Pepi recognized by Austrian gov’t
December 5, 2005
VAIL – The Austrian government recently honored Vail pioneer Pepi Gramshammer for his achievements in America.Gramshammer was presented with a proclamation of appreciation from Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel on Oct. 25. A reception was held in the chancellor’s chambers in Vienna for Gramshammer and five others who were recognized for representing Austrian skiing with their endeavors abroad.
The ceremony coincided with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Austrian Ski Federation. Gramshammer, a native of Innsbruck, said he’s always tried to be a good ambassador for Austria. “If someone asks me about Austria, I can always tell them to go here and go there,” he said.Gramshammer said the Austrian leader was easy to talk to – not dissimilar to another of his famous politician friends, former president Gerald Ford.
Sheika Gramshammer, Pepi’s wife, said the chancellor was so intrigued by Pepi’s success story – from his beginnings as a cheesemaker in Austria to his successes as a businessman in America – that the event lasted longer than the hour for which it was slated.”The bundeskanzler had so much fun, we stayed for two hours,” she said.
Gramshammer came to Vail from Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1962, when he was recruited by businessman Dick Hauserman to race for Vail. He met Sheika that year, and the two have run the Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer since 1964 and Pepi Sports since 1968.