Lost-and-never-found items find a purpose | SummitDaily.com

Lost-and-never-found items find a purpose

This week’s question:

QAs the snow melts in the spring, a lot of gloves and things start appearing underneath the lift – what do the ski areas do with all the stuff that ends up in the lost and found?

AIt doesn’t take warm weather to uncover lost gloves, goggles and car keys. Trust us, lost and found managers at resorts say, people lose belonging regardless of the weather.

And there’s no telling what they’ll lose.

“I had a guy come in the other day – he was looking for a breast pump. I don’t know if he lost it, but somebody did,” said Marty Gotantas, director of Arapahoe Basin’s ski school, where the lost and found is located.

Mostly, lost and found departments deal with the same items year-in and year-out. Cell phones disappear, keys fall out of pockets, a single glove gets dropped while riding the lift and hats are misplaced.

The items pile up quickly, and ski areas do their best to see the items find their owners. Janice Herring, who runs Breckenridge Ski Resort’s central lost and found at Peak 8, said each item is sorted, labeled and logged in to help people find their belongings.

“We try to match it to reports people file, and everything is sorted in bins – it’s a good system,” said Herring, who noted some of her most unusual finds have been contact lenses in a case and dental retainers. “But most of the soft stuff we aren’t able to keep more than two weeks. Cameras and expensive things we keep all year.”

Charities and thrift stores are the largest beneficiaries of lost and found items. Arapahoe Basin, for example, delivers goods to Summit Thrift and Treasure in Dillon. A Breckenridge bus driver takes many items to agencies in Park County to assist residents there. Other charities such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army collect items, too.

Many cell phones are never reunited with their owners. If the phone’s battery still has power, lost and found operators said they typically search through the phone’s directory to find a family member.

“The phone book usually has mom or dad’s number, and we can get it back to the owner,” Herring said. “If the battery’s dead, there’s no way of telling who it belongs to, and they all look alike.”

Gotantas said that for most people, it’s easier and cheaper just to get a new phone, which contributes to the large number of unclaimed phones.

Breckenridge also helps crisis victims by donating unclaimed phones. Each year, the resort delivers phones to agencies who reprogram them for 911-only calls. This year, the resort took the phones to the Red, White and Blue Fire Department. Public information officer Kim O’Brien took the phones to Denver, where an agency distributes them to women in crisis or danger.

Then there are the important things that people usually come back for: skis, boards and boots.

“People will leave just about anything,” Gotantas said. “They get back to their car at the end of the day, take stuff off and just drive away without putting it in the car. Happens all the time.”


Ever wonder how much rope patrollers string up at resorts on an average day? Does your ski boot chafe your ankle, and no one seems to be able to tell you why? Want to know why your favorite trail hasn’t opened this year?

Submit your snowsport-related questions to The Weekly Ski Poll, and we’ll find the answers for you. Send questions to rwilliams@summitdaily.com, fax at (970) 668-0755 (ATTN: Ski Poll) or call (970) 668-3998, ext. 237. Make sure to include your name, address and phone number. We’ll select a different question each week and run the answer on Friday.

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