Tell Us Your Love Story: Runners-up submissions |

Tell Us Your Love Story: Runners-up submissions

More submissions for the Vail Daily's annual "Tell Us Your Love Story" contest

Get inspired by these love stories by those who love Vail.
Priscilla Du Preez for Unsplash

Editor’s note: We received so many submissions for our Vail Daily “Tell Us Your Love Story” contest that we decided to share some more stories online. Read over these stories and get inspired by love and if you think your story is shareworthy and capable of winning top honors next year, make sure you enter the “Tell Us Your Love Story” in Feb. 2024. Winning stories can be read here.

Adrian Kearney and Marcy Blair

As a single guy in Vail, a tough place to be single, I had two couples that where trying to think of someone that I could date. We were together, the five of us for dinner, me as the fifth wheel. All of a sudden the two wives said ‘you should meet Marcy, she skis, golfs, bikes, hikes and is a great girl!’ I said, ‘how about next weekend?’, and they said, ‘no, can’t do that.’ and I said how about the weekend after that?’ and they said, ‘no, we are out of town.’ Ok. I said maybe during the upcoming ski season.

During the next week I went onto one of the girls’ Facebook page and found Marcy, checked pictures and thought, ‘I want to meet this girl!’ Exactly one week later on Saturday evening I’m looking at my Bumble app swiping away and up pops Marcy! The pictures confirmed I’m looking at the same Marcy! I swipe right, of course. A bit later in the evening, Bing! It’s a match! And, what do you know, she is only 1.1 miles away. What are the chances of that? She is in Vail when she normally lives in South Denver. Now, I have to wait for her to send the first note my way. Sure enough, the next morning the note comes through and says ‘thanks for the swipe.’ I reply right away with morning pleasantries and the statement ‘I think we were supposed to meet from my friends X and Y’ (names withheld to protect), ‘Do you know them?’ I knew the answer! She came right back, ‘OMG how do you know them?’ I had instant credibility.

We meet for coffee within about 30 minutes and later that evening at the Beaver Creek Village Oktoberfest. That was about five and a half years ago and we’re still together and going strong! During that Oktoberfest eve I meet her friend that was in Colorado for a visit and I find out that during their drive up to Vail, she had built her Bumble profile page, scanned the options of guys and had swiped on me, and sent the first message that fateful morning. I thank her every time I see her!! AH, the true “meant to be!”

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Adrian Kearney and Marcy Blair.
Adrian Kearney/Courtesy photo

Leon Fell and Kathy Cole

I met Kathy at a restaurant in Vail one evening. I was having dinner with friends, longtime Vailites, Monty McBride and his wife, Nikki, before we went to a Chris Isaak concert at the Ford Amphitheater. Monty had forgotten his glasses and in his loud, booming voice asked if anyone had a pair he could borrow. She was sitting at a table near us in an “office” meeting and stood up and waved her glasses and said ‘You can use mine.’ Monty wound up using someone’s glasses and we went on with our dinner. I glanced over at her a couple of times during dinner. Outside of that, we had no interaction. 

When I got up to leave, I turned around and she was standing in front of me, facing me, just standing there, smiling (ostensibly, she was going to the bathroom, which was in the other direction). I was shocked to see her standing in front of me so, the only thing that came out of my mouth was ‘Has anyone told you how pretty you are?’ I invited her to go to the concert with us that night but she was having a meeting with her partners and couldn’t go. She did give me her business card. However, I did check her out with a couple of my friends from Vail that evening. Even so, it took me three weeks to call her and when I did her girlfriend (who was staying with her until she could move into a new condominium) told me that she was out of town. I told her to tell her that the guy from Aspen called, gave her my phone number and hung up.

Timing is everything, I wasn’t going to call back. Twenty minutes later, she called me. She had told her girlfriend that ‘if the guy from Aspen calls, call me immediately’ – she was at a high school reunion in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The rest is history. 

We had a “Romeo and Juliet” romance for a while (and, a couple of breakups) as she was a longtime resident of Vail and I lived in Aspen. Our first ski date sealed the deal as I found out she was an expert skier – ‘Sh*%. And, she can ski, too?’ We got married last August, after “24 years of planning.” We are looking forward to celebrating our 25th anniversary next year and many more.

Leon Fell and Kathy Cole
Leon Fell/Courtesy photo

Kyndal and Roy Emerick

Love. A simple four letter word, yet it’s the most powerful thing in the universe.
It had to power to bring two people, thousands of miles apart, together.

A firefighter from Charleston, SC and a small town girl from La Veta, CO crossed paths in Vail in 2018.

Kyndal, who grew up in a small town in southern Colorado found her path led her up into the magical mountains of Vail in the summer of 2014. Roy also was here that summer. Both of them not having a clue what was about to happen. Vail was full of wonder and opportunity for a wide eyed 21 year old. Reveling in all the valley had to offer and enjoying some of the best days of her life, Kyndal also experienced a lot of heartache along the way. A few failed relationships later, she wanted to put herself out there again. So frustrated with the dating scene and the difficulty of online dating, she was about ready to throw in the towel on ever finding a decent man.

We all know the cliche “it happens when you least expect it.” Well, it’s true.

Her friend, who was dating Roy’s roommate, had mentioned that he was single and that they would be a great pair. Kyndal, exhausted with dating, was very hesitant. After some convincing, Kyndal agreed but only if it was a double date. They all went out to Mountain Standard in Vail for happy hour and the rest is history. Kyndal was immediately captured by Roy’s effortless charm and his genuineness. He was so different, she thought.

A few more dates turned into five years and those five years gave way to the happiest day of their lives when they married in Eagle. This valley has given them some of the most precious times in their lives and continues to be a part of their love story. They love enjoying the outdoors together and are always up for adventures.

Roy, thank you for being my partner in adventure. I love you with all of my heart. Your wife, Kyndal.

Kyndal and Roy Emerick
Kyndal Kyndal Emerick/Courtesy photo

Katie and TJ Wolf

In February of 2014, I was working as a lift operator for Vail Mountain and he was a lift mechanic. We were both scheduled to open a chair lift that neither of us usually work. Without sounding too cliche or anything, there were some sparks flying that morning. We went all out on our first date, he came over to my apartment in Timber Ridge where I made him my famous lasagna and he brought over a case of Rolling Rock. Our relationship only grew from there. From camping all over the state to tropical vacations in exotic locations, our love only got stronger.

We bought a house in 2017 and shortly thereafter a dog named Topsi rescued us. On April 2, 2021 (he was originally going to propose on April 1 but he thought I would think it was a prank) TJ proposed at the exact same spot we met seven years earlier. On June 23, 2022 we got married at the Vail Wedding Deck just steps from where we met all those years earlier.

We both still work for Vail Mountain and live in Gypsum. We jokingly call ourselves the Wolfmann’s. My maiden name is Mann, his (now mine as well) last name is Wolf. 

Katie and TJ Wolf
Katie Wolf/Courtesy photo

Laura Lieff and Brian “Wookie” Fleming

Almost 20 years ago, I walked into Pazzo’s in Avon and met the person who would change my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but that night was the beginning of my most important relationship with anyone ever. I didn’t know who he was, and I wasn’t sure why everyone called him Wookie (I had never seen “Star Wars“) but I did know that he was someone I wanted in my life. The way he commanded the room was electric and I couldn’t take my eyes off him – so I started visiting Pazzo’s more regularly. 

Although he was 11 years older than me, we were both students at the time, which closed the age gap and gave us an opportunity to get better acquainted. We quickly discovered that we loved the same music, enjoyed snowboarding and had a similar sense of humor. We dated for three years, graduated from college, and then I got a job offer at a newspaper in Denver that I couldn’t refuse. But Wookie wanted to live in Eagle County, so we commuted back and forth. After several months it was clear that the distance wasn’t working so we went our separate ways. My heart was shattered. I had lost my best friend and my boyfriend. 

Four years later, out of nowhere, he called to tell me his mother passed away. I dropped what I was doing to meet him. Even though I hadn’t seen Wookie or his mother in years, I felt like I lost a family member too. I met her on a Beaver Creek chairlift when I was 21 years old and just couldn’t believe she was gone. After that night, Wookie and I became friends again and two years later we got back together – this time for good. 

I packed up my apartment and my dog Sedona (who is now 14) and Wookie and I moved in together in Edwards. Since then, we bought a house, adopted another pup, Zephyr, who is almost five and welcomed a baby boy named Fleet who is almost four years old. When I think about how far we’ve come since I walked into Pazzo’s and met the person who would become the love of my life, the father of my child, co-wrangler of our pups and my partner in everything, I feel very lucky that we decided to give ourselves a second chance. 

Laura Lieff, Wookie and Fleet Fleming
Laura Lieff/Courtesy photo

Robin and Tynan Olsen

I met my now husband on a chance encounter on a patio on a sunny Denver afternoon in Sept. 2010 – both living in the city at the time. He did actually tell me he loved me the very first time we met – but that was because of my chili cook off wins – not real love … quite yet. However, we indeed fell in love quite quickly and he invited me to a weekend in Vail (where a close family friend has a place he had access to) just weeks after we met. 

By Halloween, we were a couple and saying I love you’s. During a trip to see the leaves change we talked about our dreams and hopes, first and foremost being to build a life and family in the mountains of Colorado. We wanted the same things and knew that one day, we’d find our way there.  

On December 31, 2011, he surprised me and proposed and I happily accepted. While I had mentioned eloping, he immediately said, ‘I want to marry you in the Chapel at Beaver Creek – whether there are 4 people there or 400 – I want to marry you in that spot.’ I knew right then, there would be no eloping.  

By January 3, 2012, (yes, four days after the engagement!) we had set a wedding date of May 26, 2012 at the Chapel at Beaver Creek. After we were married, we turned to our family and friends to share that we were going to have a baby in December 2012. The love in that room that day and entire weekend is something I will never forget.  

We got married in May, I changed jobs in July, bought and sold a house in August, moved in September and had our son, Declan, in December. Just shy of one calendar year of being engaged.
We continued to head to the mountains whenever we could, packing up all the baby things – and baby – now. Declan was blessed at the Chapel at Beaver Creek in March 2013 by the same pastor who married us – in the same spot we were married. In April of 2015, we welcomed Vivian to our family and continued to head towards the mountains anytime we could get away. It got more challenging to pack up and unpack and live life for our weekends.  

Both kids took their first steps in Vail. Both kids were blessed at the Beaver Creek Chapel by Pastor Mark. We knew it was just a matter of time before we moved – our hearts were already here in Eagle County.  

December 2017, seven years after we met, five years after our son was born, we made the move to Eagle, leaving the city life behind. My husband has his dream job working for Mountain Safety at Beaver Creek. Our children attend Brush Creek Elementary and are growing up as mountain kids.  Many days I stop and look around and think ‘I cannot believe we live here. I cannot believe how lucky we are to actually be living our life’s dream.’ Yet, here we are. So many people that we are indebted to that helped us along the way — special shout out to Tynan’s mom, Barbara. We are so grateful. 

A few years ago, on the way to go skiing, Declan said: “Every kid must wake up and decide: Beaver Creek or Vail.”  Oh no they don’t, son. Most are never ever so lucky – and only a very lucky few ever make that choice.  
How lucky we are indeed to call this Valley home. Our love story just keeps evolving as we build our life and family in this sacred Valley. I love you Tynan – with all my heart and soul. I am so glad we met and are living our best life.  

Tynan and Robin Olsen and kids, Declan and Vivian
Winkeller Photography/Courtesy photo

Beatriz Novaes and Paulo Pereira

Paulo and I are a Brazilian couple who are crazy about skiing. We met 47 years ago, in Argentina while on a ski trip. Since then, we felt in love and ski trips started to be our goal. Every year, we take a ski vacation during the wintertime. We went to Vail the first time in 1984 and we felt in love with Vail´s village and mountain.

Since then, we’ve skied every year in many different places around the United States and Europe, but we decided that when we retired and have more time and money to spend, our destination will be Vail again. This year we are celebrating 10 years of coming to Vail. Every year, we spend at least one month during the winter in this paradise that we call the “Wonderland of Skiing.” We love Vail Mountain, in our opinion, its the best of in United States and a place that we can enjoy the sport during the day and the village at night with so many good restaurants, shops, facilities and the European style and charm. This is the perfect place to be during the winter!

Paulo Pereira and Beatriz Novaes
Beatriz Novaes/Courtesy photo

Heather and Greg Vigil

Our love story begins on a lake when I was just 17 years old. It is a love story that has lasted over 30 years. I saw the now love of my life, from across the sand and he noticed me as well that warm August day. We met that day and have shared our lives together from that day forward. We married the day before graduating college, surrounded by our friends and loved ones. I was just 20 years old, and he was a mere 22. Now, 27 years later, we are still happily married and enjoying life together. But our marriage was not one of sheer bliss and happy times, as no marriage that has survived 27 years ever is. Together we survived three years of infertility treatments to no avail. We then made a long trip to the Ukraine just four days after 9-11-2001 happened, to adopt our beautiful baby daughter. Three years later we once again returned to the Ukraine to adopt our then toddler son. Our love story would not have been complete without them. They completed our family, and are now wonderful adults. Over our 30 years together we have had many adventures traveling the world together, raising a family, surviving cross country moves and family tragedies. Our love story began when we became best friends that August way back in 1992 and continues to this day. Love is about being best friends, supporting each other through the good times and the bad. And putting in all the work it takes to build a beautiful life together. I wrote this letter today to let the love of my life and my best friend know how much I love him,and how proud I am of the life we have built together. Happy Valentines my love! And Happy 50th Birthday, Husband! 

Greg and Heather Vigil
Heather Vigil/Courtesy photo

Andrea and Chris Haigh

My Valentine in Chris Haigh. (His birthday is Valentine’s Day, so he really is my Valentine and my husband!). He kissed me on Chair 8 in January, 2005, that was our first date. One year later we were married.

We met on He was in St. Tomas, U.S.V.I. and I had been living in Vail since 2002 after being in and living through 9/11 with my previous job. I loved living in Vail. I enjoyed meeting wonderful people through my on mountain volunteer work with Community Guest Services and my membership in the Vail Rotary Club.

Chris had checked the eHarmony box to meet someone in North America, I checked the box that said anywhere in the world. I made it clear that I wanted to meet someone that loved to ski. Little did I know his father was in the National Ski Patrol and taught Chris how to ski when he was two.

When Chris and I started dating he said, ‘If things work out in our relationship can you see yourself living on Maui, Hawaii?’ I said I’d never been there but would be open minded. This past January 18, 2023 we celebrated our 17th year wedding anniversary skiing in Vail, as we do almost every January!  After our marriage, Chris’ company transferred us to Maui. We have been living, loving and working on Maui for the last 17 years. We come back to Vail to ski several weeks a year.

Andrea and Chris Haigh
Andrea Haigh/Courtesy photo

Miranda Fritz and Marcus Jenks

We met in Summit County in 2020 at a mutual job. We were friends but I secretly had a crush on him. He worked IT so I always used to pretend my computer was broken so I could go and talk to him. Two years later we start dating on a whim. Everything is perfect. 10 months later and we are engaged! He popped the question at the top of Vail Mountain! The run immediately following our engagement was so surreal. Best. Ski Day. Ever!!!

Miranda Fritz and Marcus Jenks
Miranda Fritz/Courtesy photo

Dr. Richard (Dickie) and Marlene Marks

Marlene was every guy’s dream: Gorgeous, bubbly, athletic and built! She was a veteran playground coach that fateful summer of 1968, ready to move out of our native Milwaukee and begin her career as an elementary school teacher in Chicago that coming fall. Then she heard rumblings about me, Dickie, a new playground coach who had built a sailboat. Incidentally thinking that I “was cute,” what really caught Marlene’s attention, as she had sailed all through college, was the sailboat. She put out the word that she might accept if Dickie asked her for a sailing date. And ask her I did; knowing Marlene was way out of my league, but what was there to lose?

The caliber of sailing she was used to was also way out of the league of my humble boat, and though she tried her best to be polite, she pointed out that the sail was too big, the boat too heavy, and the centerboard and rudder were both too small. We sailed downwind like champs, but struggled mightily to tack upwind back to our launching point.

Despite the snafu, we danced that evening at a small lakeside dive to the duo of Pebbles and ChaCha. To this moment I can’t say why, but as we held each other on that dance floor, our eyes met and we somehow knew – absolutely knew – we were meant to be together forever.

The road was rough. I had lost my mother at age 49, to leukemia three years before, and Marlene lost her father at age 48, to a heart attack the week before our engagement party. Our love being obvious, Marlene’s parents reminded Marlene that I had another year of college, four years of medical school and five years of residency before beginning a career, making her the sole support for all of those years.  

She was fine with that hurdle. “I love him, and will gladly do whatever it takes.”  

When I asked her parents for their blessing to become engaged, her Daddy made me solemnly pledge that I would always hold her well being and happiness even above my own. I gladly made that pledge and have lived by it until this very day, 52 years later.  

We first came in 1974, and, having grown up in Wisconsin (but we’ve been in Dallas since 1979), were in total awe of what a ski mountain could really look like! We bought our first property, Marriott Streamside, soon after, followed by time shares at St. James and Park Plaza. Eventually we bought a four bedroom condo at Beaver Creek Lodge. We are members of the Beaver Creek Club, and, like the other septuagenarians and above, are thrilled we can still enjoy our passion of skiing.

The magic spell that bound us on that dance floor over five decades ago has grown ever stronger with each passing year.

Dr. Richard and Marlene Marks
Dr. Richard Marks/Courtersy photo

Jake Routhier and Haley Broughton

I met my love during 2020 when Vail Resorts had furloughed employees as Covid-19 was ramping up. Life was difficult not only due to the state of the world but also as a younger person just trying to figure what they had to offer the world and what the world had to offer.

My roommate, Erik and I had been furloughed a month when his dad called and told him to come visit. Knowing I’d be home by myself and in need of an adventure he had invited me to Minnesota to stay with his family. I said ‘What the hell, why not?’ and off we went on an adventure that would not only change my state of mind but lead me to the love of my life. We were there for a little over a month, doing chores around the house to help Erik’s parents, meet up with his old childhood and college friends and see the sights that the beautiful state has to offer.

As a thank you for visiting and helping, Erik’s parents wanted to treat us to a week up at Potato Lake, the lake that would show me just what an epic adventure can truly offer. The entire family was there, parents, sisters, boyfriends, Erik and myself. Erik’s youngest sister had a friend that she wanted to get out for a weekend away from the hubbub of city life. We had been at the lake for four days swimming, trying to kneeboard and fishing when Haley (the friend) was able to come up. I was in the lake when she arrived. After the greetings with the family I had noticed that there was a new member of the party. I was awestruck by how beautiful this girl was and immediately tried to play it cool and not act like the goofball I am. She saw through that in a heartbeat and called me out, much to my content. She saw me and she knew I saw her. We got to know each other for the remaining days and parted ways.

Months later, I was back in Colorado and she came to “visit” but knew she’d be moving here. She moved states, got a great job, and we’ve been inseparable since. The pandemic brought most 6ft apart but it brought us to each other.

Haley Broughton and Jake Routhier
Jake Routhier/Courtesy photo

Eileen and Nick Sordi

Nick and I met at St. Dominic’s High School in Oyster Bay, New York in 1958. The Heart Hop dance was coming up on February 8 at our gym. I had made up my mind that I wanted to go with Nicky (as he was called in high school). I mentioned that to his good friend, Lenny. A few days later, Lenny suggested my name to Nick to take as a date. Well, lo and behold, Nick thought that was a good idea. We enjoyed ourselves and that was the beginning of a long romance. Sure, we dated others when away at college but dated each other on vacations. He never knew until years later what I had suggested to Lenny!   

We have been happily married for 56 years. When I say how long we will be married, he jokingly says, ‘not so fast.’ We were married after his first year of law school and lived in New York. We have been here in Eagle for 16 years now.

Nick and Eileen Sordi
Eileen Sordi/Courtesy photo

Steffen Mehnert and Lara Jackson

Steffen’s Version:

What was supposed to be a simple gathering of friends enjoying a moonlight hike and birthday dinner up to Tennessee Pass Cookhouse turned out to be a page out of a fairy tale.

The stars must have been aligned when the seating chart placed me next to Lara. We laughed and had an absolutely splendid time throughout dinner.

When we concluded dinner and headed back down the hill, I ended up walking with Lara where we turned off our headlights and walked in the glistening snow, enjoying the contrast of the white path against the dark sky and woods.   

Wouldn’t you know it that we suddenly found ourselves holding hands, engulfed in the quiet surrounding us. Then, another quarter mile down the path, Lara’s back was up against a tree and we found ourselves in a tender embrace.

End of January 2023 will be one year together which has been filled with joy, laughter, partnership and friendship and much anticipation of what the next year will bring us!! Happy Valentine’s Day…

Lara’s Version:

From the moment I met him I knew a lucky woman should date him, but I never considered myself. For months I tried to convince my girlfriend that she should date him, they were friends after all. I admired the way he opened the truck door for her, I liked his dog, Stella and the kindness in his voice. I was impressed by his all-in attitude about everything.

Luckily, we both made the A-list and were invited to Tennessee Cookhouse to celebrate our friend’s birthday. Luckily I was seated next to him. And luckily we started the return snowshoe a little before the rest of the group. 

At one point he held my hand, and I didn’t know what to think. A few steps later he whipped me around and planted a big one on me! 

Luckily, I left my gloves in his truck that night. And luckily, he wanted to return them and steal another smooch!

Steffen Mehnert and Lara Jackson
Lara Jackson/Courtesy photo

Aimee Daniels and Allen Coberly

I’ve always loved reading these Vail Love stories – I’d like to think ours is also a love story, too.

In today’s day and age dating apps are all the rage. So, after swiping left and right and communicating for a bit we had our first “date” at the Burton U.S. Open in 2020 right before Covid-19 shut everything down in the Vail Valley and Worldwide. We visited a couple of Vail’s hot spots. We started out with appetizers while listening to Phil Long’s après show at the Vail Chop House. He had his first Pabst Blue Ribbon beer at Moe’s, I kept it classy and had Coors Banquet with their amazing wings. We had drinks at Bol and enjoyed the live music (Big Wild) in Solaris Plaza with thousands of other party goers. We had drinks and a late night burger at Garfinkel’s. Little did we know it was going to be the last time we ate out in the Vail Valley for months while the world was on lock down and adjusting to the new normal.

We could be considered a Covid relationship success story. One that survived! We continued to date during new and challenging times. We learned a lot about each other and quickly realized we were meant to be together. Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2022 – we got engaged!

Allen Coberly and Aimee Daniels
Aimee Daniels/Courtesy photo

Alissa Wolsky and Joel Berger

Vail has always had the most special place in my heart. Like many others, I spent my formative years traveling to Vail for family vacations until my family couldn’t stay away anymore and made the move from Cleveland, Ohio to Denver. I have been a ski instructor in Lionshead since 2015, and even now while I am in grad school in California, my favorite days of the year are when I’m back in the valley passing down my passion to kids by teaching skiing.

When my partner and I started dating three years ago, it wasn’t long until I shared my love for Vail with him and it quickly became our happy place. Fast forward to November 25th of this last year, little did I know that a place so special to me would become even more special somehow. On that Friday, surrounded by my entire family just outside of Two Elk Lodge on Vail Mountain, my best friend got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I could not have asked for a more beautiful way to start the rest of my life with my person.

After saying the easiest “yes” of my life, we celebrated, we called our other family members and friends, and then my brand-new fiancé had a nice face-first wipe out into a pile of powder. After helping him up out of the snow, we skied down the mountain and continued our celebration by going home, having a champagne toast and eating Thanksgiving dinner together.

Now every time I am skiing at Vail, walking through town, or driving past the “Welcome to Vail” sign on I-70, I will always have the memory of getting engaged in my favorite place in the world.

Joel Berger and Alissa Wolsky
Alissa Wolsky/Courtesy photo

Kyla and Derek Carroll

This is not how we met (we met both working at Zino Ristorante in 2016), but the day we got married in a unique way on 10/01/2022. This is a post that Derek made on Facebook of that day:  

Woke up with a ring on today. Kyla Arguello and I tied the knot yesterday, October 1. Fall is our favorite season. We want to do things differently. After being together for six years and engaged at five years we picked a date, October 1. That date was her grandmothers birthday, so it’s a day that means a lot to us. The location we chose was on top of Mount Royal in Frisco, Colorado. This was a spot that Sereko Carroll told us about during the 2020 pandemic. So, we love it! Thank you, Sereko.

We got up a little before 7 a.m. and drove a hour through fog and rain to then see the sun shining in the Vail Valley. So many beautiful golden aspens and the first snowfall of the season covering the mountains. We have never seen so much snow fall with all the leaves still changing and intact.

We read that rain on your wedding day only makes the knot tighter for a long marriage. 

The sun was shining and then we made it to Copper Mountain and much more snow has fallen. The clouds were low, the aspens were booming in color but it was cold and dark.

We planned this a month or two ago and we were going to complete our day: To hike up to 11,000 feet to exchange our vows and complete our marriage license and on to the next chapter of our lives together. Sounds fun, right?

We got to the trailhead parking lot and started our journey up Mount Royal around 9:45 a.m. We took lots of photographs. The sun was coming out, we were bundled up doing this beautiful climb we love together. Laughing and talking about life. Near the top we were soaked from sweating and it was warm now. As we got close to our spot, it was 11:07 a.m. I yelled to Kyla that we have to summit the climb and reach the top at 11:11am! We put the gas on and climbed as fast as we could to reach the peak at exactly 11:11 a.m. 

We started our vows and of course made a wish.

Turned out to be a another great adventure with my best friend.

The climb down was great! We were starving and heading to Breckenridge for a huge breakfast at The Columbine Cafe, then off to get my favorite Mexican chocolate mocha latte and blueberry buckle pastries. Kyla has to get at least three of these buckles. We sat and people watched as it started to pour rain and that’s when our day felt complete. 

Thank you to our family and friends for the love and support. 

Love from the Carroll’s that’s C A double RR O double L.

Derek and Kyla Carroll
Kyla Carroll/Courtesy photo

Chiara Zagnoli and Scott Robb

My partner and I met at a mutual friend’s Halloween party in 2019. I was dressed as Lady Bird and he was dressed as a cowboy and the conversation flowed for hours. Unfortunately, I was finishing my degree in Fort Collins and we didn’t have the time to continue seeing each other. Then the pandemic hit, and we suddenly had more free time and we reconnected and again, conversation was easy and we began to learn more about each other! As time continued on, we began building our lives together, planning our future travels, skiing together, deciding where I should apply to graduate schools, and that we wanted to be together through it all. Once my mother became sick with cancer, he had unwavering support to not only me but my entire family. In October of last year, he proposed and I said yes! We are currently planning our wedding, and our friend that introduced us is going to officiate to honor the way we met.

Scott Robb and Chiara Zagnoli
Chiara Zagnoli/Courtesy photo

Ines Rios and Dario Bano

It all started in 2017 when I went on a cultural exchange from Spain to San Francisco. I went to live with a family and they encouraged me to join Facebok groups to make friends. So that’s what I did, I joined Facebook groups and met Rebeca. She and I met over coffee and had a great time. When we were about to leave, she told me that she was going to meet a friend of hers named Dario that she met recently and she invited me to go with them. I went to the bar where my friend was meeting him and she introduced us. From that day on we became good friends, we made plans together, trips… but everything changed when we took a trip to Chicago and our friendship turned into something more and we became a couple.

At the beginning we were not sure because we were only there for a year and when the cultural exchange was over each of us would have to go home, but in the end we took the risk and finished the year of exchange together, we moved together to Spain where we lived for three years and now life has brought us here to the Vail Valley where we are very happy.

Ines Rios and Dario Bano
Ines Rios

Becca West and Austin Murray

The time was 2020. I was 31 and jaded by the idea of “finding love” during a worldwide pandemic. I sat outside my previous boss and now neighbor’s house, on their porch, social distancing, and soaking up some sun like a lizard coming out of hibernation. Yes, some lizards hibernate, don’t come for me, google it for God’s sake. 

I had met Mic and Mary almost a decade earlier. I was a vet tech, and Mary was the local veterinarian. Now retired, but still classy and brilliant, Mary and her husband Mic chose to keep me under their wing all these years for some unknown reason, most likely due to my dazzling wit and constant sarcasm.

I don’t know what about this tirade sparked something in Mary on this day in particular but perhaps it was an attempt to shut me up…

Mary pondered out loud “Maybe you should meet Austin.” 

I was caught off guard, “Austin?” Who is Austin? I bet he is from Texas I mutter to myself…

“He lives just up the road,” she pointed behind her. 

“Well, I’ve never run into him,” I shrugged defiantly. 

“Yeah, he’s busy building a house,” Mic explained. 

That afternoon I half-heartedly agreed to meet this “Austin” the following week for lunch, a double date with Mic and Mary. They would set it all up.

That next Saturday Mic, Mary, and myself sat down for lunch at a local pizzeria.

This tall, handsome stranger didn’t say much. Austin and Mary sat quietly, politely eating their pizza while Mic and I chugged our drinks and enjoyed being obnoxious.

I wasn’t sure of how to play the situation when lunch came to an end. Mary helpfully scooted Mic out the door and Austin and I were left alone.

Luckily this quiet stranger asked for my number. How vintage!

When Mary and Mic asked how it went, I said, “I don’t know. He seems too introverted and sweet for me. I prefer a tiny bit of Satan in my men.”

“Don’t rule him out just yet!” Mic exclaimed. “He might need you to shake up his world a little bit. You might balance each other out, the way me and Mary have all these years, opposites attract.”

A second date, turned into a third, then a fourth and now here we are almost three years later. 

“Ok Boomers!”, I have since declared to Mic and Mary, “you were right!” And we still go out for lunch together, the four of us. 

So I guess this loud, brash control freak found her happy ending and it turns out even as a millennial, you can still meet a handsome stranger IRL (in real life). 

Becca West and Austin Murray
Becca West/Courtesy photo

Martin and Joanne Foster

The Electric Kiss

New York City, the summer of 1961. I was 17. I was riding the subway with my high school girlfriend, Joanne. I forgot where we were going, but if you’ve ever ridden the subway in New York, you might remember that the lights sometimes go out as the train crosses a switch track or other track crossing. It doesn’t last long, just enough to know that it happened. At some point we leaned toward each other and kissed. Simultaneously the lights went out and we both experienced what felt like a jolt of electricity at the same time. My life was never the same! Joanne has been my wife for 59 years.

Martin and Joanne Foster
Martin Foster/Courtesy photo

Abbie Davis and Andrew Murphree

I met Andrew Murphree in middle school in 2011. We remained the closest of friends throughout high school, constantly at our favorite rope swing on the river jamming out to Sublime, Milky Chance, Griz, Flume, etc.

Hanging out with Andrew has always felt so easy and natural. I never thought of him as anything other than a best friend up until one very distinct moment. It was 2017, we were at Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. I lost him before a Bassnectar set and couldn’t stop wishing he was right beside me. When I finally found him after the show, I looked at him and it hit me like a ton of bricks: “oh my – I think I’m in love with Andrew.”

Shortly after that we were drinking cheap pink wine at Andrew’s apartment in Birmingham when I said, “Andrew just kiss me so I know what it’s like.” He sure did. But we carried on like it never happened and I convinced myself I was silly to think I had romantic feelings for one of my best friends.

I then moved to North Carolina and Andrew came up to visit a couple times. Nothing was weird or off at all. We were happy to spend time together as always. Andrew then moved to Colorado and with us both being broke and so far apart, we didn’t see each other for the next four years. We kept in touch and talked on the phone when we could.

In my last semester of college I found myself needing a roommate in my two bedroom apartment. Knowing his lease was about to end, I called Andrew and said, “What are the odds you want to come to NC to be my roommate?” About two weeks later he moved in and I got to show one of my best friends around my beloved mountain town.

In March of 2022, the night before he was leaving to through hike the Appalachian Trail, we kissed again. I let my lease finish and met him at the halfway point in Virginia that May. We fell in love, oh so naturally, on the journey. When we reached Mount Katahdin, the Northern Terminus of the A.T. and tallest mountain in Maine, Andrew said, “Now that we’re on top of the world, Abbie, won’t you be mine?” I smiled and said, “Of course.”

We now live together in Colorado and continue to jam out, explore and enjoy each other thoroughly.

Andrew Murphree and Abbie Davis
Abbie Davis/Courtesy photo

Veronica Dunlay and Benjamin Yousefzadeh Fard

Iran Meets Iowa: Love Story

I stand at the altar, waiting for my love to join me. Funny thing is I wasn’t the bride and he wasn’t the groom. We were both a bridesmaid and groomsmen for our mutual friend/cousin and never expected to meet someone who would change our lives forever. My heart is filled with joy as I think about how far we’ve come since that fateful night at a wedding.

As a PhD student from Iran and a girl from Iowa, we were from very different backgrounds, but we were immediately drawn to each other. We laughed and talked all night, and by the end of the evening, we knew there was something special between us.

Two months after the pandemic hit, we moved to Chicago together. It was a crazy time, but we adapted to the city and blended our lives seamlessly. Benjamin was and still is pursuing his PhD at the University of Illinois Chicago while I was figuring out what I wanted to do next. That’s when Benjamin came home with a picture of a Masters degree advertisement and encouraged me to go back to school and pursue my dreams. With his support, I completed my Master’s in Health Communication from Northwestern University in one year and at my graduation, Benjamin got down on one knee and proposed in front of my family and friends.

Now, we’ve moved to Portland, Oregon, for Benjamin’s internship at Intel and we’re still trying to figure out where we want to settle down. But no matter where life takes us, as long as we’re together, we know everything will work out.

As I wait for Benjamin to join me at the altar with me as the bride, I can’t help but feel grateful for his unwavering love and support. He is my best friend, my partner, and my rock. I know I am the luckiest woman in the world to have him and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him as my husband.

Benjamin Yousefzadeh Fard and Veronica Dunlay
Veronica Dunlay/Courtesy photo

John and Maya Castillo

Love is not just a noun or feeling, for me and my spouse it’s action. It’s hard work, and the blessing in this story is working at trying to out bless one another each day.

Our story begins here in the Vail Valley back in 2000. I was working with her sister at the time at Village Market and always just heard stories about her. She was in town visiting from Texas. It didn’t begin there since she had to go back home and was only visiting. I didn’t know that someday in the future she planned to move here with her sister and work here in the Vail Valley. That is when I really thought, ‘wow, I have my chance to get to know her and see what she was all about.’  Maya got a job at Village Market and was super convenient since I also worked there. I really didn’t think I would be an option for her as I had a big responsibility of taking care of a daughter. Some people will count that as a no on their checklist, so I was taking a big shot at rejection.

It took me a while and so glad I took my time building a friendship. After I got to know her a little more, I didn’t know if she felt the same for me but here we are 21+ years later and our story is still being told.

I can tell you this, our life story is truly a story of faith. As the saying goes “faith is being sure of what we hope for.” That is what I was hoping for. I took a long shot and hoped to find love and be able to show it, not by my words but by my actions. I am grateful and in love with this woman. We have grown our family and now have five children together and we don’t HAVE TO do life here in the Vail Valley but GET TO. We are serving this community and if I look back at all the trials of life, this is the one thing I can say about love. If after 20+ years I still say yes, then I thank the GOOD LORD for setting us apart and anointing our marriage. It’s a HUGE answer to my prayers. Love is worth the effort, and I still say yes, too.

John and Maya Castillo
John Castillo/Courtesy photo

Keely Gregg and Russ Reichenbach

It was “just for the summer.” Then my three-month visit turned into four as September rolled around and I could deny it no longer. I was here to stay!

So, I applied as a free agent hoping to be picked up by a recreational soccer team for the fall season just to see what would happen and meet a few people. A few weeks before the first game, a team captain reached out via text to bring me onto his team. The only caveat was that he had a conflict for the first few games. The first game Russ attended happened to fall on my birthday, at the end of September. He hadn’t played in a few weeks but came out blazing and scored three goals back-to-back within minutes of stepping on the field. We were all in awe, what a first impression!

After the game, I guilted the team (of more-or-less complete strangers at the time) into celebratory drinks for my “Quarter Life Crisis” (little did I know, 25 would be my best year ever) at the local watering hole, Bob’s Place. As fate would have it, I landed at the table in the seat across from our team captain. This was my first-time meeting Russ. I knew instantly I wanted to get to know him.

We started going on evening walks almost every day after work. He would bring his dog, we would talk about everything under the sun, and stand in the parking lot freezing for hours even after the sun went down, as the conversation flowed. Then walks turned into dates, and dates turned into weekend adventures, going skiing and taking road trips. Our story is still new, last January we took our first date. We were so excited for the evening that we skied together with our friends all day before the date, then Russ took me to dinner at the Gessner. I thank my lucky stars every day that Vail Rec Soccer brought us together on my 25th birthday. Life has been a dream ever since, and I have so much hope for what could be.

Russ Reichenbach and Keely Gregg
Keely Gregg/Courtesy photo

Meredith Kirkman and Kieran Kelley

Love Can Make it Happen

Any great love story begins with a prequel. Back in the 90s, my mom packed her life up into a Jeep and drove out West after a terrible heartbreak. She was determined to re-write her life and begin a new journey. She knew one friend in Vail and decided to make it her first stop. Upon arrival, they rallied to the bars on Bridge Street. Little did she know, she was going to meet the love of her life her very first night in Vail. My smart city slicker mother began dating a Canadian mountain man.

Their bike rides, mountain picnics, camping trips all ended with a proposal on Vail Mountain. They skied down and bought a ring at Betteridge. It snowed the morning of their wedding in July on Notch Mountain. Helmut Fricker was the official band for their wedding… a true Vail love story.

Now I am here… grateful everyday my parents are still in love and lead by example. Fast forward thirty years… My friend called me one night to celebrate his birthday out in town. And yep you guessed it.. It happened. I locked eyes with the cutest guy, with curly hair and a perfect smile. I don’t know if it was my comfortable confidence at the Vail bars or the liquid courage in me, but by bar three, I admitted I had the biggest crush on him and was in fact, very single. We danced the night away and the spark was officially lit.

The great artist Rufus du Sol sings, “Love can change your life; love can make it happen.” This anthem buzzed through our ears one month into dating at Powabunga, which was our first concert here in Vail. That night he asked me to be his girlfriend.

These lyrics still give me goosebumps, because love does make it happen. I mean I wouldn’t be here without it. I guess there is something to say about meeting your love in the heart of Vail.

Meredith Kirkman and Kieran Kelley
Meredith Kirkman/Courtesy photo

Robert Brinkley and Carol Sherwin

After losing my first wife to cancer, I was devastated. After several lonely months I looked for a way to meet interesting women not associated with work or my previous social life. An ad from a local video dating service appeared to offer the perfect solution: couples would only be put in touch if the desire to meet was mutual! No awkwardness of approaching people without knowing whether they were interested in interacting with you.

After joining Relationships, I got a call that a girl who had just moved from Missouri had seen my tape at their New Hampshire office and was interested in meeting me. Paul, who had conducted my video interview, recommended I review her video and information sheet and respond ASAP, as he thought her special. On my way to Nantucket, I dropped in and, after reviewing her materials, found her to be attractive, witty, intelligent, and self-assured. 

When I called from the Nantucket airport, I was charmed by her angelic voice, and we arranged to meet at a mill turned into a restaurant in Newton Upper Falls. As I had a racquetball match at 6 a.m., I said we should meet at the bar to be the first in the restaurant when it opened.

I was alone at the bar when an angelic vision dressed in white entered and headed towards me. The video had not done her justice! She was divorced with two boys in their upper teens but looked like a recent college graduate! She was spunky and very independent. I was also struck by some undefined quality about her that resonated very strongly deep within me. Something felt so very right.

The restaurant staff had to ask us to leave so they could clean up and close. I called Relationships when I got home to make me inactive as I later learned Carol had also done. It was true love at first sight for both of us.

Robert Brinkley and Carol Sherwin
Robert Brinkley/Courtesy photo

Erica Cohen and Dakota King

Once the world began reopening post lockdown, I knew I had to abandon office life and return to the mountains. I received an unexpected text from an old friend saying an opportunity had opened at the Antlers. Something felt right about jumping into this and suddenly it was December 2021 and I was moving into the Antlers- one floor below the mysterious (and cute) new neighbor, Dakota. 

We barely spoke during my first few months. He seemed reserved, only smiling when talking about his love of music or his dog, Brown. I would hear him through our shared walls and was curious when our worlds beyond work might converge. 

One day, he was preaching about how incredible the “Batman” movie was and how he would go with anyone to see it again. I took him up on his offer and off we went to the Riverwalk Theater. We had a blast, which led to many hangouts over the next few months. We transcended from being coworkers and neighbors to close friends. 

Several nights a week we got together and sat as far apart from each other as possible. Our hands only touched when Brown was sitting in the middle of the couch, lazily commanding pats from both of us. After leaving these couch sessions I always called my best friend Janet, bemoaning how neither Dakota nor I ever made a move.

Then one night Dakota raved about putting salt on watermelon. Wooed by the romantic notion of sharing the exotic salted watermelon dish, I happily took a bite. To my taste buds’ horror, an awful flavor immediately consumed my mouth. Unable to hide my displeasure, I ran out of his apartment looking for anything to correct the taste. Next thing I knew he was barely speaking to me and, unsurprisingly, shunning my company.

After a week of being avoided, I decided enough was enough and asked him out for a drink. He agreed and we ended up revealing our feelings for each other by the end of the night. He had been waiting all this time for me to confess my feelings first! The next day we had our first camping trip by Muddy Pass.

It has now been eight months of navigating working, living, and dating at the Antlers. We continue to learn and grow together and laugh that ultimately it was salted watermelon that broke the platonic barrier.

Erica Cohen and Dakota King
Erica Cohen/Courtesy photo

David & Janet Bower

 I married my ski bum sweetheart. Some people marry their high school sweetheart. I had a few of those, but never considered spending eternity with any of them. Janet was different. Her beaming smile and Love for Life and people was electrifying. We met in Vail in the late 1980s. For several years we were great friends – skiing Vail, dancing at the Altitude Club and partying like proper ski bums. We both drifted in and out of temporary relationships for those early years.

I was quietly waiting for an opportunity to step up our relationship. January 1990 we had our first date. A movie at Vail Cascade Theatre, dinner at Alfredo’s in the Westin Hotel (now Grand Hyatt). Lots of ski dates followed and I quickly fell in love with Janet.

Fast forward to May 1990. I knew she was the one so I met with my friend Ron “The Gold Guy” Denning to design a custom engagement ring. He was the only person that knew of my intentions, and the ring was our secret until its later reveal.

There was only one plan, no contingency, no plan B. Get her to the top of Mount of the Holy Cross, drop a knee and pop the question. Camp that night at Lake Patricia. Early that summer we planned the Holy Cross hike and overnight camp at the lake. Coordinating days off and a desirable weather window proved to be very difficult all summer.

On the eve of September 21, 1990 packs were readied for the 2 day trip.We woke before dawn and drove to the trailhead. After cresting Half Moon Pass we ventured off-piste around the back of Notch Mt and descending into Cross Creek valley via the “Keyhole” Route. This turned out to be quite challenging with heavy packs, I do not recommend it. We bushwhacked over Cross Creek and found our way to the lake where we shed our packs and pitched the tent.

After a brief rest and ingestion of nourishment we packed for the summit and headed straight up the north flank of the Mt and rejoined the main trail around 13,000 feet. Storm clouds had been brooding over head most of the day and eventually descended on us for the final summit push. Snow, wind and fog slowed our progress. Janet was becoming visibly frustrated. With some reassuring words and selective hearing on my behalf we cautiously trudged over slippery boulders to the top of Holy Cross! Shortly after arriving at the summit, the snow stopped, the storm clouds parted and the sun beamed down upon us. It was perfect. With no time to waste I dug the ring out of my pack, knelt before Janet and asked her to marry me. She was absolutely shocked and speechless for a moment, but soon she smiled, hugged me and consented to spend the rest of her life with me.

We made our way back to camp safely and married a year later in the Vail Chapel during the first snowfall of the year. Our two children Christian and Sophie were born in Vail and raised in the same house we have lived in for over 30 years. They currently reside in Montana. Life is Good! I Love You Janet. Happy Valentine’s Day!

David and Janet Bower
David Bower/Courtesy photo

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