A group of Summit locals who specialize in mountain fun descended from high elevations to perform a different kind of work along the shores of Lake Dillon on the Frisco peninsula.
Keystone Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort employees in departments ranging from human resources and marketing to hospitality and ski operations left their posts in corporate offices, kitchens, hotel lobbies and on the mountainsides to voluntarily dig in the dirt to improve local trail systems on Saturday.
“It’s really a chance for us to give back to the community. We live in paradise, and we want to make it really nice for everybody who wants to come visit, as well as for ourselves,” said Beverly Morrell, a Breckenridge Ski Resort employee who volunteered her Saturday morning.
The warm sunny weather attracted a large group to pitch in during the annual event. Organizers estimated about more than 200 employees, along with their friends and families, came out to revitalize about 2,400 feet of perimeter trail along the Frisco peninsula and to install 35 directional signs.
“I’ve been doing this for the last four years and I think this is the best turnout yet,” Morrell said.
Erik Shellman, a lift maintenance worker in Breck, said the event was a good way to get some exercise installing trail signs in the great outdoors, and to gain some calories back eating a barbecue lunch at the end of the event.
“I’ve done a few of these and they are all a good time,” he said. “It was fun and a beautiful day to be out here.”
Many of the volunteers said they hope their work will attract more people to the trail system. Others said they were looking forward to returning to the trails for their own recreational use.
“I heard a lot of people talk about how they’d never been out here before and now they’ll come back,” Shellman said.
The Vail Resorts Echo Day volunteer event was held in partnership with the Forest Service and Friends of the Dillon Ranger District.
Dillon Ranger District Forest Service recreation specialist Cindy Ebbert was on site helping to organize the event.
She said the volunteer’s work will provide hikers, bikers and winter Nordic skiers with a better experience on a more sustainable trail, and allow users to find their way around more easily because of the newly installed trail signs.
On Saturday morning, volunteers were directed to take part in one of two different projects. The first project involved the realignment of the lakeshore perimeter trail.
“The existing trail is really close to the edge of the lake and it’s eroding and falling into the lake, so we’re moving it uphill a little bit so it will be a better and safer experience for mountain bikers and hikers who use the trail,” Ebbert said.
The second focus of the volunteer event involved installing signs along the trail system — which not only attracts summer recreationists, but also wintertime skiers.
“We are having volunteers install posts with trail direction signs on it so they can navigate more easily throughout the area,” Ebbert said.
Vail Resorts event organizers said they were happy to give employees a chance to give back to the community.
“Lake Dillon is gorgeous and the Frisco peninsula is lovely, so to go out and reinvigorate the trails and make it even better is great,” said Tucker Vest Burton, with Keystone Resort communications department.
Saturday’s work was part of a larger annual event held by several Vail Resorts locations throughout the country — and world.
More than 1,500 Vail Resorts employees are expected to participate in this year’s events in Summit and Eagle counties and along the Front Range, as well as in projects taking place in Tahoe’s North and South Shores, Jackson, Wyo., and a Vail Resorts-owned Caribbean property.