Higgins: Safe driving is a gift for everyone

Hillary Higgins
Mountain Youth

Oh this season of revelry and festivities, it can be a magical time spent with friends and family, party after party and adventure after adventure. Even the most diligent of us, though, sometimes celebrates a little too much. During this season of coziness and joy, Mountain Youth urges you to plan ahead to get home safely. Coincidentally, December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

Mountain Youth wants to share a few options to help get you home safely —not only in December but throughout the year.

Over the past year, Mountain Youth has worked with the community to boost safe and sober options throughout the Vail Valley. The ultimate goal is to educate, inform, and decrease impaired and distracted driving among youth and adults throughout Eagle County. Through these efforts and partnerships, Mountain Youth stresses the importance of safe driving by providing sober driving options and events, helping all to choose sobriety while behind the wheel and ultimately changing the overall community behavior when it comes to driving sober and safely. It’s a lofty goal but one that we are tackling through community support, collaboration and education.

Avon Tipsy Taxi is one great program, an amazing service Mountain Youth is helping to promote. The Avon Police Department teamed up with local businesses to create a taxi voucher program. A bartender or server who notices an inebriated patron can provide the taxi driver with a $20 voucher to make sure the patron arrives home safely in Avon, Edwards, or EagleVail.

Another program we are excited about is the Association of Responsible Retailers. Mountain Youth has partnered with Craig Bettis and Greg Schwartz of the Vail Police Department, Jim Glendenning, owner of The George, and Mike Dunlap, owner of Garfinkel’s, to create an Association of Responsible Retailers specific to our mountain community and the town of Vail.

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The Association of Responsible Retailers plans to initiate a Vail Tipsy Taxi in the future, reduce and prevent alcohol sales to minors by using Intellicheck fake ID Scanners, and increase compliance and bar checks to ensure the safety of establishments, patrons and community members.

“We are actively working to engage all the Vail bars, hotels and restaurants to become members. Through collaboration we hope to make a real impact,” Higgins adds. 

Finally, another arm of Mountain Youth’s Safe Driving program is creating a space where those who choose sobriety find community. We know where we live is focused on being healthy, pursuing outdoor activities and celebrating life in the mountains. A lot of times partying just as hard goes hand in hand. Staying sober can feel lonely but we’re intent on creating an opportunity for everyone to celebrate where we live.

NamaStay Sober is a program designed to support people in recovery, or those who love them, and to share in the successes and challenges along the way. Several studios in Eagle County, including Revolution Power Yoga, Yoga Off Broadway, Mountain Recreation, Endorphin Eagle, the Aria Athletic Club and Vail Athletic Club, offer free or subsidized memberships to those in recovery. We all know it’s so much easier to stay healthy when there is an option to do so.

We have such a strong community of support and it’s exciting to see those who need a place to practice find it.

Participants need to be actively working on their recovery and commit to attending the gym or studio three times a week and attend the monthly community NamaStay Flowing events (held the first Friday of each month). These monthly flowing events are an amazing place to gather, share, celebrate and get your flow on.

Celebrate your way this season, whether it’s on the mat in a hot yoga class, at a fancy party or cruising through deep powder. We ask you to plan ahead and make it home safely!

To learn more about any of our programs, please visit; to apply for a NamaStay Sober membership, email Tara van Dernoot who coordinates the program with Mountain Youth at

Hillary Higgins is Mountain Youth’s safe driving coordinator.

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