Getting hurt during the winter season is a nightmare for any skier or rider, but an injury can be especially tough for ski resort employees.
One local resource is dedicated to helping ease the financial burden of a medical crisis for Breckenridge Ski Resort employees.
The Dwight Brill Celebration of Life Fund will host its 15th annual fundraiser Friday, Jan. 31. The fund was established in memory of longtime Breck ski resort employee Dwight Brill, who lost his battle with abdominal cancer in 1999.
Board member Karen Seater said the fundraiser has grown over the years and that she is excited to see such strong community support.
“Dwight was a terrific person,” she said. “He had great personal relationships across the ski area, across the Breckenridge community as a whole. People really remember him and look forward every year to the fundraiser. It’s helped out a lot of folks since it started.”
Brill was a member of the Summit community for 20 years, and a ski resort employee for 15 years. The fund was inspired by the extensive support given to the Brill family during Dwight’s cancer battle
Celebration of Life aims to carry on this spirit of giving by providing emergency support services to resort employees in times of medical crisis. Seater said the fund has helped people pay co-pays, insurance premiums, hospital services, groceries and more. For employees struggling financially because of a medical emergency, this fund is critical, she said.
“We can really pay any bill people send us, as long as we are paying someone else and not the applicant themselves,” she said.
Since its beginning, the fund has raised more than $157,000 to assist 80 employees with major problems, and approximately 300 employees with payments of less than $300.
Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, at the Maggie Restaurant at the base of Peak 9 in Breckenridge, the fundraiser will include a Mexican fiesta buffet dinner, a silent auction and piñatas.
Typically, the goal is to raise around $10,000, Seater said. They could not reach that number without sponsor support as well, she said. Vail Resorts donates about $3,000 in food and support staff at the Maggie to help the organization.
In addition, local ski makers Rocky Mountain Underground are partnering with the Dwight Brill fund for another project. They are offering a limited, special run of their award-winning skis to the public for $399 — usually more than $800 — $99 of which goes directly to the fund.
Brent Crabtree, a local graphic artist and Breckenridge ski patroller, is designing the unique topsheet graphic for the skis, incorporating some of Breckenridge’s icons and most memorable personalities.
“I’ve never heard of anything so awesome,” Seater said. “I know the weather is always a challenge, but we have a ton of great items and it’s going to be a fun event for the support to get out and support.”
Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children in advance, and are available at the Peak 8 administration building and the Peak 8 Guest Service Desk in One Ski Hill Place. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $20 each or two for $35.
“Dwight was a terrific person, he had great personal relationships across the ski area, across the Breckenridge community as a whole,. People really remember him and look forward every year to the fundraiser, it’s helped out a lot of folks since it started.”
Dwight Brill Celebration of Life Fund board member