Vail’s women both ambassadors, survivors
With her husband, Byron – or “Bi” – Vi Brown arrived in Vail in the summer of 1964. She immediately became active in community projects. She was president of the Vail Ski Club and an announcer at the ski races.
In the mid-1960s, when the school moved to the second floor of the medical center, Brown started a rummage sale to pay its rent. The sale has been a successful annual event ever since.
Just recently, Brown was named Citizen of the Year by the Rotary Club, an award that came after Brown and her husband received the Vail Valley Foundation’s Hornblower Award for their volunteering efforts.
“Thank you, but there were many others who helped make this possible,” she said in accepting the award.
Her son Mike was an outstanding U.S. Ski Team member. Vi is now also proud of her grandchildren, who have become third-generation volunteers at the rummage sale.
“Vi has always been one of Vail’s finest ambassadors,” Marka Moser wrote in a recent newspaper article. “She maintains a warm smile, mesmerizing eyes, and a cheery “hello’ as she meets and greets good friends and valley newcomers.”
“Vail’s been a generous place to sink our roots,” Brown said.
In 1962, Joan Carnie arrived in Vail, where she met Jack, a “snow-packer” who became a regular ski instructor for Vail Associates for 35 years. They were married in November 1963 and raised two fine boys, about whom Joan said, “They loved growing up in the valley in the early days, when kids were safe.”
After teaching school in Minturn, Joan started the House of Pooh Corner, a successful nursery school for young children. For the past 25 years she has been deeply involved in the children’s ski school in Lionshead.
In the meantime, her husband worked summers in construction, built houses, and acquired rental properties. Today he is self-employed, managing his real estate.
Joan and Jack are a delightful, happily married couple. They love it in Vail and are a permanent part of the community.
Many of the early women were survivors. When Marijke Brofos and her husband moved to Vail in 1964, they, too, had visions of success. They both had good jobs at Vail Blanche, and when the original owners wanted to sell, they bought the shop.
It turned out to be a mistake. After two years, through mismanagement by her husband and then a divorce, they lost it all. Brofos found herself alone with her son, Erik.
She was a survivor, however, and held substantial condominium-management positions until her retirement years. She was a doer and was always ready to help with the many charitable functions. Erik made her proud as a student and ski racer. He headed the Ski Club Vail’s racing program for years.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 116th installment, an excerpt from chapter 13, “The Women of Vail.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.
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