Winter Park donates $69K to nonprofits |

Winter Park donates $69K to nonprofits

Members of Winter Park Ski Patrol pose with their dogs and a check from Winter Park Resort to three local nonprofits for $69,000. The ski patrol dogs in the front row are Charlie, left, and Emma, right. The back row, left to right, is Biskit, Nugget, Charlotte and Gravy.
Winter Park Resort & Danny Minard/Courtesy Photo

Winter Park announced June 3 donations to three nonprofits totaling $69,000. Grand County Search and Rescue, Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment and Friends of Berthoud Pass received the money to fund their work serving adventure-seekers in Grand County.

The money came from Winter Park’s uphilling program, which allows guests to snowshoe, telemark and use snow sliding or traction equipment on trails during the winter months. To use the trails, guests need to read and agree to a policy and purchase a reflective armband for $25. All $69,000 donated came from armband sales for the 2021-2022 winter season.

The size of each nonprofit’s donation depends on their needs and how they will spend the money. Winter Park spokesperson Jen Miller said search and rescue will use the money to fund new vehicles, which cost more than things the other nonprofits will fund.

Search and rescue and rapid avalanche deployment both staff their teams with volunteers. Search and rescue volunteers help people lost or injured in the mountains, and the avalanche deployment volunteers train dogs to help them rescue avalanche victims. While Grand County Search and Rescue receives some funding from the state, Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment relies completely on donations.

The Friends of Berthoud Pass provide avalanche awareness classes for backcountry users, organize clean-up days at the pass and influence policy decisions to help preserve the pass for backcountry users. The organization uses volunteers to staff their safety education program.

Winter Park started requiring reflective armbands and donating the profits last year, but this is the first year nonprofits other than search and rescue received donations. Miller said the resort chose these nonprofits because they seemed like a good fit with uphilling.

“Uphilling is a sport that is oftentimes a precursor to the backcountry,” Miller said. “It’s a way for people to sort of try it out, and supporting our backcountry nonprofits through that seemed like a really good thing.”

Before the armband requirement started in the 2020-2021 winter season, people could uphill at Winter Park at-will. An increase in uphill users, including many who did not know the resort’s uphill policy, created more dangerous situations, Miller said.

“Our policy (states) that people can only uphill on certain runs that were open the day before and that they stick to the side of the run,” Miller said. “Don’t go up the middle of it because there’s people still coming down.”

Miller said the armbands help Winter Park make sure people acknowledge the uphill policy before going out on the runs.

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