Local angler hooks her perfect mate in Beaver Creek engagement | VailDaily.com

Local angler hooks her perfect mate in Beaver Creek engagement

Valley couple get engaged near Rose Bowl deck at Beaver Creek

Valley locals Mandy Hertzfeld and Skylar Phillips got engaged in a surprise proposal at Beaver Creek on Sunday, Feb. 24. (Photo by Rachael Zimmerman)
rachael zimmerman

Skylar Phillips thought it was unusual that her girlfriend Mandy Hertzfeld was trying to get video of her hitting a jump near the entrance to Rose Bowl at Beaver Creek, asking her to wait behind for a “ready” text on Sunday, Feb. 24.

However, Hertzfeld’s plan was working to perfection.

“I went down toward the second Rose Bowl entrance,” Phillips said, “and as I came around the corner I saw a bunch of people on the deck and I saw the cameras down lower. I thought, ‘Oh man, what am I interrupting.’”

She saw her snowboarding partner, fly-fishing teacher and soon-to-be life partner waving her over, shaking the ring box at her and smiling.

“As I got down there I looked back up and saw the big sign that said ‘Will You Marry Me’ and I realized that was all of our friends,” Phillips said. “I kind of blacked out after that … but it was the most perfect day.”


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There was so much ❤️ on the mountain 2.24.2019. The months of anticipation ? and weeks of planning I couldn’t thank all these wonderful humans enough for helping me pull of the surprise proposal @skylar_abby deserved. Skylar, I can’t wait to be out-fished by you for the rest of our lives. ❤️ ? Thanks to @rachaelzimmermanphotography for the many beautiful moments you captured for us. Also, my face still hurts from ear to ear smiles all day, thank you all for the overwhelming amounts of love and support. We are blessed. . . . #beavercreek #love #blessed #beautiful #photooftheday #instalove #willyoumarryme #photography #proposal #epic #somuchlove #loveislove #mountainproposal #engaged #vailcolorado #beavercreekmountain #ido #wedding #amazingfriends #womenwhofish #engagementring #diamondsareagirlsbestfriend #vaillive #youbelongwithme #engaged #mountains #fiancé #wedding #shesaidyes #happy #forever

A post shared by Mandy Hertzfeld (@mandyhertz_flyart) on

‘If I’m Lucky’

Phillips, who hails from Alabama, has lived in the valley for about four years, and Hertzfeld has called the valley home for almost seven. The two met through a mutual friend in Edwards, staying in touch for a couple of months apart before Phillips moved to the valley after school in Alabama.

“We ski Beaver Creek all of the time,” Phillips said. “We both volunteer with SOS Outreach and so we’re there a lot with SOS. We’ve been skiing at Beaver Creek since we started dating about four years ago.”

Mandy Hertzfeld orchestrated a surprise proposal for Skylar Phillips near the Rose Bowl deck at Beaver Creek. She secretly gathered friends and family on Sunday, Feb. 24, for the exciting moment.
(Photo by Rachael Zimmerman)

With all those days on the mountain together, Phillips never recognized the deck tucked behind some trees near the entrance to Rose Bowl. Easy to say, she’ll see it next time she’s out there, and probably every time she’s out there.

“I don’t think I could ever go back up there and not think of it,” Hertzfeld said. “That’s why I was so excited about doing it there because I knew every time we would spend time there it would be pretty special.”

Next time won’t require as much coordination and planning, though.

“Snowboarding is something that we love to do together, and I was struggling trying to think of the most perfect thing to do,” Hertzfeld said. “I had a few ideas of doing some remote things where we’d hike into some places, but I thought it was really important to have a photographer and videographer to capture the moments. Instead of it being super remote, I wanted to do a beautiful place where we go all of the time and I would be able to involve our best friends and family members that were able to make it.”

Hertzfeld spent time finding the perfect deck at Beaver Creek, coordinating bringing in friends from Denver, Utah and across the valley and tried to subtly get Phillips ready for the big day, suggesting a pedicure day that was shot down.

“There were so many awesome, wonderful friends there,” Hertzfeld said. “And no one spilled the beans. There were a couple of close calls, but other than that, it was very smooth sailing.”

Hertzfeld’s sister flew into town for the proposal, serving as a decoy that day and the reason they spent the morning skiing the beginner terrain at Haymeadow before heading up to the deck.

“I thought she was just here visiting,” Phillips said.

When Hertzfeld got the text from friends and family that the deck was ready, she took her sister and Phillips up the Centennial gondola. Phillips remembers they “had to go to the bathroom” when they got to Spruce Saddle.

“At that point, I still had to put the ring in my pocket out of my book bag,” Hertzfeld said, “so I went to the restroom.”

On the fly

Phillips is a social worker in the valley, and Hertzfeld is going on seven years as a fly-fishing guide working with Minturn Anglers. Hertzfeld is also an impressive artist, creating unique fly-fishing paintings such as close-ups of flies.

“That was one of the first things we did together was fly-fishing,” Hertzfeld said. “She had never been, and so I taught her. We’ve just been loving to fish together ever since.”

Beaver Creek is a special place for Skylar Phillips and Mandy Hertzfeld, now even more so thanks to their engagement on the mountain. (Photo by Rachael Zimmerman)

Phillips and Hertzfeld took the top two spots at the GoPro Mountain Games fly-fishing competition last year, with Phillips taking the top spot.

“It’s a fluke, but I got first place and she got second because she’s such a great teacher,” Phillips said.

Hertzfeld is happy to leave it at that.

“I definitely created a monster, but in the best way,” she said.

While there’s no date picked out for the wedding, “it’s definitely happening in Colorado,” Hertzfeld said.

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

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