On March 13, Colorado natives Mackenzie Bell, Page Kelley, Jeremy Rubingh, Allie Shafner, Alison Friedman and Laura Yale loaded a pink RV with their gear, a set of fake boobs and breast cancer information, and headed for Steamboat with the goal of skiing every Colorado resort for free in eight days. Eight days and 27 resorts later, the six members of the Ski Colorado Breast Awareness Tour landed in Aspen with a sense of accomplishment and a nice chunk of cash to donate to the Colorado Breast Cancer Coalition.
"We feel great," says Bell. "We didn't really have a specific amount in mind, and when we were talking to the CBCC, they were happy with anything that was in the black."
To help with trip expenses, Windish RV Center donated the RV, and Vail Resorts and Colorado Ski Country USA donated lift tickets. The tour didn't encounter any weather problems or travel issues, and most of the resorts were very accommodating in trying to place the RV as close to the lifts as possible.
"We were looking at the Google analytics, and we definitely gained a lot more exposure and momentum as the tour went along," says Bell. "Just driving around to the different resorts and handing out our fliers, we got a lot more exposure as well."
At Winter Park, the fourth stop on the first day, visitors to the RV reinforced the purpose of the trip. "The first ten people who came by the RV were all cancer survivors," says Bell. "We had a bunch of people coming up to us and saying they were survivors or had a family member who had breast cancer.
"At Winter Park there was a lady who came up to us and said she loved the idea of what we were doing, because she found out she had breast cancer from a free screening at an awareness campaign just like we were doing," continues Bell. "A lightbulb kind of clicked for us on that first day, so that was great."
Bell says the group would like to make this an annual event, and hinted a summer version of the tour might be in the works.
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"All the cards are laid out for us, so implementing it isn't going to be as exhausting next year," she says. "Since the end of the tour, we've been able to get a lot more press, and there are more people who are interested in helping out or participating, so I think at this point, it was so successful that we don't see an end point.
"We talked about maybe doing fourteeners or something like that, but right now need some time to figure out our next steps," Bell continues. "We were talking about doing something in the summer to keep momentum going, but we're not quite sure yet."