Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation launches fundraising push for Vail avalanche rescue dogs
All donations received from now until March 21 will go toward replacing Rocky and Mookie, Vail’s retiring avalanche rescue dogs
For many, the end of ski season signals new beginnings and the start of summer. But for two of Vail Ski Patrol’s avalanche rescue dogs, Rocky and Mookie, the end of this season will mean retirement. But before Rocky and Mookie leave the job, the Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation is working to raise funds for their replacements.
The Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation was created in Nov. 2020, following the avalanche-related death of Borg-Massanari after being caught in an in-bounds slide at Taos Ski Valley in Jan. 2019.
“When Corey’s accident happened, we knew right away we wanted to do something in his name. Especially for me, I wanted to make sure he wasn’t forgotten,” said Bobbie Gorron, Corey’s mother and the advisor of the Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation. The Foundation’s goal is to raise money to support outdoor safety initiatives and organizations for a variety of outdoor sports including skiing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and more.
Currently, the foundation is focused on raising funds to donate avalanche rescue dogs to Taos Ski Resort and Vail Ski Resort. So far, it has raised enough for Taos and Vail to each receive an avalanche rescue dog, this year and next year, respectively. However, when Gorron learned that two rescue dogs would be retiring from Vail this season, she wanted to launch a final fundraising effort for a second avalanche rescue dog at the resort.
“That’s where Corey skied most of the time, that’s where Corey’s friends still ski, so it just weighed heavily in my mind that they were going to be down a couple dogs,” Gorron said.
All donations that the foundation receives from now until March 21 will go toward helping the resort purchase a second dog. In addition, every donation received for the avalanche dog will have a matching donation to the foundation thanks to an anonymous donor.
According to Leland Thompson, Taos Ski Valley ski patroller and owner of the avalanche dog who found Corey, the cost of an avalanche rescue dog can range from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the breeder. Thompson is assisting the foundation with the avalanche dog application process.
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Gorron, as well as Corey’s father Mark Massanari and sister, Karlee, will be stationed outside of the Patagonia store in Vail Village from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weather permitting). Borg-Massanari’s friends as well as Vail Ski Patrol and avalanche dogs will join the family at different times throughout the weekend.
Gorron encourages people to stop by to ask questions, learn more about the foundation and about her son. “We just want everyone to know who Corey was,” she said.
The foundation already has plans to donate its third grant to the outdoor adventure course at Brainerd High School, which Borg-Massanari attended, and will use its fourth grant to provide resources to the Central Lake Search and Rescue in Minnesota.
While the foundation will always prioritize skiing and avalanche safety, Gorron said, “We’re hoping to branch out more, whether it’s to schools or public organizations that work with anything in the outdoors, providing equipment for places and just teaching about safety.”
To donate to the foundation (and to an avy dog for Vail), you can donate online at givemn.org/Borg Massanari, send a check to Initiative Foundation, 401 1st St. SE, Little Falls, MN, 56345 with the memo, “Corey Borg-Massanari” or scan the adjacent QR code.