Pepi Langegger grew up on a farm in Austria. He attended hotel & restaurant school as a young man and then traveled all over the world working every aspect of his trade: bartending in Germany, food service in Switzerland, public relations in England and on to the Bahamas and Canada and New York. He landed in Vail, Colorado, in 1963, when there were just a few buildings and the start of ski resort.
Pepi liked Vail and opened his first restaurant, Lancelot, in 1967. Since then, Vail has grown to be the largest ski resort in North America and Pepi has owned and operated a number of restaurants. He met his wife, Ann, there and they have raised two sons, Sigmund - who owns and operates the Tyrolean Inn (one of the finest restaurants in Vail), and Peter, who is attending Kansas State University.
The Lord Gore, opening in 1970, was the first of Pepi's restaurants to serve game meat: caribou from Alaska, moose from Finland, bear from Canada, elk from wherever they could find it. Game meat soon became a highlight of tourist visits to Vail. Half of the restaurants there now serve game meat.
The ranch, Twin Creek Game Ranch, was purchased in 1984 with the idea of supplying game meat for the restaurants. A regular bow hunter, Pepi had gained a great deal of admiration and respect for the Rocky Mountain elk since he moved to Colorado. He purchased his first breeding stock from Rush Johnson. One thing led to another and Pepi was one of the Founding Directors of NAEBA in 1990. His focus quickly turned to velvet because the money was so good. He started using artificial insemination 7 years ago to improve the genetic performance of his animals and has enjoyed success in the breeding stock for velvet and hard antler scores.
Pepi believes the elk industry will be successful, because it is very diversified. We have velvet, we have an expanding demand for top breeding stock, and the demand for big antlered bulls on hunting ranches has consistently come up the last ten years. Bulls scoring 425 SCI points have been sold for $25,000. Last but not least, we are raising an animal that is in demand for its flavorful, and healthy meat. And meat is something that Pepi knows a lot about - enough for a complete article on the subject. Watch for that here at wapiti.net in the future.