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October 30, 2009
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Fun in the buff in the Vail Valley

VAIL, Colorado --There are not many opportunities to get stark naked in the middle of Vail during the daytime, at least not without getting handcuffed.

In August, local personality and pro paddler Ken Hoeve got the chance. After warning a few bystanders, he dropped cover and photographer Billy Doran took aim.

The cops were fast approaching - the boys had thought it best to beg forgiveness than ask permission - and Doran had one shot.

"We had one opportunity to get it and we got it. It came out great," Hoeve said.

Hoeve was a model for this year's Vail Undressed Calendar. Taking part in the annual production was something he'd long wanted to do and he was honored to be asked, he said.

"I always though it was a neat thing," he said. "It's funny people get applauded for doing something that would typically send them to jail."

And speaking of jail, the cops were "very cool about the whole thing," Hoeve said.

"They said 'Ok guys, you've had your fun. Let's wrap this up,'" he said.

The theme for this year's calendar, which will be "unvailed" at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek on Wednesday, was Eagle County landmarks. Hoeve was one of 20 models and Doran one of 10 photographers that donated their time to take part in the calendar.

While Hoeve had months to prepare mentally and physically for the shoot - he took the opportunity to push himself to get into shape, he said - it was still a bit hard to drop trou' when the time came.

"Some of the pictures in the past have been taken out in the wild, or in a studio, in a controlled setting," he said. "When people see the image I took, I was naked in the middle of Vail ... there are tourists in the photo with me."

Edwards resident and calendar model Dale Foster didn't have as big an audience, but his photo shoot in the early spring was cold and challenging, he said.

"Yeah, I was nervous, you kidding me," Foster said. "There's one point, we were shooting down near Tigowan and cars kept coming by. I had to keep leaping off the bank. Here I was this naked guy in just boots and a hat."

The discomfort was all worth it though, Foster said. It's for a good cause, after all.

Proceeds from Wednesday's party and the calendars benefit the Vail Valley Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit organization created in 1996 that provides assistance to individuals who live or work in Eagle County who are in financial crisis due to a medical catastrophe.

This past year, demand for assistance from the foundation increased exponentially due to layoffs, pay cuts, loss of health insurance and mortgage problems, said Executive Director Karen Simon.

"Individuals who once could have overcome the financial burden of a medical crisis could no longer make ends meet," she said. "Whereas the foundation typically raises and distributes a quarter of a million dollars each year, the organization raised and granted more than $700,000 in fiscal year 2009."

Individuals were increasingly forced to choose between leaving the valley, and struggling to make it here while recovering from a serious accident or illness.

"We are able to provide one-time assistance to eligible individuals with a serious medical condition to help not only with medical costs, but also routine living expenses until they can get back on their feet," Simon said.

Proceeds from the calendar range greatly from year to year, Simon said, but she hopes to net between $20,000 and $25,000 this year.

And while the calendar has become an annual fall tradition in the valley, this is the last year of the calendar as we know it, Simon said.

"Next year's calendar will be a best of the best calendar," she said. "It'll be up to the public to vote for their all time favorite calendar photo and the top 12 will comprise next year's calendar, which will be the last calendar."

The foundation will ask for $1 donation per vote.

"It's been a big success and a fun project and we want to phase it out when it's still popular," she said. "The 10th year seemed like the perfect time - celebrate the anniversary and then call it good."

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Nov 1, 2009 11:05AM Published Oct 30, 2009 04:36PM Copyright 2009 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.