r. Tom Steinberg
brought a couple of his own
exam tables, a microscope and
some other lab equipment with
him for his new job at the fledg-
ling ski resort of Vail when he moved
here from New Jersey in 1965.
The Vail Ski Resort had opened Dec. 15,
1962, and while there had been some doctors
who worked in town during the first couple of
winter seasons, Dr. Steinberg would become
the first full-time, permanent doctor ever to
Those were hard days, Dr. Steinberg, now
89, recently recalled as he talked with the Vail
Valley Medical Center’s current president of the
Medical Staff Dr. Jamie Gray. The two met for
a morning at the Four Seasons in Vail to remi-
nisce, as well as look to the future, by a crackling
fire, learning about one another’s experience,
success and passion for medical care in Vail.
Dr. Steinberg had a connection to Vail in
the mid-1960s through his brother-in-law, who
knew a Texas oil man named John Murchison.
As Dr. Steinberg recalls, Murchison had built
a big house in Vail and was a Vail Associates
board member. He injured his knee and sought
treatment in Aspen with Dr. Robert Oden —
and that’s when Vail’s medical clinic was born.
When Murchison asked, “What do I owe you
for surgery?” Oden told him nothing, as long as
he could help get a good medical facility and
doctor in Vail, Steinberg said.
Shortly thereafter, Dr. Steinberg read an ad in
the Journal of the American Medical Associa-
tion nearly 2,000 miles away in New Jersey. He
circled the ad and left it in a place where his
wife would see it.
“In the fall of 1964, we started investigating
(Vail),” Steinberg said.
Steinberg laughs as he recalls doctors who
later came through Vail — they never stayed
long if their wives didn’t like the lifestyle. It’s
something that Gray could relate to — she
moved here with her family from Seattle, where
she had been completing her residency. She
agreed that the lifestyle in the valley is not for
everyone, so both husband and wife have to be
on board with the idea of living here full-time.
Gray and her family have now been in the
valley for seven years.
Gray’s husband had been an architect and
quit his job to stay at home with their first child
so Gray could finish her residency. She said she
Vail’s medical care has evolved from
a couple of exam tables and an X-ray
machine into a world-class hospital
Dr. Tom Steinberg was Vail’s
first full-time physician, and
was permanently “on call”
for the first two years.
By lauren glendenning