Vail Daily letter: Thanks for support |

Vail Daily letter: Thanks for support

Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center would like to send a giant thank you to our sponsor and benefactors who supported the Wine and Snow Science dinner on March 13. First off, for those of you who are skeptical about why the CAIC website often has a banner promoting fundraising events, here are a few stats for you. The mountainous area of Colorado is the equivalent of six Switzerlands. The San Juan zones are the size of one Switzerland. The CAIC employees eight full-time forecasters whose primary job is to keep the highways open and safe from avalanches. These forecasters are kept busy keeping the Million Dollar Highway, Loveland Pass, Vail Pass, Berthoud Pass, Monarch Pass, Wolf Creek Pass and other stretches of dangerous highways open. For the 10 backcountry zones, the CAIC employees six full-time seasonal employees, one of whom is responsible for the entire North and South San Juan zone(s) (remember, these zones equal Switzerland forecasting area). On any given day, one backcountry forecaster will forecast for most of the 10 backcountry zones. Conversely, Switzerland’s forecasting and research center employees more than 140 employees. The state, in a relationship with CDOT, pays the highway forecaster wages. However, the state only covers 50 percent of the backcountry forecasters’ pay. The rest comes from private funding.

On to the much appreciated thank yous. Tom Gart and Johannes Faessler started the ball rolling for the benefit by approaching us with their own fundraising idea. These two champs wanted to raise money for the CAIC during their bid to finish this year’s Elk Mountain Traverse. After a little party planning, this idea was turned into a benefit dinner which the Faesslers fully sponsored. Thanks to all of you who attended the dinner, the Shpall family/Apple Jacks for their wine donation, to those who sent donations, Four Seasons Landscaping and to Tom Gart for his support.

Good luck to Tom, Johannes and all the other locals who will be racing the Elk Mountain Traverse on March 28.

Kelli Rohrig

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