The numbers are in from the CAIC Benefit Bash, held Nov. 12 in Breckenridge. The fourth annual fundraiser grossed $72,000 in revenues and netted $63,000 for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. This might be the biggest avalanche center fundraiser in North America, right up there with the Utah Avalanche Center fundraiser held every fall in Salt Lake.
The CAIC Benefit Bash was presented by BCA, Voilé, La Sportiva, New Belgium Brewery, and Vail Resorts. Held at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge, it hosted 1300 people. Organizers Aaron Carlson and Joe Vandal gave away over $20,000 in product, had 63 silent auction items on hand, and broke all previous fundraising records in the 1o years of Benefit Bash and its Front Range predecessor, Avalanche Jam. The proceeds will fund the education and backcountry forecasting services of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the biggest avalanche center in the U.S.
1,300 CAIC supporters packed the Riverwalk Center. The event was sold out within one hour of when it started.
Green River Vibe rocked the house pro bono, after an all-night recording session. That's dedication!
Joe and Aaron finally took their ties off at the after party...
Here’s a guest blog from event organizer and Friends of CAIC Executive Director Aaron Carlson:
I remember over 3 years ago, myself and a good friend of mine wanted to throw a party to raise money for the CAIC. We were going to throw it upstairs at a steakhouse and invite all of our friends. Another good friend to be approached us and set us up with the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge…Fast forward to November 8th, 2008, Joe Vandal and I were at the Riverwalk Center severely hungover, anxious, and terrified about what was about the happen or not happen. I think we put the over/under at about 200 people and hoped to raise a few thousand dollars. Well 700 people showed up, we raised just over $25,000 and the CAIC Benefit Bash was born.
Now fast forward to November 12th, 2011. After working tirelessly for 2 months on gathering sponsors, working logistics, hanging flyers, making phone calls, and sending emails, the time to throw a party was finally here. We had 127 sponsors for the board, 24 kegs ready to be tapped, over $60,000 in product, 30 volunteers lined up, and food for 1300 people. All we needed was the people.
The doors opened at 5pm with a toast of New Belgium’s Snowy Day and we knew we were in for an event as people crowded the entrance to get in and see, “the goods we had in store for them”. Bidding, drinking, eating, and mingling ensued. It is an amazing feeling watching the room fill up. The first year, I got butterfly’s in my stomach as watched people pour through the doors. This year was no different.
If you have been to Bash, you know that our favorite thing to do is throw gear to the crowd from the stage. Joe and I spend a ton of time gathering product, sorting it, and strategizing on how to get the crowd engaged. “I just don’t think their into this year, Aaron.” “Let’s get down there and feel the energy”. Joe was on to something. From the stage it felt like people were not engaged. Once on the floor and roaming we hear things like, “thanks for everything you guys do.” To, “This is the best party of the year, I wouldn’t miss it.” Being on the floor is our chance to see old friends, make new friends, and also say thank you to everyone personally. It is also our chance to give out beer tickets, and a little secret, we set aside a few gift certificates to hand to random people on the floor throughout the night. It is just our way to thank people for coming.
“The music is fantastic!” mentioned a friend of mine. “Every year, you guys have a great band.” Green River Vibe approached us this year and asked us if they could be the entertainment and we couldn’t be more thankful for them. Every band we have featured over the past four years has donated their time and performance to the event. It is really amazing. In fact, Green River Vibe had their first CD release party the night before the Benefit Bash. They arrived at 2pm on Saturday and informed us they had only slept a few hours. I honestly was a bit nervous about them. They just looked exaughsted. Then I heard them play. I saw them step up to the mic and watched as the energy and music flowed fabulously and the dance party ensued.
I have to admit that this year was the best ever for myself and Joe. At one point, it was said, “This is just fun!” It really goes to show that when you invite 1300 friends, give them free food, beer, gear, a fantastic band, a party is going to happen. Every year I am amazed by the people in the crowd. People from all over Colorado come to this event and every single person in the venue is stoked to be supporting the cause they are there for.