male skiers from Dartmouth that served in the 10th Mountain Division, where he continued his training under Walter Prager.

Treat was one of the 10th’s first recruits, in his sophomore year at Dartmouth, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1942. The Camp Hale facilities were still being constructed. The division was was known at that time as the 10th Light Division (Alpine). The hundreds of troops training at Camp Hale ultimately grew to 15,000. The division was renamed the 10th Mountain Division in 1944 when its troops were first deployed in Europe. It was ultimately the 10th’s training in mountain climbing, rather skiing, that proved most valuable. According to Treat, soldiers didn’t even have their skis in Europe. Treat was elevated to the position of Drill Sergeant, where he trained new recruits. He finished his service in Spain in Army Intelligence. He left the service in late 1945, where he returned to Dartmouth and captained its ski team, graduating in 1949.

Treat retired in 1984 from a long and successful career at Canada’s Alcan, where he most recently served as President. Longtime friend, Pepi Gramshammer, recruited Treat to Vail shortly after his retirement. He was also an avid golfer, and Vail’s founder, Pete Seibert, was also a former 10th Mountain Division member. Seibert let Treat know that he was about to launch the Country Club of the Rockies at Vail. Treat relocated from Toronto to Vail in 1986.

When the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships returned to the US in 1989 for the first time since Aspen in 1952, Treat’s World Cup experience helped the FIS organization’s leadership feel more comfortable with their choice to hold the competition at Vail. Tamara McKinney was the only US competitor to place in the events, receiving a gold in the Combination and a bronze metal in slalom.

Treat first competed in Canadian Masters ski racing near his home in Toronto before moving to Vail. Treat later became a dominant force in the men’s Rocky Mountain Masters division, competing well into his 80s. His son, Sandy Treat III, succumbed to a battle with cancer in 2015. Sandy Treat III was a prominent Vail developer and avid ski racer himself. He had moved to Colorado to attend college where he met his wife and launched a very successful development firm.

Treat was inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame in 2010. He died of natural causes at the Colorado Medical Center on 1 September 2019. A memorial service is planned for 1 October at 4 Eagle Ranch. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Vail-based Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame.

Leave a Reply