In the flesh
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your town is run around nekkid.
For the third consecutive year, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund has coaxed local folks into baring most for the Vail Undressed calendar. The UnVailing Party – where the poster children run around, signing calendars and hobnobbing with the crowd – kicks off Wednesday in the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom at 5:30 p.m.
The Charitable Fund helps out residents who have financial needs due to a medical crisis. Proceeds from the party and calendar sales go directly to the fund. There will also be a silent auction, the proceeds of which will go to the Silverman Family Fund.
Last year’s theme was athletes – extreme skiers, cowboys, hikers, they had a smorgasbord. This year, it’s legends and celebrities. Naturally, Vail’s most famous fireman, Ryan Sutter, and his bride-to-be, Trista Rehn, are on the cover as well as inside.
“They came over, and it was a very quiet secret thing for quite a while,” said photographer Katherine Schmidt, who has been involved in the calendar every year. “We didn’t know if we could pull it off due to their agents and commitments, but they were very much in the process of making it happen from their end. They wanted to support the organization and to connect themselves to where Ryan is from.”
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Schmidt has a fine art background, with a degree in drawing and a minor in painting. Her photography usually reflects her background, with the textures and seriousness often found in nudes.
“I’m not saying that’s good or bad,” she said. “A lot of the other images in the calendar tend to me more whimsical or funny, but my work hasn’t always been that way.”
Yet her shot of Sutter and Rehn – she’s on his back, holding a rose across his well defined chest, while he peers at her out of the corner of his eyes – is definitely playful.
“I think it expresses our ability to have fun and laugh at ourselves,” said Sutter.
“I think people have this idea of it, being a nude calendar,” said Schmidt. “But the people in it aren’t necessarily used to showing their bodies. So working with them, and getting them to feel comfortable, is the first thing to do.”
Though Sutter and Rehn might not have been used to being in the spotlight a year ago, they’ve definitely had their share of photo shoots at this point in the game.
“Neither of us were really nervous,” said Sutter. “Any nerves we did have were erased by Katherine when the shooting began. She was very easy to work with and made us feel comfortable.”
“They were great, by the way,” said Schmidt. “So open and warm and not at all pretentious. I don’t want to say it was a surprise, but it was just a really nice experience for me. I think they are lovely people.”
Sutter and Rehn will both be attending the party, signing calendars with the rest of the folks.
“And there are other surprises inside, too,” said Schmidt.
There’s always a good bit of secrecy surrounding the who and how of the pages, so the Charitable Fund won’t give a complete list of the participants. The UnVailing Party is meant to be a dramatic event, with large screens bearing reproductions of each month. They did let on that High Maintenance, the fairly new women’s mountainbiking team which rode away with second place in this summer’s Vail Town Race Series, participated.
“It was really fun,” said High Maintenance Captain Amy Hermes about their shoot with photographer Jack Affleck. “I really enjoyed it, I think everybody did.”
Of course, they were photographed with their bikes – so there wasn’t a lot to hide behind. They did one shoot on Bellyache Ridge, but weren’t pleased with the lighting. So the crew of 10 had to get up at the crack of dawn and run around naked on Vail Pass for a few hours. They’re more than satisfied with the results.
“The setting was awesome,” said Hermes. “It was really creative, and Jack was very fun to work with. We kept him on his toes – I think we embarrassed him a couple of times. It was as awkward as you might expect at first, but then we got into the swing of it.”
The photo has them on Vail Pass, atop their bikes, buck naked except for shoes. They weren’t actually riding – their bikes were on stands – but the illusion of movement is there.
“It makes you realize how important your chamois is,” she said.
Has she been seen running around naked in public before?
“Not that I would admit to,” she demurred.
With the calendar, there’s plenty of documented hijinks to be good party fodder. Embarrassed to meet the stars? Just imagine them naked, and you’ll do fine.
The UnVailing Party is $20, which includes entrance, a calendar, two drinks and hearty appetizers. Additional calendars available for $10 that night. Kids under 12 free.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.