Vail Resorts gives largest-ever resort donation to local Habitat for Humanity affiliate

Crew for Habitat for Humanity carry donated items like lamps, pictures, mirrors, chairs, mini-refrigerators and beds onto a truck at the Lodge at Vail on Friday. The Lodge at Vail has donated the entire contents of 50 of their hotel rooms, filling six trucks and eventually the Habitat warehouse.
Anthony Thornton | |

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties is part of Habitat for Humanity International. Habitat builds simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with local families in need. Founded in 1995, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties has built 33 homes to date housing over 100 children locally.

To volunteer or for more information, go to

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore showroom is at 150 Cooley Mesa Road next to Heidi’s Deli and Costco in Gypsum. The ReStore is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 970-328-1119, or go to ReStoreVailValley.Org

The Habitat ReStore is the fundraising entity for the local Habitat affiliate.

It’s fitting and proper that Habitat for Humanity’s biggest resort donation is from the biggest resort.

Vail Resorts cleared everything out of 50 Lodge at Vail hotel rooms and donated everything to the local Habitat affiliate. There was one anxious moment when no one was quite sure if Habitat could handle a donation this big.

Turns out they can.

Fourteen guys, six trucks, some grunting and straining and the next thing you know the hotel is empty and Habitat’s warehouses are full.

“The Lodge at Vail is doing an upgrade, so they needed to move a lot of stuff in a hurry,” explained Tom McKay, who runs Habitat’s ReStore.

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There’s all sorts of high end cherry wood furniture, lighting fixtures, lamps and sconces, ceiling fans … everything you find in an upscale hotel room that you wish you could take with you. Now you can.

They moved it Thursday, and it’s available for purchase now.

Most of it will be warehoused with samples set up in Habitat temporary store in the Caddis Corner center in Gypsum, around the corner from Costco and next to Heidi’s Deli.

Vail Resorts and the local Habitat affiliate — Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties — have been talking about this for weeks, so it wasn’t like this snuck up on anyone. Still, when you’re at the bottom of that mountain of furniture, moving it looks like a daunting task.

But as the proverb says, “Many hands make light work.” OK, there’s nothing light about cherry wood furniture, but you get the idea.

Vail Resorts employees volunteer more than 9,600 hours every year through the company’s Echo program. Besides young, strong volunteers who have never been tired, they donate more than $6.5 million every year to 224 nonprofits in their communities.

“We saw the opportunity with the high quality furnishings at The Lodge at Vail, to support the Habitat for Humanity in a major way,” said Graham Frank, senior director of development with the Vail Resorts Development Co.

Between Habitat for Humanity and recycling programs, everything stayed out of the local landfill and was returned to the community where it can do the most good, Frank said, adding that sustainability is a huge part of VR’s Echo program.

“This is something we’ve had success with, and Habitat for Humanity is a great partner,” Frank said.

“In this instance, Habitat was the right partner for a donation of this size. It takes significant infrastructure to be able to handle something like this,” Frank said.

The Habitat ReStore’s second largest resort donation also came from Vail Resorts when the Inn at Beaver Creek was rebranding to become the Osprey in 2008. That hotel had 38 rooms.

Habitat got the gig because it could move everything out in one day, without interfering with the resort’s day to day business operations, said Julie Kapala, Habitat’s communications and events coordinator.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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