| VailDaily.com

For ACL patients, VSON’s innovative “BEAR” technique can help promote natural healing and reduce recovery times

Sponsored by Vail-Summit Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery

While ACL surgeries are something of a rite of passage for mountain town skiers and cyclists, they’re still an invasive procedure that leaves folks sidelined for a period that’s often uncomfortably long for an active, outdoorsy population.

At Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery, a new technique has been introduced that promises to shorten recovery time and leave patients with better post-surgical biomechanics.

Recently, Dr. Richard Cunningham, an orthopaedic knee and shoulder specialist at VSON, performed the first Bridge-Enhanced ACL Restoration, also known as the BEAR technique, in the Vail Valley. This new procedure helps save the patient’s ACL tissue and uses a biologic collagen implant that acts as a virtual scaffold to promote the body’s healing process. The technique may also make it possible to repair ACL damage that was previously difficult to treat with more standard approaches.

Dr. Richard Cunningham performed the first Bridge-Enhanced ACL Restoration, also
known as the BEAR technique, in the Vail Valley. This new procedure helps save the
patient’s ACL tissue and uses a biologic collagen implant that acts as a virtual scaffold
to promote the body’s healing process. (Photo provided by VSON)

“In our communities, we see so many ACL injuries during ski season, and we’ve long been successful in repairing the torn ACL with tendon grafts,” Cunningham says. 

 The traditional procedure, he explains, can be problematic as they require tissue to be taken from a different tendon in the body. Additionally, the knee joint is bathed in fluid, making it difficult for blood to flow into the donated ACL tissue. This is needed for the healing process. With a poor blood supply and limited material to help heal and rebuild the natural ACL, the recovery time can often stretch as long as eight to nine months. The new BEAR technique was pioneered by pediatric surgeon Dr. Martha Murray, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School and a sports medicine surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, and promises recovery times as short as five months for some patients.

Cunningham says the FDA-approved technique uses a bovine collagen implant that acts as a tether to augment the traditional ACL procedure, with great potential success for proximal tears – ACL injuries that are “high up” on the tendon – by creating a scaffolding for cells to glom onto, and promote more natural growth.

“This procedure is all about saving your own anatomy,” he says. “In many ways, that’s better, since you retain your own nerve and blood supply, and it leads to more natural healing. In our active community, that’s quite exciting.”

“This procedure is all about saving your
own anatomy,” Dr. Cunningham says. “In
many ways, that’s better, since you retain
your own nerve and blood supply, and
it leads to more natural healing. In our
active community, that’s quite exciting.”
(Photo provided by VSON)

Cunningham first recommended the BEAR technique to an active patient who tore her ACL on the slopes and whose MRI results showed a proximal tear. By integrating the new procedure into the patient’s ACL Restoration, Cunningham was able to use the BEAR implant in the surgical gap to help promote healing.  

“The data that’s out there on this procedure shows fairly impressive results,” he says. “So far, it’s largely been used so far in kids, whose bodies are already prone to faster recoveries, and that’s been helpful for them. It’s hard to hold back a 10-year-old kid from sports and activities for long. The BEAR technique has been a way to fix their injury earlier and get them back to an active life.”

The next step, Cunningham says, is introducing the procedure to the adult population, who can also reap the same benefits.   

“For patients with the right kinds of tears, it can mean half the recovery time, maybe five months. There’s also not as much atrophy, meaning patients don’t lose as much muscle during recovery. And it helps increase the overall chances of success in a full recovery.”

Cunningham’s team is nationally renowned for its traditional ACL surgical work. The new BEAR procedure may be more frequently used to help augment those procedures, especially when it shows promise of speeding up recovery times.

“We still treat proximal tears traditionally. Now, if it’s right for the patient, we’ll be able to use the BEAR implant between the ligament and the bone to assist with healing. We hope to eventually expand to other indications and be able to tackle tears or ruptures in other parts of the ACL.” 

Cunningham notes that the BEAR technique can be more costly, but the improved outcomes and considerably shorter recovery time will appeal to many patients. Incorporating this innovative surgical technique into Cunningham’s practice fits into VSON’s mission of advancing the care of patients with orthopaedic injuries and working alongside their patients to develop a treatment plan that gets them back to the activities they love.

The new VSON Buena Vista clinic offers convenient orthopaedic services  for patients in Chaffee County

We primarily think of Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery as a lifeline for patients in the I-70 resort corridor, but the pioneering healthcare organization has always worked to provide outreach to mountain communities far from Metro Denver.

This month, VSON established a more permanent arrangement in Buena Vista to offer patients in Chaffee County the orthopaedic services enjoyed in more northern locations, including Summit, Grand and Eagle counties. 

As VSON total joint surgeon Dr. Nathan Cafferky explains, he and his predecessors have had a long history of providing in-person outreach in the Buena Vista area. He says the new clinic space will mean improved diagnostic opportunities for local patients and their outdoor-oriented lifestyle, without the challenges of a long winter drive to access clinics in Edwards, Vail or Summit County.

“Our Buena Vista clinic is part of our commitment to providing world-class
orthopaedic care to residents in that area,” Cafferky says. (Photo provided by VSON)

“Living in the mountains, we know that travel is difficult at times, and access to healthcare can be limited in our communities. Our Buena Vista clinic is part of our commitment to providing world-class orthopaedic care to residents in that area,” Cafferky says. 

“I’ve been going down there once a month for the past five years, and I know patients are very excited for a permanent VSON presence.”

The new VSON satellite clinic, located at 139 Crossman Avenue in Buena Vista, will allow a more frequent schedule of visits by Cafferky, as well as his counterparts Dr. Max Seiter – a specialist in fracture care and orthopaedic trauma – and Dr. Henry Yu, who has expertise in total joint replacement and joint revision for younger patients.

This expanded facility will mean more appointments and chances for patients to
receive high-quality care for sports injuries or other orthopaedic issues. (Photo
provided by VSON)

Cafferky says the expanded facility will mean more appointments and chances for patients to conveniently experience his and his team’s expertise for diagnosing and treating seasonal sports injuries and other orthopaedic issues.

“We now have several exam rooms to talk to patients, provide clinic-based procedures and eventually offer diagnostics with a portable x-ray machine,” he says. “That will allow a lot of pre-and post-operative care, right in their hometown.” 

The Buena Vista space will be shared with Body Mechanics, a well-established and well-known independent physical therapy practice run by Tammy White.

Cafferky says VSON’s long-standing connection in Buena Vista helped incentivize ongoing efforts for the healthcare organization to expand its presence throughout the Colorado mountain region. Presently, that includes partnerships with service providers in northern communities including Granby, Winter Park and Kremmling, as well as further afield through the VSON Alpine Gunnison, Crested Butte, and Telluride clinics. 

“We now have several exam rooms to talk to patients, provide clinic-based procedures and eventually offer diagnostics with a portable x-ray machine,” he says. “That will allow a lot of pre-and post-operative care, right in their hometown.” (Photo
provided by VSON)

“Dr. Richard Cunningham spent the first 10 years of his local career coming down here for consultations,” he says. “And Dr. Peter Janes had a long history of visiting with Buena Vista and Salida-area patients, so much so that it was just a part of our extended practice for a long time.”

Cafferky adds, “Their work was our first expansion into other communities outside Eagle and Summit Counties. We had such tremendous success that it allowed us to grow and nurture new relationships, ensuring we can build on VSON’s heritage and culture of giving back to our communities.”

Amanda Leyrer, Director of Clinical Operations, says the new Buena Vista clinic officially welcomed its first patients on January 17 and that VSON is now scheduling evaluations and consultations on a regular basis. 

“We’re excited to be able to kick off this expanded service. All people need to do is call our main office line at (970) 668-3633, and we will get them scheduled for their Buena Vista appointment,” Leyrer says. 

“Our end goal is to establish a full-time provider, and for now, the outreach-style effort to visit means more opportunities for Chaffee County patients,” she says.  

Have you decided to become more active in 2023? Let us help!

After every new year, all kinds of sports centers have a peak in the number of clients. This is because many people have made their New Year’s resolutions to become more active. These numbers often drop fast because many people need help to keep up with the resolution.

However, nowadays, there are so many different ways to have fun at home that many people start skipping their exercises fast. Even the internet already has plenty of options like games and other media. Playing online casino real money games can be a lot of fun, but sometimes you need to take a break. This article will give you some tips to become more active in 2023, so you can make this resolution last.

Going to a gym has become a very popular sport

Going to a gym has become incredibly popular throughout the years. This can be seen in the number of people at gyms and how many new gyms are opened each year. If you are interested in starting to exercise at a gym, you certainly have a lot of options.  

The trick for making your gym routine last is to make it most fitting for you. Consider what you want to do, how often you can go to the gym, and whether you prefer classes or individual workouts. This way, you can create a perfect plan for your needs.

You don’t have to sweat a lot to be active

If you just want to become more active but haven’t exercised in a long time, it’s best to start with a more relaxed option. This means you don’t have to start off with the hardest sport in the world. Sports like walking, swimming, and yoga are great ways to be more active and can be started very easily.

Focus on what you find fun to do

The biggest mistake most people make when looking for a new sport is blindly following others. This can be seen in how many people go to the gym, even though they might not like it.

The best way to become more active in a sustainable way is by trying different sports and finding one that you actually enjoy doing. This way, you don’t have to force yourself to keep on doing this sport, and joining a class will actually be much more enjoyable.

Essential Tips for Identifying Legitimate Online Casinos

When gambling online, the very first thing you must do is to ensure you play at the best online casinos that are reputable, safe, and offer an excellent gambling experience. Here are some things to watch out for so you don’t put your money and data in danger when gambling online.

Top 5 Warning Signs of an Unreliable Online Casino

1. Poor customer service: Poor customer service is a huge red flag at an online casino. You should be able to contact the casino’s support service easily, and they should be able to respond to your inquiries quickly.

2. Uncertain Terms and Conditions: Before signing up for any online casino, carefully read their terms and conditions. Before proceeding, contact the customer service staff for clarification on any areas that are unclear or perplexing.

3. No licensing information: All respectable online casinos will clearly display licensing information on their website or app. If you can’t find this information anywhere, it might mean that you shouldn’t trust the casino.

4. Slow payouts: If you win money at an online casino, you should expect to receive your earnings as soon as possible with no delays or excuses from the casino. If payouts are always late or delayed, it could be a sign that the online casino is not reliable.

5. Unusual bonus offers: Online casinos frequently offer bonuses to entice players to join them, but if these offers appear too good to be true, they most likely are. Be wary of strange bonus offers that seem to be too good to be true. They may have hidden rules that make it impossible for you to get your money later. 

Are the game outcomes random and fair based on an independent third-party audit?

All games listed on the platform must be independently audited by a third party to ensure they are completely random and fair. The audit process includes testing the game’s algorithms, verifying the fairness of the results, and ensuring all players have an equal chance of winning. 

The casino must also employ Random Number Generators (RNGs) to generate random numbers for each game outcome, which ensures that no one can predict or manipulate the results.

Are there any customer reviews or testimonials about the online casino?

Another crucial aspect you must examine is customer reviews and testimonials about the online casino. You can go through the reviews on various platforms and read the customer’s experiences. These reviews can help you get an idea of the quality of service being provided by the casino as well as any potential issues that may arise when playing at the casino. 

Some online casinos also feature customer testimonials on their own website, which can provide further insight into what it’s like to play at a particular casino.

To ensure you play at a legitimate online casino, look for signs such as secure payment methods, fair gaming policies, and good customer support. Do your research and ensure the casino is licensed and regulated before you make any deposits.

Simple Tips To Improve Your Online Safety

Online safety is of the utmost importance in today’s digital world. With more and more people relying on technology for communication, work, shopping, entertainment, and education, it’s important to be aware of the dangers associated with being online. Online threats such as cyberbullying, identity theft, phishing scams, malware attacks, and more can cause real harm to individuals if they are not properly protected.

Here are some basic tips to improve your online safety.

Check The Domain Authority

Whether you are searching betting sites for the best odds to win March Madness or you’re looking for a product on an ecommerce site, when leaving your personal data on a website, it is important to check the domain authority of the site. The more reputable the domain authority, the more likely it is that your personal data will be safe and secure. It is also important to look for signs of trustworthiness when leaving your personal data on a website. Look for reviews from other users or industry experts who have used the site before and can vouch for its safety and reliability. Also make sure any payment information you provide is encrypted and stored securely by the website. And, always read through any terms and conditions before submitting your personal data, so you know exactly what you are agreeing to.

Opt For Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide two different types of credentials when logging into your online accounts. This means that even if someone manages to get hold of your username and password, they won’t be able to access your account without the second factor. The most common type of 2FA is SMS-based authentication, which requires you to enter a code sent you via text message or email in order to log in. Other forms include biometric authentication, such as fingerprint scanning or facial recognition. 

By using 2FA, you can significantly reduce the risk of having your accounts compromised by hackers and other malicious actors. It also helps protect against phishing attacks, where attackers try to trick users into entering their login credentials on fake websites.

Look For Signs of Fake Websites

There are several signs that can help you determine whether a website is fake or not. First, check the URL of the website and make sure it looks legitimate. If it contains random numbers or letters, then it’s likely a scam site. Also, look for spelling and grammatical mistakes throughout the website as this could be an indication that it’s not genuine. If there are no contact details listed on the website such as an email address or phone number, then this could be another sign that it’s not real. And, if the website is offering something too good to be true such as free products or services with no strings attached, then this should raise alarm bells and you should avoid engaging with them.

Using stats and history in sports is a road to success

There is a practical reason for older sporting events being recorded and analyzed afterwards. A lot of people like watching older games, especially if their favorite team has done well. Still, there are other reasons for this.

This is because these records and stats are used to plan strategies for new seasons and games.  Therefore these are very important tools for coaches, and they are not even the only ones who use these. Even bettors use tools and stats such as NBA picks and parlays to place their bets. 

Looking back to the most successful season might be helpful

As long as all the activity fits the current rules of the game in question, even much older games and seasons can be helpful. Looking back at the most successful seasons can help to create a strategy for how this level of success can be reached again

Looking back at a past season can be used to pay attention to what has been done right and correctly during the season. Additionally, it can be used to find out the most common mistakes—that way, the actions that didn’t work can be avoided.

Coaches even use tapes from the last games

Using older matches is a common way to create a strategy, but coaches don’t even always need to go that much back in history to find usable recordings. It’s quite common for coaches to use the latest games to show the team what was done well and what wasn’t so optimal. This way, they can learn for the next game.

As we mentioned, both of these methods are pretty common among coaches. Coaches might also use recordings of other teams to ensure optimal preparation of their squad for the next game.

Even bettors use history and stats

Coaches and athletes are not the only ones who use history and stats for practical reasons. Sports fans who also want to bet and wager on different sports need to learn to use them. Even though sports betting is a game of luck, creating a strategy can also affect the outcome.

If you are interested in betting on sports, you should learn how to use stats and tips for betting. Many guides will help you do well, so it will not take much time or effort.

Easier access to advances radiology services provides extra benefits to VSON patients, locals, and visitors

Anyone who’s experienced a sudden orthopaedic injury knows the additional anxiety that comes along with trying to arrange diagnostic tests – which can sometimes require waits, multiple appointments or even out-of-town travel to complete.

Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery has made an extra effort to offer a full range of x-ray and MRI tests as in-house services for their patients, including investing in state-of-the-art equipment that’s designed to create a more comfortable experience. 

VSON’s team of highly-trained technicians also helps assure a  quick turnaround process that allows physicians to have faster access to diagnostic results, which are necessary for them to design a treatment plan that fits the patient’s unique injury.

“All the techs are passionate about their work, providing a positive experience, and
doing all they can to assure better outcomes.” (Photo by VSON)

In Frisco, VSON has expanded its radiology services to provide weekend MRI services to any patients needing the advanced diagnostic scan, especially after a complex ski or snowboarding injury.

Marna Walker, Radiology Supervisor, says the move to provide weekend MRIs is just part of VSON’s dedication to patient-centered care.

“These services are an extra bonus and reduce the burden on orthopaedic patients, especially in urgent care situations,” Walker says. “We also have the ability to take outside orders from other providers, which may help people avoid a trip to Denver and offer better continuity of care for locals.”

Modern, Patient-Friendly Equipment

This last year, VSON invested heavily in a range of new radiology diagnostic equipment at its locations in both Summit and Eagle counties. These high-tech systems are designed to provide more focused results and a more pleasant experience.

“Our new x-ray equipment is a semi-automated system that allows us to stitch together multiple images, which is useful when doing full-length x-rays of legs, for instance,” Walker says. “The automated component allows the images to be more precise, allowing doctors to accurately diagnose the injury.”

VSON recently purchased new Canon MRI equipment that is designed specifically to help offset the noise, cold temperatures and claustrophobic experiences some patients struggle with during MRI procedures.

“This new equipment has a wider opening and shorter bore, which is the tube patient’s lay in, all to help reduce the claustrophobia some people get during procedures,” Walker explains. “This gives us the capability to ensure patient comfort and improve their experience.”

This new equipment has a wider opening
and shorter bore, which helps reduce the
claustrophobia some people get during
procedures. (Photo by VSON)

Special software and noise-cancelling earmuffs help cut out noise during the scan, and patients can also listen to music of their choice – all VSON clinics have full Pandora music access. 

“We’ve had really good patient feedback in the month or so that we’ve been using the new equipment – people say they’ve actually enjoyed the procedure, especially the music,” she says. “It’s faster, quieter and a luxurious experience, with a cushy pad and lots of blankets available.”

Expert Equipment for an Expert Team

Walker works with a team of radiology technicians at both the Summit and Eagle County clinics and is also a trained technician herself. The result is clinics with multiple technicians who are capable of using multiple diagnostic equipment, with less likelihood that imaging tests can’t be performed because specific staff aren’t available.

“Our radiology team are the leading experts in their field,” Walker says. “Additionally, all the techs are passionate about their work, helping our patients, providing a positive experience, and doing all they can to assure better outcomes.”

Walker said the new systems are also beneficial in providing imaging that is instantly available and reviewable, with the opportunity for same-day access to many VSON providers. 

“We take pride in our equipment and how it can provide both efficient and sufficient images for every test,” Walker adds. “It’s all been an amazing success so far, and the protocols we’ve built are entirely set up for providing our community with the best possible care when they need it.”

On-campus physical therapy for VSON patients provides a streamlines continuum of care

Anyone who’s previously needed physical therapy knows that great treatment always involves a personal touch and a level of direct continuity of care. 

That said, many of us have also been frustrated as a subsequent PT visit requires a re-evaluation or a whole new strategy, as different therapists try to take their own approach to an existing diagnosis – often cutting into the time allotted for each visit’s therapeutic care.

At Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery’s Edwards location, a recently opened on-site physical therapy facility is designed to offer patients seamless orthopaedic and sports rehabilitation, helping them return to the activities they love most. VSON Physical Therapy employs a dedicated Doctor of Physical Therapy full-time, providing exercises and a wide range of orthopaedic and sports medicine services at a single location. 

VSON Edwards location has a new physical therapy facility designed to offer patients seamless orthopaedic and
sports rehabilitation, helping them return to the activities they love most. (Photos from VSON)

Sean Juarez, a Colorado native and a four-year PT in the Vail Valley, says his patients can be assured of treatments that result from careful consultations with VSON’s team of doctors, just steps away. 

“While we provide services that are similar to a lot of other PT practices, it’s my direct communication with our doctors that makes things different,” Juarez says. “That means I have a unique ability to reach out to the patient’s doctor and really understand what they want to be accomplished.”

Juarez says he’s often able to walk down the hallway and talk to VSON’s physicians, sometimes even as his patients are receiving consultations, to get a clear idea of the treatments patients need to achieve their outcome goals when he begins his PT work.

“There are no assistants, no techs, just me offering everything from dry needling to home exercise programs,” Juarez says. “. Patients say it’s nice to have that one-on-one relationship and not be passed around from therapist to therapist. Ultimately, my patients get better faster since there’s no loss in the continuity of care.”     

Juarez grew up in Lakewood and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Exercise Science, with a concentration on Sports Medicine, at Colorado State University, and later completed a Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of Colorado in Denver. His clinical rotations included work at Delta Community Memorial Hospital on the Western Slope and at Vail Sports Medicine, working alongside former owner David Honda and longtime PT Merlon Pusey.  

Juarez has spent the seven subsequent years specializing in outpatient orthopaedic treatment, working initially in Arizona and in Castle Pines and then relocating to the Vail Valley in 2018. He spent four years at Eagle’s Axis Sports Medicine before joining VSON. 

“I enjoy treating a variety of different ailments, but I have a passion for treating sacroiliac and low back pain after suffering from low back pain myself,” he says. “I feel the best results are obtained from a heavy manual approach followed by specific exercises in order to reinforce those newly manually-adjusted adaptations.”

“All the patients I see receive a
customized treatment plan I develop in
partnership with their physicians, which
takes their lifestyle, fitness goals, and
injury into consideration.” – Sean Juarez

Juarez says he is a huge golfing enthusiast, part of the reason he enjoys working in the Vail Valley, and he’s also received special continuing education to help provide specific therapy for golfers. He holds a Titleist Performance Institute Level 2 Professional (TPI Medical 2) certification and says he’s able to work with patients to make golf a pain-free experience. 

Juarez has also had ongoing education, including the Mulligan Concept of the Lower Quarter and Evaluation and Manual Therapy for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction.  

At VSON’s new, state-of-the-art physical therapy facility, Juarez says patients will appreciate entirely new exercise and therapy equipment, plus that one-of-a-kind link between physician and PT specialist.

“Being in just one facility makes it easier for me to monitor my patient’s progress and adjust treatment as required,” Juarez adds. “I like the quality of care that brings. All the patients I see receive a customized treatment plan I develop in partnership with their physicians, which takes their lifestyle, fitness goals, and injury into consideration

VSON Physical Therapy is open five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is dedicated to getting patients back to the activities they love. To schedule a consultation, contact the VSON PT department at (970) 447-4457.  

Give your kids an advantage at Vail Mountain School

If you are seeking quality, community-minded education for your child, consider Vail Mountain School (VMS). As the only state and nationally accredited independent K-12 school in Eagle and Summit Counties, VMS provides a rigorous, globally inspired college curriculum that prepares students for challenges both in and out of the classroom. Enriched with athletics, independent projects, service learning, outdoor education, and much more, VMS believes that teachable moments are everywhere. Teachers pay close attention to the social, emotional, and academic needs of each individual, and with a teacher-to-student ratio averaging 1:7, they can spend the one-on-one time necessary to build relationships with each student. 

The Taft Conlin Scholarship 

Taft Conlin Scholarship, which has been awarded to one student every other year since the 2014-15 academic year, provides the recipient with full tuition for four years while attending upper school at VMS. It is awarded each year to a student who has achieved high academic merit and contributed positively to their community but who would otherwise not have been able to attend. The scholarship is made possible by a fund established in memory of Taft Conlin, a beloved member of the VMS community who died unexpectedly in 2012. 

VMS is now accepting applications from current 8th grade students for the Fall of 2023. The scholarship recipient will receive four years of Upper School at VMS paid in full. “We are so proud and honored to be able to offer this opportunity. It is a merit-based scholarship that is a launching pad for a strong academic student who also exhibits community mindedness and character,” said Jeremy Thelen, Director of Admission for VMS Middle and Upper School.  

Past recipients of the Taft Conlin Scholarship have come from Eagle Valley Middle School, Eagle County Charter Academy, Homestake Peak School, and other local schools. Those who have participated have gone on to do great things. Kevin Garcia Rios, who graduated from VMS in 2017, is currently attending Harvard Medical School after graduating from Williams College. He credits his academic success to the Taft Conlin Scholarship and his time at VMS.  

Lauren Dirvonas graduated in 2017 and is currently working as an intern for the 20th Judicial District County Court as she completes her final year at Colgate College. She plans to continue her education by attending law school after graduation. “I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity that the Taft Conlin Scholarship gave me to be a part of Vail Mountain School’s tight-knit community. I was surrounded by classmates and teachers who challenged me to put forth my best work ethic and to make an extra effort to pursue academic interests and goals that were personally important to me,” Divornas expressed. “VMS instilled a value of community in me that has become interwoven into my daily life.”

Current student Felix Gruner, who will graduate from VMS in June, was selected for the varsity golf team his freshman year and served as captain of the team in both his junior and senior years. This year, he led his team to victory in the state championship. “The relationships that Felix made with his teammates and coaches, and everyone in the school, have been invaluable. We feel incredibly fortunate to have gotten this scholarship. I can’t express how much this has changed our lives,” said Felix’s mom, Shelly Gruner. “We have never lost sight of the fact that this is a memorial scholarship, and it has been such a privilege to honor Taft and his family’s generosity.”

Tuition Assistance Available

Only one student is awarded the Taft Conlin Scholarship every other year. Still, VMS offers other funding opportunities for students who are a good fit for the VMS Mission: Develop Character, Seek Knowledge, and Build Community. Each year $1.5 million in tuition assistance is given to need-based students, and the school is also developing a brand new diversity-based scholarship to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to attend VMS. “We have many opportunities for students who would be a great two-way fit, where the student and the school both benefit from attending. The cost should not be prohibitive for anyone,” said Jeremy Thelen. “When we look at creating an outstanding school and college preparatory environment, we define “diversities” in the plural, including socio-economic, recognizing that our school is stronger when students from many sorts of varying backgrounds form part of our community. We are proud and excited to provide these opportunities to our community.”

Those interested in learning more about the Taft Conlin Scholarship can contact Jeremy Thelen at 970-477-7164 or by email at jthelen@vms.edu. 

To learn more about Vail Mountain School, visit vms.edu

Action Jackson Auto

Voted #1 “Best of Vail” Auto Mechanics for Exceptional Service with a Smile

When you want the best for your car in Vail and surrounding areas, Action Jackson Auto is the place to go.  Voted best local auto repair for brakes, tires, and full service maintenance, the family-owned auto shop specializes in tires, brakes, batteries, and windshield repair.  

The shop has been around since the ‘80s but was purchased five years ago by a local businessman and entrepreneur, Ross Blankenship, who renamed it Action Jackson Auto after his firstborn daughter, Jackson Rose.  The Action Jackson Auto Family provides exceptional service and focuses on high-end vehicles such as Audi, BMW, Range Rover, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, and Porsche, but can service any car.  The Action Jackson Family has expanded the operation during their first five years of ownership from one to five bays, and increased the number of auto mechanics from three to almost 10, depending on the season.  They take pride in paying living wages, and valuing their team as much as they do their customers.  

Action Jackson is a local family owned business

“We focus on both quality and speed and try to do all of our jobs same-day.  We’re not Turtle Jackson, we’re Action Jackson,” Ross joked.  “We’re not the least expensive option, but we are the highest quality.  The brake pads and rotors, tires, batteries, and any other parts are up two to three levels from what most shops use.  One of our mantras is, ‘Skip the dealership, come to Action Jackson, we have the same quality equipment but you don’t have to drive down the hill.’”  

Located in Eagle-Vail, serving the Vail Valley (Photo provided by Action Jackson)

Action Jackson Auto was just chosen as the exclusive Nokian Tire dealer in Eagle County.  Nokian Tires of Finland make the best snow tires in the world, and Action Jackson is honored to have been chosen as their partner.  Considered “the Nike of snow tires,” Nokian’s patented winter tires have angular studs that stick, not slide, making them the perfect winter tire choice for the area.  Ross cautions that there will be a major shortage of Nokian tires this year due to supply chain issues, but they were lucky enough to have secured a good inventory for the people of Eagle County.

Although quality and speed are what they are known for, the Action Jackson Auto team takes great care to provide the best in customer service, as well.  They offer shuttle services, which they provide for up to 10-15 people a day.  They are the only white glove valet full-service auto repair shop in the valley.  A Mercedes sprinter van will drop you off and pick you up when your car is done, so you can go skiing on the slopes, and by the time you’re done, you can have your car ready to pick up.  Or you can return to work or home and go about your day while your car is being serviced.

Brakes, tires, and batteries. Full service mechanics. (All photos provided by Action Jackson)

If you prefer to wait, Action Jackson Auto also has the best lounge in town.  Named “Lily’s Lounge” after Ross’s daughter, Lily Nulton, it features a custom in-house coffee bar, gaming chairs, an 80” screen TV, and no merchandise, just relaxation.  “We decided consciously not to sell something there,” Ross said. “Let us take care of your stress.  You can go hang out in Lily’s Lounge to enjoy free coffee beverages, watch TV, or read the newspaper.  It’s simple and relaxing.” 

The customers seem to have gotten the memo about the quality and service, since Action Jackson Auto’s repeat customer rate is 95.8%, and they have been growing an average of 17% each year since they bought the business, currently servicing about 4,000 customers a year.   Ross himself is a big part of that; with his easy smile and sense of humor, it’s easy to see how much he enjoys his work.  “I always dreamed of working on cars when I was a little boy, and now I get to do that,” he enthused.

Action Jackson Auto is located at 41000 Hwy 6 in Avon, CO, but can service within a 45-mile range as needed. 

They are open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. 

To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, visit ActionJacksonAuto.com or call (970) 949-5800.