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November 21, 2012
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Holiday food while working the holiday in Summit County

For most, Thanksgiving is a day of eating delicious food, hanging out with friends and family and just relaxing in general. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to spend an entire day of feasting and festivities. People are still needed to run things around town, particularly on the mountains.

Liz Wilson has been in Summit County for a little over a year, and currently works several jobs. Like many residents, Wilson will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday working.

"It's definitely hard being away from my family," Wilson said. "At the same time, it's not like I'm just sitting at home. I'm working, and get to work with my friends."

Wilson plans to have a Thanksgiving-type celebration with friends later in the week. This is a common story throughout Summit County. However, for those working at the ski resorts, working on Thanksgiving Day doesn't mean missing out on Thanksgiving food.

Ski resort employees run the gamut from seasoned locals, who live and breathe snow sports, to seasonal rookies who may be away from home for the holidays for the first time. Either way, management wants to ensure that they get a taste of the holidays.

"It's a fun tradition here," said Kristen Pettit-Stewart, spokeswoman for Vail Resorts. "We're appreciative that our folks are here during Thanksgiving and we want to tell them that."

This morning, the management and senior teams of Vail Resorts gather and put together more than 800 Thanksgiving meal boxes for working employees. The meal consists of traditional food - turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, bread roll and pumpkin pie.

"It's mom's Thanksgiving meal, but it comes to you in a little box," said Pettit-Stewart.

Once the meals are prepared, they're dispersed to employees at the resorts, Breckenridge sports and Specialty Sports Ventures. Even the employees that are upon the mountains, or working the overnight shift will receive the meals. Some meals are delivered at 11,000 feet.

"Our employees are so valuable to us, and we want to ensure that all of our employees have a happy Thanksgiving, and we appreciate the work they do day in and day out," said Kate Lessman, a spokeswoman for Vail Resorts.

"It's one of our favorite days of the year, as far as managers and the senior team," Pettit-Stewart said.

The employees at Copper Mountain have their share of fun and festivities as well.

"Every department at Copper Mountain is a family on the holidays, and each one celebrates differently," Austyn Williams, of Copper Mountain Resort public relations, stated in an email.

Cindi Gillespie, for example, manager of transportation operations, helped with preparing at least four turkeys and other traditional Thanksgiving fixings for Copper's maintenance, base operations, parking, vehicle maintenance and transportation departments.

Employees at Arapaho Basin can expect a large lunch spread today whether they're working or not, all provided by the ski area.

"The directors really value the employees and what they do there, especially that they're working on holidays," said marketing and communications manager Adrienne Saia Isaac. "It's nice on holidays to just know that there's some time set aside, and take a minute and hang out with your co-workers."


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The Summit Daily Updated Nov 21, 2012 11:27PM Published Nov 21, 2012 11:26PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.