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Much more uplifting day after Election Day in the Vail Valley this year than last, and even better there’s fresh snow on the ground in Eagle-Vail — right at the base of Beaver Creek — which opens for the 2017-18 ski season two weeks from today and features World Cup ski racing just a couple of short weeks after that on Dec. 1-3.
I’m also celebrating the passage of Eagle County’s Ballot Issue 1A to tax recreational marijuana and fund badly needed mental health services in the Vail Valley, as well as the passage of the Vail Recreation District’s Issue A to increase the mill levy and fund operational and facility costs for all the incredible VRD programs.
Both votes send a strong signal that the Vail area and surrounding Eagle County strongly support our youth by making sure both their physical and mental well-being is well-funded. Speaking of, I have an ask on a couple of fronts regarding Vail Valley youth.
First, if you’re not doing anything special for dinner tonight, please stop by the Main Street Grill in Edwards for the Vail Valley Running Club fundraiser to help pay for Battle Mountain Huskies varsity cross-country runners who will be headed down to Casa Grande, Arizona, for the Nike Cross Regionals on Nov. 18.
These incredible runners will be your actual waiters and waitresses, and proceeds will help fund the annual trip, where some of girls (top state 4A runner Elizabeth Constien leaps to mind) have a very real shot at qualifying for the Nike national championships in Oregon.
You can meet the amazing, back-to-back state champion Battle Mountain cross-country girls (and buy the very cool “Back to Back” t-shirts), as well as some pretty stellar boys who turned in strong results throughout the season as well. If you can’t make it but still want to give, please click here.
The event starts at 5 p.m. at the fantastic local’s favorite Main Street Grill (thanks again for hosting us!) and lasts until 9:30 p.m., including a silent auction with some great merchandise and services (get one of these Huskies to babysit or shovel snow … their endurance is legendary). Go to the team’s Facebook page for more details, and please come out and support this great cause. These kids embody all that is good about the athletic environment of the Vail Valley, and they’re a credit to their school, principal and coach, Rob Parish.
On another valley youth front, my boys Nick and Max — both Battle Mountain cross-country runners this season and now working hard on the ski team — joined the Eagle River Presbyterian Church on a mission trip to Haiti this past July, working on the construction of a recreation center at an orphanage in Fond Blanc (think bucket brigade in searing tropical heat to pour a concrete floor).
And while that concrete job held up and provided those kids a safe space during Hurricane Irma, the very sketchy road into the orphanage in Fond Blanc didn’t hold up so well, and the overarching missionary group that set up the trip is now trying to raise part of the $90,000 to repair the road. Until then, there’s no other way in except by foot, motorbike or donkey. Imagine getting all of your supplies that way.
Fellow Huskies cross-country runner Cameron Jarnot, who was also on the trip, said recently at a church event to debrief the congregation on the Haiti trip that she was happy thinking of the orphans with their new structurally sound and dry roof to gather under during Irma. There is no more direct way of giving and making a difference in the world than that, and I’ve been struggling with how best to give to hurricane victims.
Just as I’m more inclined to give to Puerto Rico, which has not had the level of federal support seen in Florida and Texas, I’m also more inclined to give directly to folks in Haiti — one of the hardest hit nations in recent years, ravaged by both hurricanes and earthquakes. I hope you feel the same way.
Click here for more information on the road to Fond Blanc and ways to share and give, and then hopefully I’ll see you tonight at the Main Street Grill. Thanks again, Vail Valley, for your incredible generosity.