Showing skin for Charity |

Showing skin for Charity

Geraldine Haldner

Almost 80 locals bared it all – almost all – to help neighbors, friends and fellow valley residents in need.

“We wanted full-frontal nudity, with some cover-up to keep it PG,” said Kate Carey, administrative director of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, a local non-profit organization, dedicated to helping valley residents with immediate financial needs due to accidents and illnesses.

“It’s about doing something kind of crazy in the name of charity,” Carey said of the fund’s second annual calendar, which features athletes of any age and level of ability.

Revealing it all has its challenges – even if its for a good cause.

Several of the calendar’s models admitted to feeling oddly naked – even more so than during actual the photo shoots – as they mingled among the 300 or so guests, who had come to the “un-vailing party” of the calendar at the Kaltenberg Castle Saturday.

“Shrinkage was easy, it was cold,” laughed Chris Anthony, Vail’s foremost professional ski bum, who graces the calendar’s cover this year – launching off a cornice in skis, boots and a knee-brace and not much more.

That, he said, was an answer he had resorted to most frequently, as party guests stopped him for autographs and some intimate inquiries.

Captured by Jack Affleck, one of four local photographers who volunteered their time and talent, Anthony, an extreme athlete who has raced in several world ski championships, admitted he was nervous the moment the the film was in the proverbial can.

It turns out, even extreme adventurers experience moments of extreme anxiety.

“I told him “The second they came back I wanted to see them,'” Anthony said. “When I walked into (Affleck’s) office, some girls came out and said “Nice pictures,’ I thought “Oh great, what all did they see?’

Aside from shrinkage, Anthony said, most of questions he fielded at the three-hour party centered around the naked truth.

“There was no air-brushing,” he insisted.

Marka Moser a charitable fund board member, local free-lance writer and photographer, joked that air-brushing wasn’t needed for the image that she and 11 of her best friends undressed for.

“We had a lot of fun. There was wine and hors d’oeuvres – lots of soft light and soft focus,” she said of the calendar’s June cover, featuring the Happy Hikers, a group of Vail women who started hiking together 25 years ago and haven’t stopped since.

Taken by local photographer Wendy Griffith, Moser said the picture should be inspiring in its own right.

“Considering that none of us is under 60, and none of us is a super-athlete, we didn’t look so bad among all the hard bodies,” she said.

According to an informal survey of about a dozen party guests, caught closely studying their complementary copies of the calendar, it appears that women calendar buyers will be looking forward to the months of April, May and November, while men may want to flip ahead to the months of March and September.

But then again, the images gracing January, February, October and December won’t make the chore of checking the calendar that hard on the eye either.

Ron Robbins, one of the charitable fund’s founding members, who along with other board members, stripped for a cover letter picture in the interest of fairness, said no matter what your taste – providing you have good taste – the 2003 calendar edition offers more than “just lots of beautiful people.”

“We took a lot more pictures with views this year, there is the scenery the snow pictures, it should be a great marketing vehicle for Vail,” he said of the 2003 edition, which unlike the 2002 calendar, is dominated by pictures taken outdoors.

The 2002 Vail Undressed calendar – the debut publication – sold 2,000 copies and brought in about $30,000.

This year, according to the charitable fund’s administrative director Kate Carey, the goal is to sell twice as many and double the proceeds.

“All that money goes to fund direct-aid grants, that helps people in very, very unfortunate situations because of a medical crisis,” she said. “When you buy the calendar, it helps these people, who are in the middle of a life or death struggle, to free up some energy for healing or just coping with what they need to cope with.”

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