Folz celebrates 25th anniversary with Vail Valley Foundation
VAIL —A journey that started out as a volunteer opportunity for the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships will mark a silver milestone Thursday as Ceil Folz celebrates her 25th anniversary with the Vail Valley Foundation.
“Over the course of the past 25 years, Ceil has put Vail and Beaver Creek on the international map through her amazing commitment and passion for our community and our resorts,” said Harry Frampton, Vail Valley Foundation chairman. “She has focused her enormous talents and vision on ensuring that not only are the Vail Valley’s major events the best in the world but that our community is the best place it can possibly be, day in and day out.”
A native of Illinois, Folz received her bachelor’s degree in recreation administration from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 1981. She and her husband, Steve, moved to the Vail Valley in 1982.
Serving as the program coordinator for the Vail Recreation District, Folz was responsible for producing and developing events such as the Symphony of Sports and the Vail stage of the Coors International Bicycle Classic. In 1987, she created the Hot Summer Nights Free Concert Series in conjunction with the opening of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.
As the 1989 World Championships drew near, Folz volunteered to assist the Ceremonies and Enhancements Committee with the opening and closing ceremonies, in addition to the daily official medals presentations. She would join the staff of the Vail Valley Foundation seven months after the conclusion of the championships, coming on board as a project administrator.
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Promoted to director of operations in 1991, Folz assumed the overall responsibilities for the foundation’s athletic events, including annual World Cup skiing and mountain biking competitions, the American Ski Classic and the newly created Artisans Golf Classic. In addition, she served as director of the Ford Amphitheater and the AEI World Forum.
Folz was elevated to the role of senior vice president of the Vail Valley Foundation in 1994, taking on the responsibility for organizing the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships, while also representing the community around the world at International Ski Federation and International Cycling Union meetings and major events.
In September 1999, she was tabbed as the fifth president of the Vail Valley Foundation, following the conclusion of a three-month national search by the nonprofit’s board of directors. She took on the role as president of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee in June 2010 when the bid was awarded to Vail and Beaver Creek.
‘AMAZED BY HER ENERGY’
“I don’t know that our valley knows how lucky we are to have had Ceil as a leader for the past 25 years,” said John Garnsey, Vail Resorts’ president of global mountain development and former Vail Valley Foundation president. “No one cares more deeply about the Vail Valley and no one has attended and represented us at more events than Ceil. I am constantly amazed by her energy, and her persistence is extraordinary.”
“I have the highest respect for Ceil,” said Vail Valley Foundation board member Sheika Gramshammer. “She is my idol as a businesswoman and a friend, and she is the greatest asset of the Vail Valley Foundation. I want to be like her.”
Folz is internationally recognized and respected for her life-long work, not only in alpine skiing and cycling but also for her groundbreaking work in snowboarding, originating the “session” competition format for riders that resulted in the creation of the highly acclaimed Honda Session event in Vail. She also returned international road cycling to the Vail Valley through the USA Pro Challenge.
“Perhaps Ceil’s most amazing achievement is that all of this has been accomplished while also spearheading a full slate of similar dynamic and widespread annual efforts on the cultural and educational fronts via her role as president and CEO of the Vail Valley Foundation,” Frampton said “The Vail Valley is most certainly a world class resort, competition venue and community because of Ceil Folz. She truly embodies the philosophy of bringing the world to Vail/Beaver Creek and Vail/Beaver Creek to the world.”
In addition to her Vail Valley Foundation and 2015 World Championships commitments, Folz also serves on the board of directors for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, Bravo! Vail and the Vail Valley Partnership.