Four-time Olympian is in Vail this week to plan camp |

Four-time Olympian is in Vail this week to plan camp

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL – Cornelia Holden has a passion for Vail so strong that the Vail Local Marketing District is counting on her as one of the ways to improve Vail business in the offseasons.

The Vail Local Marketing District and its advisory board want to put more people in hotel rooms during the shoulder seasons, and Holden already has a business, http://www.mindful, that focuses on helping athletes improve weaknesses both on and off the field. Her business is right in line with one of the advisory board’s ideas to bring in Olympic athletes to teach camps and workshops in Vail.

Holden announced last week that four-time Olympian Jenny Potter, a member of the U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey Team, will be teaching a hockey camp for mothers and daughters in Vail in August. It’s the first camp of its kind sponsored by the Marketing District, and Holden has high hopes for what will come out of it.

“This is my go-to place for healing and fitness,” Holden said Friday. “I feel like I shine in Vail – a part of me wakes up. I want to bring my passion for Vail to others.”

Holden has been coming to Vail since 1981, when she and her mother traveled here from the Northeast for the Equitable Family Ski Challenge, a race for families sponsored by the Equitable Life Assurance Society.

It was that one trip that got Holden hooked on Vail – she’s been coming back ever since and would move here full time if she could, she said.

So it was last year, as Holden was rehabilitating a sports injury in Vail, that she heard about a Marketing District meeting where Vail’s thinkers were brainstorming ways to get “heads in beds.”

Holden wanted to use her skills and contacts to pitch in and decided just weeks ago that the answer would be bringing Potter to Vail to teach a camp. Holden works as the sports psychologist for the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team.

“We were sitting in my room in the Olympic Village in Vancouver on the night they had just brought home the silver (medal),” Holden said. “And were thinking, ‘OK, what are we going to do next?'”

Potter arrives in Vail this week to get a VIP tour of the town and its facilities. She said she knows just from talking to Holden that Vail has a lot to offer.

“I’m excited to get a good feel for the town,” Potter said. “Vail’s a great place to have a camp.”

Potter and Holden want to build a long-term relationship between their camp and the town. Potter said they’re going to see how the first camp goes before they think of ways to expand it, but they’re definitely planning to be in Vail summer after summer for many years, Potter said.

“Once we get a feel for the camp, we’ll take it from there,” Potter said.

Holden said Potter is an incredible inspiration. She’s not only a four-time Olympian, but she’s also a mother. The pair is excited about reaching out to girls and their mothers for a camp that will focus on more than just athletics.

“In sports, you face fears and you learn that you can make mistakes,” Holden said.

Those are the lessons Holden hopes to teach the camp’s participants, as well as lessons in bonding.

Potter said mothers aren’t always in tune with what their children are doing athletically, so she wants mothers in the camp to learn about their children but also their own nutrition and exercise.

“And hopefully, they’ll have fun, too,” Potter said. “Hopefully people really enjoy it.”

The camp’s programs would only be for a couple of hours a day because the goal is to get the families to enjoy Vail and spend money in town, which is the Marketing District’s goal.

“Families don’t want to have to choose between education and vacation,” Holden said. “So if a family can come here, have a family experience, all while learning a skill set, that’s what we want to accomplish.”

The camp is going to be affordable, too. Holden said they want to keep it around $500 for the six nights and five days, which would include both mother and daughter. That way, families would have more to spend in town, too, she said.

“I think people assume in an economy like this that you can’t go to Vail,” Holden said. “But there are very affordable (hotel) rates here in the summer. Our camp is going to be value-driven.”

Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Board Chair Beth Slifer is thankful to have people like Holden in the community – people who are eager and passionate about making Vail succeed, Slifer said.

Bringing Potter to Vail for a camp is one victory for the Marketing District, and she hopes more camps will follow.

“We feel like we’re making progress,” Slifer said Tuesday.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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