Join the club: Vail Club 50 is outdoor group for people 50+
To join Vail Club 50 or to see the schedule of events, visit www.vailclub50.clubexpress.com.
If you haven’t grown up by age 50, then there’s good news — you don’t have to.
Vail Club 50 started back in 1988 with about 15-20 local members. Today, over 800 members are in Vail Club 50 — the only requirement being that you’re at least 50 years old (or your spouse).
“It’s a big group,” said current president Patricia Cornett, 70. “They’re from all over the place. I’d say 50 percent live here full time and the other 50 percent are either from the Front Range or are here seasonally — either summer or winter.”
The club is all member-driven and volunteer-based. Dues are $50 per year and go toward all of the fun activities and social gatherings that take place over the course of a year.
In the winter, Vail Club 50 gathers twice a week in Vail and once a week at Beaver Creek for skiing. There are also weekly snowshoe trips — all activities separate into groups based on skill level, so there’s something for everyone. There are also uphill skiing and backcountry skiing trips throughout the winter.
For social events, there are trips to Tennessee Pass; a Super Bowl party; a holiday gala with dinner and dancing; hut trips; lunches at Game Creek — in all, there are 26 social events planned.
“You go to a couple of events and all of a sudden you have 800 friends,” Cornett said.
There are also trips planned for Snowmass, Winter Park and Canada, where Vail Club 50 members will be helicoptered in to stay in a lodge atop a mountain.
Imagine the parties
Vail Club 50, at 800 members, is a diverse group of outdoor enthusiasts.
“They’re professional lawyers, teachers, business owners and executives, and some have been in the Peace Corps,” Cornett said. “You’ve got a huge swath of talent, so you can imagine what the parties are like — it’s great conversation and people who appreciate good food, good wine and good company.”
For Cornett, Vail Club 50 is a big reason why she and her husband landed in the Vail Valley after 30 years away from Colorado.
“We wanted to live in the mountains and we were looking for a community where we could get to know people and do things with them,” she said. “We looked everywhere — we looked in Summit County, Steamboat, Aspen — and this was the only place where we found a social group and a club like this.”
The group also includes Vail Club Singles, made up of 132 Vail Club 50 members. They get together once a month in addition to the Vail Club 50 gatherings. Recently, they spent a day up at Ski Cooper.
“It’s to socialize with other people that are single,” Cornett said. “It’s not a matchmaking group at all.”
On the schedule for Vail Club 50 this year is a new event, the Burns Supper celebrating the 259th birthday of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet. There will be Scottish food and music. Every year, there’s also a Vail Club 50 ski race in honor of former member Judd Babcock.
Vail Club 50 takes safety seriously.
“We’re very alert and pay a lot of attention to safety,” Cornett said. “We set up safety and CPR classes at the beginning of every season.”
While in the backcountry, radios are provided for all outings. And helmets are a requirement while on the mountains.
“Once you join Vail Club 50, the other thing you find is that these people are the people that volunteer all across the valley,” Cornett said. “They’re mentors in schools and active in the community.”
Looking for more information?
“Just Google Vail Club 50,” Cornett said, as if she was a teenager gathering her friends for some epic adventures.
Entertainment & Outdoors editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.