I am Alan Solow, the new President for Vail Club 50. I am looking forward to meeting all our members and working with our Board of Directors and the hard-working volunteers that make Vail Club 50 such a success.
Over the past few months, I have been working to learn more about the Club, its leadership and governance and the wide range of volunteer support that it takes to not only manage the operations but to enable the web-based programming that allows our club to operate. A point that I want to make for all the members is that we are all volunteers. There may be a glitch here and there, but we always get through it and work to provide each of you with amazing opportunities to live an active and healthy lifestyle here in the Valley.
To get started with this inaugural message, I first want to thank Jimmy Arbour for his leadership as President for the past year and a half, along with the outgoing Board members who provided our membership with a wide range of sports and social activities. These include Pat McFarland (Summer Sports Director), John Kelleher (Winter Sports Director), Roz Mangone and Susan Meints (Summer Social Directors), Kim Malek (Winter Social Director), Al Musser (Past President) along with David Borns (Singles Leadership).
VC50 will be governed by a new Board this year that will include me, Jimmy Arbour (Past President), Kelley Smith and Meg Wagner (Summer Social), Nukhet Saxby (Summer Sports), Nina Wise (Treasurer), Kimberly Kenworthy (Secretary), Ellen Keszler (Membership), Andy Franklin (Webmaster), Patty Thomsson and Karen Avery (Winter Social), Wendy Klein (Winter Sports), and Dennis Wike (Singles Chair).
Before we move into the winter season, let’s have a quick review of the 2023 summer season.
I want to thank Pat McFarland along with all our volunteers for their outstanding leadership this summer. Summer sports coordinators included:
- Green - Linda Krauss
- Blue - Michelle and Lewis Ribner
- Black - Cristi Musser
- Double Black - Bruce Crow
There were 103 hikes throughout the summer season. Thank you to all the volunteers that organized and led these for all hiking levels at the numerous locations throughout the valley and beyond.
The Adopt-a-Trail Coordinators were Robin Wagner and Bill Mimeles this summer. They led three trail maintenance days on the Stag Gulch Trail. Thanks to all the volunteers who worked as a team for this on-going program.
Thank you to Joseph Staron along with the numerous volunteers who led a variety of cycling events throughout the summer. To date, there have been 42 events including road biking and e-biking.
Yoga was a new activity provided to our members this summer. A big thanks to Jamie Peters and Wendy Klein for leading these sessions each week and providing members with a solid focus on flexibility, body, breath, and mind.
Meditation, also a new activity this summer, was led by Bonnie Taxman. Thank you, Bonnie, for leading our members on working toward slowing down and developing a sense of self-awareness and mindfulness.
Pickleball, also a new activity this summer and was met with strong enthusiasm. Thank you to Nina Wise along with Michelle and Lewis Ribner for leading and arranging this activity. The pickleball team of volunteers organized the program, set up court schedules and rental, built skill level events and held social gatherings for all our member participants.
A big shout out to our Summer Social leadership of Roslyn Mangone and Susan Meints along with Kelley Smith and Joy Solow. This group organized over 40 events and in total, 1,343 members attended these throughout the summer. Signature events included the Summer Kickoff Party, Minturn Pop-up concerts, the Western Party at 4 Eagle Ranch, and Picnic/Putters. The Summer Social culminated in the Leader Appreciation Party at the Cucina in Vail where the Club honored 110 Volunteer leaders.
Throughout the summer, there were a variety of smaller events such as tours of the Betty Ford Gardens, the Leadville Mining Museum, the Dotsero Volcano, and the Powers Art Museum. Other activities included Big Glasses/Small Plates, Beer Tasting, Bowling, a Pie Bake Off, Off Roading, Hand and Foot, Axe Throwing, Painting, Rodeo, Theater, and a variety of other events. All of these made for a very active summer.
One last event which has gained popularity is Stitchery which is led by Nukhet Saxby. This group has really taken off and it is looking to become a weekly activity that is active year-round.
Thank you to all the volunteers that made these events possible for our Membership. For next year, the Summer Social leadership will be Kelley Smith and Joy Solow who will be joined by Meg Wagner and Lisa Simek.
Wendy Klein is our new Winter Sports Director for this upcoming season. Wendy and the team of coordinators are planning for a variety of activities including Alpine Skiing, Alpine Touring, Snowshoeing, and Uphill Spike & Skin. Wendy recently sent out a survey to get your input as to whether Snowboarding should be added this year. Based on the results, we do not believe there is enough interest to add Snowboarding this year.
Wendy expects Winter sports to begin the first week of December, conditions dependent.
Ski levels will include Double Black, Black, Blue-Black Anything Goes, Blue-Black Cruisers, and Blue. The number of groups will depend on the number, interest, and abilities of participants.
The Alpine coordinator for Beaver Creek is Michele Rae, assisted by Greg Loshak, Steve Edelstein, Steve Grillo, and Eric Noreen. The group will meet on Mondays at 9:00 AM. During December, participants will meet outside Powder 8 restaurant and beginning January 8th, and for the rest of the season, the group will meet at the Broken Arrow Restaurant in Arrowhead.
The Alpine coordinators for Vail are Andy Feld and Sue Savage. The Vail ski groups will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:15 at Mid-Vail Look Ma restaurant.
There will also be the Latte Alpine ski group which will also meet on Tuesday and Thursday at the Look Ma Restaurant but at 11 AM.
The coordinator for Alpine Touring is Theresa Patten. More details to come later in the fall. These events will require participant registration.
LaVonne Feigeles is the snowshoe coordinator and black snowshoe leader. She will be assisted by Martha Tyler (green) and Susan Marhoffer (blue). Meeting times and locations will be determined by individual leaders and will require participant registration.
Kate Panella will coordinate the uphill spike and skin events and will be assisted by Ed Panella and Lauren Monroe. Groups will meet at Grouse Creek on Saturdays at 10AM and no registration is needed.
Debbie Durben and Carol Brannigan will coordinate these events which will be posted as these are planned later in the year.
Patty Thomsson will remain Winter Social Chair and will be joined by Karen Avery. The winter kickoff will be held at Donovan Pavilion on December 6th. The group is busy working on events for the winter which will include the Yankee Swap, Men’s Beer Tasting, the return of the Mountain Liftoff and Treasure Hunt as well as a new Mardi Gras event. More to come later in the year.
Dennis Wike is the new VC50 Singles Group Coordinator. The group has over 220 active members and continues to grow. Over the summer, the Group had monthly get-togethers and in October, had a variety of events including a picnic in Vail Village, a hike and pizza party, and a fall group party planned for the end of the month. The Group is currently planning multiple events throughout the winter and Dennis will be looking for volunteers to lead and help as these are put on the calendar. Please feel free to reach out to Dennis if you have ideas for activities that our members would enjoy being a part of.
The lifeblood of our Club is the Volunteer. We are asking all members to consider signing up and leading or co-leading both sport and social events. Whether it is hiking in the winter, snowshoeing in the winter, or hosting a big glasses small plates social event, the club needs active volunteer leaders.
Ellen Keszler will remain Membership Chair this year. We ended our 2023 Fiscal Year with 901 members, and we are on-track for renewals for next year.
Vail Club 50 continues to have a healthy membership and serves to provide all of us with a wealth of social and sports activities. With continued support and leadership from our volunteers, we will continue to provide opportunities to meet new people and enjoy the healthy lifestyle here in the Vail Valley.
President, Vail Club 50