Ambassadors of Vail: Volunteers help events like GoPro Mountain Games go | VailDaily.com

Ambassadors of Vail: Volunteers help events like GoPro Mountain Games go

Did you know that more than 2,500 people volunteered to help the Vail Valley Foundation put on the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships at Beaver Creek?

The annual Birds of Prey World Cup races at Beaver Creek also see nearly 700 volunteers each year.

For the GoPro Mountain Games, returning to Vail June 7-10, there will be about 330-340 volunteers, each working on average about 20 hours during the event. That's well over 6,000 hours, for free.

"It's fun. You see all sorts of interesting people," said Debby Jasper, a local volunteer for the Vail Valley Foundation who has been helping out at the Mountain Games for eight years, back when it was known as the Teva Games. "As a retired person, I have a lot of choices with what I do with my time, and I choose it very carefully. The Vail Valley Foundation is always at the top of my list."

'Volunteers are the Backbone'

The Vail Valley Foundation helps bring to town events such as the World Cup races, Mountain Games, concerts at local venues, bike races, Vail Dance Festival, the new Whistle Pig concert series and much more.

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To be able to do more with sponsorship dollars, the foundation relies heavily on its volunteers to help building these events into what they are today.

"The volunteers are the backbone of the Vail Valley Foundation, and they always have been," said Vail Town Councilwoman Jen Mason, who also coordinates with the Vail Valley Foundation. "Without the volunteers, the Vail Valley Foundation wouldn't be where it is over the last 35 years."

For the Vail Valley Foundation, the gift of time from volunteers is just as important as the money donations that come in.

'If you have time'

The Vail Valley Foundation likes to take care of its volunteers.

Each volunteer at the Mountain Games receives an athlete bag, the official volunteer L.L.Bean T-shirt, an Aksels hat, socks, a headband — all with the GoPro Mountain Games logo — as well as lunch, granola bars and a closing party for volunteers at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater that features giveaways including GoPro cameras, bike racks, sun glasses and more.

"They're good to all of their volunteers," Jasper said, "otherwise people wouldn't come back."

The Vail Valley Foundation has a solid crew of volunteers but are always looking for more.

"If you have time, we can find a job for you," Mason said.

After the Mountain Games, volunteers will shift gears toward the Colorado Classic, a four-day bike race in August with stops in Vail, bringing 150 of the top men and women cyclists through the Vail Valley.

For more information and to become a volunteer with the Vail Valley Foundation, visit http://www.vvf.org/volunteer.

Entertainment & Outdoors editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Volunteer to follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.