VAIL — It’s the first year for Lindsay Yanco to participate in Pink Vail. Like her teammates on Vail Ski Patrol, not to mention the hundreds of other participants, its cause hits close to home. Last year, Yanco’s mother — a triathlete and seemingly the ultimate specimen of good health — was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.
“It’s been a rough year,” Yanco said, adding that her mother continues to fight. “I wanted to give back and do something. You know when you feel like you can’t do anything to help? There are a lot of patrollers who have lost parents to cancer, and it’s really cool to have something like Pink Vail to be a part of.”
Yanco’s mother is planning to make the trip from California to join her daughter and team Vail Ski Patrol on Saturday for Pink Vail.
“She’s pretty excited for the event. She’s an awesome skier,” Yanco said. “More and more people keep asking about it and wanting to be on our team. One girl lost her dad 10 years ago. My friend is on the team — he lost his dad last January to pancreatic cancer. Some people on the team will be working that day. The idea is that everyone can be on the snow. Hopefully it will help people still going through it to feel more positive. Attitude is a huge part of it.”
Pledge for Pink
The objective for Pink Vail is for every individual or team to seek pledges from anyone and everyone to sponsor their ski day at Vail. Those who raise the most funds earn prizes, as do those who succeed in the Checkpoint Challenge, in which skiers must find a series of famous decks around the mountain.
The Saturday event also includes a costume contest at Eagle’s Nest, live music and the emotionally-charged Celebration Ski Down at the end of the day, during which the entire slope becomes a sea of pink. All funds benefit Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards.
“A few of our club members have been patients or have received care at Shaw,” said Nadine Davis, captain of Arrowhead Alpine Club Bosom Buddies, which has been among the top fundraisers for Pink Vail the past two years. “Everyone knows someone who has had cancer. A couple of them actually moved here because we have Shaw right here. It’s a unique resource that we are very lucky to have.”
The Arrowhead Alpine Club managed to raise around $17,000 in Pink Vail’s first season and then about $30,000 last year when the team grew to 55 members. The club has been notorious for some of the most vibrant costumes on the mountain, sporting pink one-piece ski suits and even one or two full-body pink duct tape mummy wraps.
“It’s a social and casual day. The Ski Down is very powerful, watching everyone come in,” Davis said. “Our goal is to have a good time and be a part of the event, but we’ve been blown away with the amount of support, especially in the Alpine Club community. It’s just great to be out there skiing and spreading awareness.”
Pinkalicious is another team that has been a notable success story for Pink Vail since the event’s inauguration three years ago. Captain Kelly Holton says the team initially came together as “a fun reason to get girlfriends together to help a great cause.” She revels in the opportunity to combine her many accessories and outerwear items into one mind-blowingly pink masterpiece and points out that “we ski all the time out here but we rarely get to ski for a cause. To be surrounded by so many survivors, those who’ve lost loved ones and others praying for people they love that are currently in treatment … it’s very emotional.”
It’s not too late to sign up. Registration is still open for individuals and teams at www.pinkvail.com.
“It’s going to be a beautiful spring Saturday for us to celebrate the final weeks of the ski season while making a difference in the lives of every patient that gets treatment at Shaw,” Holton said. “It’s my favorite ski day of the year.”
Shauna Farnell is freelance writer contracted by the Vail Valley Medical Center to write this story. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.