Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

Mark G. Davis

As Foresight Ski Guides enters its third year of bringing blind and visually impaired participants (our VIPs) to Vail, we want to take a moment to thank the community that has made it all possible – the people of the Vail Valley and Eagle County. We all know that Vail has some of the world’s best snow sports, but it’s the people here that make Vail and Eagle County truly unique. Thanks to each of you for welcoming Foresight Ski Guides and our VIPs. As a blind skier myself, I know that I speak for all of Foresight’s clients when I say that skiing in Vail changed my life. After becoming blind six years ago, I felt as if my productive life was over. Skiing with the Colorado Ski School for the Blind helped me face and overcome these fears as well as understand the many ways that I can remain active and offer valuable, needed resources to this community. When the Colorado Ski School for the Blind ceased operations after the passing of its founder, Hugh Nevins, we created Foresight Ski Guides to continue the important work of helping VIPs face and overcome their fears, through the fun and adventure of winter snow sports.You may see our VIPs and guides on the mountain or at the Nordic Center in their bright orange vests this winter – our reservations are at their highest level ever, so we will definitely be around all season.And if you’d like to get more involved in working with Foresight and our VIPs, there are many ways to make a difference. Perhaps you would be interested in:– Volunteering as a greeter and host. Most VIPs travel with groups of family or friends, but occasionally, a client is interested in coming to Vail on his or her own – and these folks need someone to meet them at the bus, help them find their way around town, and possibly, provide some companionship for dinner. Having someone to chat with at dinner makes all the difference to a VIP feeling welcome and comfortable.– Sharing your own time on the mountain by volunteering as a VIP Guide. This commitment requires available days during the ski season, as well as strong personal skiing ability and participation in a training program.– Spreading the word about Foresight Ski Guides to blind and visually impaired people in your circle of friends. Frequently, it never occurs to VIPs that skiing is even a possibility for them – or that they could afford the cost of a day with a guide, a lift ticket, new equipment, transportation and lodging assistance. Through our generous sponsors, Vail Resorts, Vail Sports, CME, the Marriott, and the Vail Daily, Foresight makes it safe, fun, and financially accessible. Our programs also have an important therapeutic benefit. Our guides receive special training in challenge recreation therapy, and help our VIPs build self-confidence, self-esteem and self-sufficiency by challenging themselves in a safe and supervised way.– Support Foresight Ski Guides individually, through your business, or with a new idea or thought on how to get involved. Foresight has grown and been successful because of the generosity and creativity of this community. Your ideas are at the heart of our success. Foresight Ski Guides and our personalized and therapeutically-oriented services to VIPs add to the unique and wonderful resources of the Vail Valley, attracting visitors and giving them the best in Colorado mountain fun and adventure. Few VIPs travel alone – most travel with at least three sighted companions. And most of Foresight’s VIPs have chosen to come to Vail specifically so that they can work with our guides. We made possible 111 skier days to our VIP’s last year, and brought many guests to the Vail Valley that wouldn’t have chosen Vail as their destination otherwise. This is nearly triple the service we provided in the 2002-03 year. Clearly, there are a lot of VIPs out there looking for a place to recreate. We want to make Vail their first choice in winter sports destinations. Again, thank you for all that Vail offers to make Foresight successful. And please consider joining in our work. If you’d like to get involved with Foresight, or if you know of a VIP who needs our service, please get in touch with me at 476.1053 or online at http://www.foresightskiguides.org. Best wishes for a safe and wonderful holiday season. Mark G. DavisFounder and PresidentForesight Ski GuidesOfficer goes beyondMy car inexplicably quit running after driving 1,200 miles to and from Las Vegas. I may not have been monetarily lucky in Vegas, but I was extremely fortunate that: — My car broke down a few miles from my house. — State Trooper Jeff Gowin was working that night. Trooper Gowin was kind, courteous and went above and beyond his job description in assisting us. It’s a desperate feeling to have your car break down when it’s 4 degrees and dark outside. Trooper Gowin not only gave us a ride to safety, but he also was able to give a few names of companies that could tow my car. Trooper Gowin’s assistance was invaluable, and I appreciate it more than he will ever know. I hope Trooper Gowin is a valued employee of State Patrol organization and is recognized for his ability to go above and beyond. Jacquie Halburnt Eagle-Vail Great workWe would like to thank the Vail Daily, specifically Randy Wyrick and Bret Hartman, for publishing such a well-written and researched article on the rescued horses that appeared in the Dec. 22 issue. We would also like to thank Dr. Courtney Diehl for giving these animals a second chance through her ongoing donation of time and medical treatment.The SaddleUp! Foundation Horse Rescue is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the rescue, welfare and care of horses as well as educating the public on issues concerning these animals in Eagle County. Since the article was published, we have received generous donations from residents, and visitors, across Colorado. These donations will enable us to continue providing general care for the horses which includes hay, grain, farrier services and medicine.Many supporters have inquired as to the location of the rescued horses. For now they are in safe homes but we’re hopeful they will be up to receiving visitors as early as this spring. In the meantime, we’re happy to offer updates, with pictures and information on their health, through our e-mail address: saddleupvail@aol.com, or you can write to us at: SaddleUp! Foundation, P.O. Box 994, Eagle, CO 81631.Saddle Up Foundation Horse RescueVail, Colorado