Vail Resorts betters community, employee experience with EpicPromise
By the numbers
20,000: Employee volunteer hours sponsored by Vail Resorts
411,427: Hours of classroom instruction supported by Vail Resorts, teaching the next generation of engaged citizens.
40: Hours of paid time off for Vail Resorts employees to volunteer at the charity of their choice.
24: Employees for Vail Resorts in Eagle County have given 960 hours to 24 nonprofits worldwide.
VAIL — Vail Resorts strives to provide guests with an experience of a lifetime, but the ski industry powerhouse also takes the same approach with its employees and community.
On Wednesday, Vail Resorts officials hosted members of the nonprofits the company supports through its EpicPromise program at the Community Grants Reception at Donovan Pavilion in Vail.
The EpicPromise program is Vail Resorts’ commitment to bringing together the mountains, communities, employees and guests to create a passion for the outdoors, conservation of the environment and support for future generations in the community.
Vail Resorts does this by annually giving more than $7.8 million to more than 250 nonprofit partners at its resort communities that focus on youth programs and environmental initiatives.
Among the nonprofits supported by Vail Resorts is SOS Outreach, a national youth development outreach program that started in Vail in 1993. SOS Outreach provides at-risk youth with the opportunity to engage in outdoor activities, including skiing and snowboarding.
“In a nutshell, SOS would not exist without Vail Resorts,” said Rebecca Gould, the development and marketing director for the growing program. “We receive significant in-kind support through EpicPromise in the way of lift tickets, snowboard instruction — you name it.”
Because of Vail Resorts’ collaboration with SOS Outreach, the nonprofit is able to put 5,000 kids on the slopes this season and even expand to Park City, Utah, where 150 Salt Lake City youth will engage in the program. It has also expanded to include summer events.
The Bravo! Vail Music Festival is another organization that wouldn’t be able to provide world-class music in the mountain setting without the help of Vail Resorts and EpicPromise.
“We couldn’t do Bravo! Vail without EpicPromise, Vail Resorts and the community because it’s about a $2.3 million budget of donated and in-kind services,” said Jeanne Reid White, vice president of leadership gifts for Bravo! Vail.
In-kind donations was a common theme across the nonprofits that benefit from Vail Resorts and EpicPromise. Things such as lift passes, lodging for musicians, food and beverage for entertainment events, items donated to silent auctions — Vail Resorts takes full advantage of its position to help the community.
“We’re so dependent on our communities at all of our resorts, and our communities are us,” said Chris Jarnot, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Vail Mountain. “So this is just a profound privilege to provide some cash and in-kind services for all of these different charitable organizations to go out and make so much more of them. And they make this community the great community it is.”
EPIC VOLUNTEER CHANCES
Through its EpicVolunteers program, Vail Resorts provides its employees 40 hours of paid time off to volunteer for the charity of their choice. This helps nonprofits and organizations accomplish missions via volunteerism, but it also helps Vail Resorts employees become better citizens.
The local Salvation Army is one of those organizations that needs volunteers to achieve its mission.
“They have people come help us coordinate the food baskets,” said Tsu Wolin-Brown, the Salvation Army’s coordinator. “We love the volunteer hours.”
The Salvation Army benefits from in-kind donations as well, and Vail Resorts employees are volunteering their time this holiday season to help with the bell ringing campaign.
Vail Resorts sponsors more than 20,000 employee volunteer hours each year. Twenty-four Eagle County employees have given 960 hours to 24 nonprofits worldwide. Kenneth Howell, a human resource generalist at Beaver Creek, recently returned from his EpicVolunteers trip to Nepal, where he helped with rebuilding and the recovery process there.
“It gives me a lot of pride to work for a company that sees volunteerism, whether it’s domestic, local or international, to be an important part of their contribution to the betterment of mankind,” Howell said.
Through EpicPromise, which is run by Vail Resorts employees for employees, local organizations and the community all reap the benefits.
“Here in Eagle County, we’ll keep working with all of the great charitable organizations to keep helping them do what they do and keep building the community to even greater than it is today,” Jarnot said.
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and email@example.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.