Funds from Twister and Teo chair sale to benefit local causes

Prices are either $150 or $300

By Mark Reaman

Not every single chair from the now-defunct Teocalli and Twister chairlifts will be sold to the public, but 238 of them will go on the local market Sunday, June 2.

Both lifts were deconstructed and the towers removed from the hill last Thursday, May 16. Some of the chairs were in too poor a shape to salvage. The Crested Butte Heritage Museum will be granted one, as will the U.S. Forest Service. Crested Butte Mountain Resort is holding on to a few. The rest will go to employees and members of the public.

According to community relations consultant Erica Mueller, chairs will be sold at two prices. CBMR employees can purchase one for $150; the resort is holding 88 chairs for employees. The other 150 chairs will go to anyone who shows up Sunday morning. Those will go for $300 and will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

The event will officially start at 9:30 a.m. and Mueller says the resort wants to make it a festive atmosphere. There will be food and music and a couple of speeches. Buyers will have to pay in the Adventure Center and then head to the parking lot to grab their chair. Each person is limited to buying one chair and there will be no requests accepted for any specific number. You get what you get.

While the 88 employee chairs will be available for pre-sale in an effort to minimize the Sunday line, the rest can be bought only that day. If you get one, you’ll have to sign a waiver and find a way to get the chair home. The four-foot by eight-foot chairs weigh about 75 pounds so Mueller says it is probably best to bring a truck. They’ll have to be picked up by Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. and you have to be present to get one.

“We are excited to do this type of fundraiser for the community. We have done similar ones in other communities and know how important these chairs can be for some people,” said Vail Resorts director of community connections, Nicky DeFord. “The chairs will benefit two programs—the Crested Butte Land Trust and specifically the Long Lake land exchange project, and the EpicPromise Employee Foundation.”

EpicPromise is Vail Resorts’ charitable arm through which the company donated approximately $13 million to non-profits in resort communities last year, DeFord explained.

The Employee Foundation is a program within EpicPromise, which was established specifically to help Vail Resorts’ employees with cash grants. Employees can apply for an emergency relief grant that would provide up to $5,000 for an employee going through an unplanned problem. The program also allocates money for scholarships to employees or their dependents. The EpicPromise Scholars grant provides $10,000 scholarships for employee dependents; the Educational Ascent grant gives employees $2,500 for any type of degree or certification program such as an EMT course.

“Our employees are the community and this is a great way to support the front-line staff,” said DeFord.

“This fundraiser is a great way to kick off the EpicPromise program for this community,” added Mueller. “Last year more than a million dollars was contributed through the Employee Foundation.”

“It has been transformational at other resorts,” noted DeFord. “We are excited that money raised from selling these chairs will go to benefit local employees.”

DeFord said Crested Butte has been part of the program since January and two emergency relief grants have been awarded, along with three scholarship awards.

Overall, Vail Resorts plans to up its community involvement and contributions through all avenues of the EpicPromise umbrella. More than $13 million in contributions were made across all Vail Resorts last year. The leadership team is gathering information and trying to figure out how to distribute money in the Crested Butte and Gunnison communities. They are implementing some structure to the granting process and hope to have applications available by later this summer.

As for the June 2 chair sale, CBMR communications specialist Zach Pickett said the resort is not out promoting it to the world. “We want this to be a local event,” he explained. “We aren’t putting it on our website or sending out e-blasts. We want it to go to Gunnison County. We want the chairs and the proceeds to stay in the county … and we think they’ll go pretty quickly Sunday morning.”

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