Money raised at Pink Vail stays local; event returns March 25 |

Money raised at Pink Vail stays local; event returns March 25

Tracey Flower
Special to the Daily
Pink Vail is known as the world's biggest day to conquer cancer. In 2016, the event had about 3,000 participants, and in 2017, the event is expected to draw 4,000 people from the Vail Valley and beyond.
Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: Pink Vail.

When: Saturday, March 25.

Where: Pink Vail Headquarters is at the base of Vail Mountain at Golden Peak.

Cost: $25 to register.

More information: To register, join a team, donate or volunteer for Pink Vail, visit There is no deadline for registration — you can register all day on March 25 — and the website stays open for donations even after the event. All Pink Vail participants receive a credential, Larkburger gift card and a Pink Vail event map. Participants who raise $50 or more receive a signature Pink Vail Bula beanie of their choice.

Event check-in: Check-in on March 25 starts at 8:30 a.m. Early check-in is recommended. Dates, times and locations for early check-in are as follows:

Tuesday, March 21: Noon to 7 p.m.; Jack’s Place in Edwards.

Wednesday, March 22: 3-7 p.m.; Helly Hansen Store in Lionshead Village.

Friday, March 24: 3-6 p.m.; Pink Vail Headquarters in Golden Peak.

First-timer tip:

Don’t forget to wear pink! If you’re new to Pink Vail, know that everyone from lift operators to event volunteers to top fundraisers will be decked out in pink. You can expect to ride the chairlift with pink gorillas, pink pigs and even men in pink dresses.

Where does the money go?

583: Counseling sessions

525: Massage, Reiki and acupuncture sessions

423: Nutrition consultations

2,768: Fitness sessions

450: Wellness and exercise classes

Hundreds: Participated in art classes, hikes, group snowshoes, ski days and educational lectures

16: Participated in the Slim for Survival program

Pink Vail raises money to fight cancer in true Vail style: with a day of skiing and snowboarding and a great big celebration. Each year since the event began in 2012, Pink Vail has surpassed goals and expectations, both for participation and for total dollars raised. In 2016, the event saw nearly 3,000 participants and raised more than $750,000, a record and the targeted fundraising goal for 2017.

The dollars raised come from participants asking their friends and family to make donations on their behalf and benefit Shaw Regional Cancer Center’s Spirit of Survival program, which provides all patients with access to customized fitness training, nutrition counseling, emotional support and other whole-body wellness programs. Donations come in from around the world and Pink Vail also partners with sponsors similar to Helly Hansen, the event’s presenting sponsor.

While Pink Vail began as a fundraiser for Shaw’s breast cancer patients, dollars raised are now extended to all patients, thanks to the event’s success. In fact, the Spirit of Survival program is offered free of charge, thanks to funds provided by Pink Vail. Spirit of Survival programs are not covered by insurance, but they make a significant impact on patients’ lives.

“The benefits of the Spirit of Survival program are far-reaching for patients and their loved ones,” said Erin Perejda, an oncology social worker at Shaw Regional Cancer Center. “With a cancer diagnosis comes an extreme amount of uncertainty, anxiety and loss of control. The Spirit of Survival program empowers patients to take an active role in their wellness and healing by engaging in activities that support their emotional, physical and spiritual needs.”

“Through the Spirit of Survival program, patients benefit from reduced anxiety, improved well-being and the tools they need to survive and thrive,” Perejda said.

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Pink Vail is the Spirit of Survival program’s sole funding source; dollars go toward treatments such as massage, Reiki and acupuncture, fitness sessions with specialized oncology exercise physiologists, counseling sessions with an oncology social worker and nutrition consultations with a specialized oncology dietician.

Additional offerings include art classes, group hikes, ski days and educational lectures. Pink Vail funds also support patient care and Spirit of Survival staff, including a full-time oncology social worker, a nutritionist and two exercise physiologists.

The Spirit of Survival program has grown as Pink Vail has grown. Pieces of the program existed — nutrition consultations, counseling and wellness classes like yoga and tai chi — prior to the inaugural Pink Vail in 2012, but the program has developed into what it is today as a result of funds raised by Pink Vail. Today, Shaw is able to offer patients monthly survivorship outings, more exercise classes as well as additional fitness consultations, classes and more support groups.

Many seasoned Pink Vail participants say it’s the program, and the fact the money stays local, that keeps them coming back year after year. Participants are often cancer survivors themselves and, while many are Vail Valley locals, others come from destinations around the country and even the world. For all involved, the event promises a day filled with inspiring stories, meaningful connections and a whole lot of fun.

Changes and additions

Seasoned participants will notice a few changes and additions to the event this year. First, Pink Vail headquarters have moved from Eagle’s Nest to the base of Vail Mountain at Golden Peak. Also new this year is the Celebration of Life, which was previously called the Celebration Ski Down, during which friends, family and those skiing in honor of loved ones skied down the mountain together at the end of the day in a united fight against cancer. This year, instead of everyone skiing down together at the same time, participants are invited to ski in smaller groups at any time throughout the day.

The Celebration of Life run starts at the top of Whipper Snapper (off the Riva Bahn Express), where participants can personalize an official Pink Vail medallion to commemorate their loved one(s). They’ll then ski down wearing the medallion and have their photo taken as they cross the Pink Vail finish line. There will be a cheer zone at the finish line where friends and family can ring cowbells to welcome the skiers. Everyone who participates will go home with a photo to commemorate the experience.

Also new this year is the Supergoop! Kids’ Zone at Pink Vail headquarters. Here, kids who are registered participants and supervised by an adult will find a tent filled with carnival games where they have the chance to win prizes. There will also be a mechanical bull, available to all ages, outside of the Kids’ Zone.

Other event highlights include the Checkpoint Challenge — where participants visit four Pink Vail checkpoints (located on and off the mountain) and are entered in a drawing to win prizes — live music starting at 9 a.m. at Pink Vail Headquarters and the Spirit Rally at the end of the day, during which prizes are awarded for best costume (child and adult), most spirited team, top individual fundraisers (top 15) and more.

Vail Mountain will be covered in pink on Saturday, all to support the Spirit of Survival program.

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