Voluptuous tutus, sequined pirate hats, flowing superhero capes—all pink—proliferated on Vail’s slopes. In costumes and with flare, skiers joined an annual charity event called Pink Vail, which is held each spring.
In its fourth year, the event raised more than $705,000 for the Vail Valley’s Shaw Regional Cancer Center’s survivorship program, which provides free services—including emotional support, exercise training, and massages—to cancer patients.
Some attendees skied with bibs dedicated to friends or family diagnosed with cancer; others were survivors themselves. Take Amy Hunter, a local. In the midst of her third year of treatment, she didn’t ski this year. But she’s looking forward to skiing next year.
“It’s amazing, the support that we get here, and to keep it in the Vail Valley is super important,” says Hunter, who led last year’s top fundraising team to support the cancer center that provides comprehensive care to high country patients. “I love being able to go back to my bed after chemo. It would’ve been really hard if I had to travel to Denver…a two and a half hour trip each way.”
More than 2,400 registrants contributed to the cause, and more came just for the costume contest, dance off, and views at a mid-mountain lodge that was followed by a mass pink-clad ski down to the base.
In an era of GoFundMe and Kickstarter, one might feel barraged by requests for donations, to run for a specific organ, or to dump an ice bucket over one’s head.
But when an event like Pink Vail speaks to skier and mountain-town hearts, it hits home. Especially when costumes are involved.
Charity ski events run the gamut from ski-a-thons to races. Here are a few we think are worth checking out:
The Mothership Classic
Squaw Valley, California
Snag per-lap sponsorships then lap the KT-22 chairlift as many times as possible to support the local High Fives Foundation.
Skiing With Heroes
London, England // Switzerland
If you’re a capable, enthusiastic skier, volunteer to be a Ski Buddy for a wounded veteran with Skiing With Heroes, a London-based charity that mentors and supports former soldiers from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Forks & Skis Charity Ski Event
Bristol Mountain, New York
Combat hunger by raising funds for Foodlink, a regional food bank.
Charity Ski Weeks
Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Special Charity Ski Week ticket sales support Bend and Central Oregon non-profit organizations—and have raised nearly $475,000 since 2009.
Photos: Townsend Bessent.