Attendees and vintners discuss wines during a slope-side tasting at the Red, White and Snow fundraiser for the National Ability Center last year. (Photo
Attendees and vintners discuss wines during a slope-side tasting at the Red, White and Snow fundraiser for the National Ability Center last year. (Photo courtesy of the National Ability Center)
Since 1985, the National Ability Center has worked with individuals of all abilities and their families to build confidence and life skills through sport, recreation and educational programs.

For the past 10 years, the center has hosted the annual Red, White and Snow, a three-day, wine and culinary event that raised funds for its various projects.

This year, Red, White and Snow will begin on Thursday, March 6, with wine seminars held at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, and wrap with an after gala party celebration at the Vista Lounge at the Montage Deer Valley. (See story titled "The 2014 Red, White and Snow schedule").

Looking back on the past decade, Gail Loveland, National Ability Center Executive Director, said she is happy to see the growth in both the center and the fundraiser.

"Red, White and Snow has certainly become a signature event for the community, and we're proud that it supports such an important part of our mission," Loveland said during an interview with The Park Record. "So what's vital to us is that this is not just a truly fun event, but it has provided us with necessary funding we need to deliver the programs that we're known for nationally and internationally."

One program that the center has developed thanks to the fundraiser involves working with injured veterans.

"The need for support for our veterans and working with Wounded Warriors has been significant for us," Loveland said.


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"For the past three years, we have focused our support for the military and Red, White and Snow has helped us gain more attention and financial support to make sure those veterans and their family members have the programming they need to be successful in transitioning back from service into the community."

The other program provides camps for families of individuals who have been diagnosed with autism.

"This support has been essential in helping us add more camps to our overall schedule," Loveland said. "We used to only hold camps in the summer, and now we offer year-round camps, which offer respite for those families and also provides socialization and physical activities for the individuals."

Another benefit from the Red, White and Snow fundraiser is the National Ability Center's training and education department.

"We've always trained on the side, but we have been able to create a whole department that provides international training and resources for programs around the world and country," Loveland said. "We have been able to help them find ways to deliver their own adaptive programs."

This year is also special because it's an Olympic year.

"The Paralympic Sochi Games happen to start a day after Red, White and Snow opens, and we have 18 athletes, 10 from the United States, who are associated with the National Ability Center that will compete in Sochi," Loveland said.

To celebrate, athletes who are looking forward to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, will make appearances at the different Red, White and Snow gatherings.

"We want to make sure that people who come these events also interact within them," Loveland said.

One way is to take a tour of the center's ranch at Quinn's Junction.

"We offer tours year around, but certainly during the Red, White and Snow," she said. "We want folks to talk with individuals about what we do.

"One of the hardest things we come up against as an organization is that many families who need our services don't know we exist," Loveland said. "We want to use this as a catalyst for people to talk with us."

This year's honorary chef is Bill White of Bill White Enterprises, and the Honorary Vintner is Joseph Phelps Vineyard, Loveland announced.

They have helped make the Vintner Dinners, which will be held in private homes on Friday, March 7, an amazing experience, Loveland said.

"They have been involved in Red, White and Snow for a long time, and have a passion for our mission and to share it," she said. "They are the top of their industry who connects with our mission and want to give back. They both give selflessly and we're thankful for their involvement, so it's great to celebrate those how have been through it all with us."

White was honored, and said from the get-go, that he wanted to raise awareness, not just about the food, the wine and the celebratory spirit of the evening, but for those the National Ability Center helps.

"What we've done over the years with the National Ability Center in this particular event was to push the boundaries, so to speak, in how the vintner dinners were done," White said. "A person donates their home and partners with a chef and wine provider to hosts these dinners.

"We didn't just want to come in and cook the dinners, but [wanted to] up the ante by redecorating the house and providing an extensive menu that you couldn't get in any of our restaurants," he said. "It's a one-off menu that is custom designed and we go get special dishes and wine glasses and make this a big, once-a-year event."

Joseph Phelps Vineyard winemaker Ashley Hepworth concurred.

"It's really all about the National Ability Center and anything we can do as vintners to make this event more successful each year is something we want to do," she said. "Joe Phelps in general has always been a supporter in charities and when we were approached by the National Ability Center, it was a no-brainer. It's an amazing organization that helps individuals build empowerment."

The highlight of Red, White and Snow is the Saturday night Gala and Auction at the Montage Deer Valley.

Live auction items will be available at the Gala, but the center will also feature silent auction items at the other gatherings during the event.

Some of the live auction items include a City and Ski package from the Montage, one-of-a-kind packages from vintners and winemakers, a trip to the Country Music Awards, a Vail Resorts packages, a seaplane excursion to Lake Powell and a painting by artist Thomas Arvid.

Comedian Bill Engvall will emcee the night.

"Bill is hilarious," Loveland said. "This is the third year he is doing this and he's the first to raise his paddle to support us."

For more information about Red, White and Snow, visit www.redwhiteandsnow.org.