Vail Resorts officials still undecided on bringing back Vail Mountain cleanup
VAIL — The jury is still out on whether or not Vail Mountain will hold a mountain cleanup event this year.
After years of gathering hundreds of volunteers for a day of spring cleaning on the slopes, last year the event didn’t take place. Vail Daily readers have had questions about the future of the Vail Mountain cleanup.
“There wasn’t one last year, why not?” asked Christina Martini on the Vail Daily Facebook page.
Vail Mountain spokesperson Sally Gunter said last year an opportunity arose to partner with the Vail Valley Foundation for the GoPro Mountain Games cleanup.
“Because of that event, and the numerous employee mountain cleanup days we do prior to the summer opening, there was not a need for a second public cleanup,” Gunter said in an email.
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Vail Valley Foundation spokesperson Tom Boyd said Wednesday that Vail Mountain is not an official partner on this year’s GoPro Mountain Games cleanup. However, said Gunter, “nothing has been finalized for this year,” so because a Vail Mountain cleanup has not been scheduled, “That does not mean we are not doing one.”
USUALLY IN EARLY JUNE
While it’s usually held in early June, some years the cleanups are later than other years. In 2011, after a record-breaking snowfall year, the cleanup was held on June 29, well after the mountain had opened for summer operations. That year’s cleanup attracted about 200 Vail Resorts employees and nearly 300 public volunteers.
Among them was the Heistand family of North Carolina. Reflecting back on past cleanups he has participated in, Eric Heistand on Wednesday said the event was always a highlight of the summer for his family.
“It was always super fun to get our whole family out on the mountain, walk down it and see the slopes from a different perspective,” he said. “We would do it with our family, then we would join up with two other families.”
Vail would also give participants a free single-day lift ticket to use the following ski season.
“They would incentivize it,” Heistand said. “They would have a raffle and barbecue up on top of the mountain. … I definitely used my lift tickets.”
‘HUGE SCAVENGER HUNT’
As a father trying to raise his three children to be as environmentally conscious as possible, Heistand said the cleanup was a fun way to teach his kids about what happens when people litter.
“Imagine your kids being told there’s a huge scavenger hunt up on the mountain,” he said. “They get an opportunity to go find treasure up there and help clean up in the process. … My kids were always waiting to do it.”
Himself a skier, mountain biker and trail runner, Heistand said his love of the area makes him hopeful the event will continue.
“I love Vail Mountain any season of the year, that’s why it’s really fun to go up there after the snow has melted to see what everything looks like in coming back to life,” he said.
Keep reading the Vail Daily for more information on the Vail Mountain cleanup. For more on upcoming cleanup events around Eagle County, see Page B1.