Copper Mountain Resort helps 13 nonprofits with Play It Forward Wednesdays

High Fives Foundation athlete Trevor Kennison rides at Copper Mountain Resort’s Central Park earlier this season. Copper Mountain’s Play It Forward Wednesdays resulted in $67,640 being donated to 13 nonprofits, including High Fives.
Photo from Copper Mountain Resort

Philanthropy is running high in Summit County.

Copper Mountain Resort’s Play It Forward Wednesdays program ended this month, raising $67,640 in the span of 13 weeks for 13 nonprofits. Each nonprofit received $5 per online lift ticket purchased on select Wednesdays.

Though it raised less than the inaugural Play Forever Fridays last season, which brought in more than $69,000, Copper considers it a success.

“We are really happy with that number,” Copper spokesperson Olivia Butrymovich said. “We didn’t know what to expect going in. We moved the day to Wednesdays and were very productive with those sales.”

Play Forever Fridays got cut short last season due to the pandemic, and the program was rebranded to Play it Forward over the summer and expanded to aid pandemic relief on top of assisting environment- and sports-focused nonprofits. Because Friday was a popular skiing day, Copper moved the fundraising dates to Wednesdays to drive midweek visitation and avoid overcrowding amid public health restrictions.

Returning partners included nonprofits like Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment, High Fives Foundation and Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, while Get Outdoors Leadville, SOS Outreach and Summit Community Cares Clinic joined this season.

Adaptive Action Sports, founded in 2005 by Daniel Gale and Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy, received an estimated $8,000 from this season’s fundraiser. The organization provides adaptive snowboard lessons in the winter — with a focus on training elite-level athletes to make the U.S. Paralympic Snowboard Team — along with skateboarding, mountain biking and stand-up paddleboarding in the summer.

“In today’s landscape with everything happening, it’s kind of difficult to run a small business and find funding for a nonprofit,” Gale said. “So something like this is critical to maintaining our programming. It was really good timing this season for us, as some of the competitions that were originally canceled started to come back around.”

The money was able to be used for administrative costs like rent but also for the organization to attend two U.S. Snowboard and Freeski Association competitions, which Gale said were great practice opportunities.

Summit County Safe Passages got $10,965 from Copper this season. The entirely volunteer-run nonprofit will use the funds to design a wildlife crossing on Vail Pass that reconnects the landscape and decreases wildlife collisions.

According to Ashley Nettles, Summit County Safe Passages partner and wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Dillon Ranger District, that stretch of the interstate sees more than 23,000 cars a day and 8 million vehicles annually. Construction only needs to happen on the westbound lanes to provide access to an open median and span bridges on the eastbound lanes.

Nettles said it’s the largest fundraiser for the nonprofit since it was formed in 2018. The group needs roughly $1 million more to meet its goal of finishing the design within the next year. Though relatively small, the funds from Copper allow for matching grants that can quickly snowball once construction is ready.

Nettles said she’s appreciative of Copper’s support, especially since the project takes place so close to the mountain.

“You’ll be able to see the structures from the lifts, which is really cool,” Nettles said. “It’s such a great opportunity to get the public that goes and skis and recreates at Copper, to get them involved and invested in their own safety.”

Summit County Safe Passages is in the design process for a wildlife crossing that will be constructed at Vail Pass. The nonprofit received $10,965 from Copper Mountain Resort’s Play It Forward Wednesdays this season.
Image from Summit County Safe Passages

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.