VAIL — The sea of pink on Simba Run on Saturday was quite possibly the pinkest party on all of Vail Mountain, which would place it high in the running for pinkest ski party worldwide.
Raising more than $386,000 and attracting 1,625 participants, this year’s Pink Vail ski day to conquer cancer was the most successful to date, starting with the first chair up the mountain and culminating with an all-pink ski down on Simba Run to close out the day.
“We had 1,300 participants last year, so this is definitely an increase, especially since we moved from a peak weekend in March to April this year,” said Lindsay Hogan with Vail Valley Medical Center.
Among those participating in Pink Vail for the first time were locals Maureen Cuomo, Tricia Lucero-Blaikie, Patty Bidez, Heidi Young, Monica White, Kathryn Birch, Brenda Hazard and Heather Waring, who just found out that one of their friends’ friends has cancer. Their team, The Boozin’ Babes Book Club, wore Carmen Miranda-themed pink outfits with fruit hats and necklaces made of miniature bottles of hard liquor.
“Right now we’re reading ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ by John Green, and we’re drinking tequila, vodka and pink beer,” said Bidez. “And not one person in our group fell today.”
Amy Flynn came in from Nebraska just for the event.
“It’s my favorite day of the year,” said Flynn’s friend and teammate, Vail Valley local Jill Runty.
OUTFITS ARE IMPORTANT
Roberto Morales has been living in Vail 10 years and has participated in Pink Vail every year on behalf of his father, Ibsen Morales. On Saturday, he donned a pink woman’s one piece from the ’90s.
“This is the first year I got a really good outfit,” he said. “A co-worker lent it to me.”
The top fundraising team on the day, “Cancer, I am UN-A.Vail.Able” stuck to what they called a “cougar bra” theme — pink tiger and leopard print braziers worn outside of their outfits. On their backs were pink angel wings.
“We had a couple of wardrobe malfunctions,” said team member John Martin. “Wings falling off, bras falling down.”
All told, Cancer, I am UN-A.Vail.Able raised more than $25,000, beating out 2nd-place fundraising team “Pinkilicious.”
“This was the most we’ve raised so far,” said Pinkilicious team member and former Bachelorette star Trista Sutter. “But we’re so happy we got beat! What a great event it was this year.”
Cancer, I am UN-A.Vail.Able’s Amy Hunter received top honors for most money raised by a single participant at $10,900. Hunter was one of three survivors on the team.
“Last year, our team raised $18,000,” said Linda Martin with team I am UN-A.Vail.Able. “We always ski for someone, last year it was Kate Tennant, this year it’s Amy Hunter. But next year’s it’s going to be nobody because we don’t want anyone else to get cancer.”
As of Saturday, Pink Vail’s total dollars raised in the three years the event has existed was $926,535.
“And we usually raise a little more after the event, too,” Hogan said.