Smartwool® Announces $1.5 Million Legacy Gift from the VF Foundation to Steamboat Springs Community

Oct 21, 2020

Smartwool® today announced a $1.5 million charitable gift from The VF Foundation, the private grantmaking organization funded by Smartwool’s parent company VF Corporation, to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. The gift will fund a new Barrows Lift at Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Steamboat Springs.

The community of Steamboat Springs inspired and helped drive the Smartwool brand to where it is today. Smartwool employees have spent more than 15,000 hours supporting local Steamboat organizations like The Nature Conservancy and the launch of the Yampa River Fund, SOS Outreach, Yampatika, Routt County Riders, The Boys & Girls Club, and Carpenter Ranch. 

“Steamboat is at the heart of our brand ethos and skiing is the core of our brand’s foundation,” stated Jen McLaren, President of Smartwool. “We are proud to support such a phenomenal community project that will promote the next and more diverse generation of locals to take part in the sport and encourage them to seek time outside as a source of mental and physical solace.”

Howelsen Hill is North America’s oldest ski resort and home to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. The ski hill has served as the training ground for more than 90 Olympians and is where thousands of locals and tourists have developed their ski legs.

“Howelsen Hill Ski Area is a community treasure and at the center of Steamboat’s recreational heritage,” stated Gary Suiter, City Manager of Steamboat Springs. “This gift will not only aid the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club in inspiring people to participate in the outdoors but will provide a substantial economic impact to the town of Steamboat Springs – making the mountain easier to access for visitors and residents.”

Smartwool has been a long-standing supporter of the local ski community. The brand has partnered closely with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club to provide support to underserved families and athletes.

 “Howelsen Hill is the cornerstone of Steamboat Springs,” stated Sarah Floyd, Executive Director of The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. “The City of Steamboat Springs and the Winter Sports Club have worked hard to make this hill more accessible to the community through transformative programs like the city operated Free Ski Sundays and the Winter Sports Club introductory free programs; the Ski Town USA second grade initiative, and the ACE After School program. The new Barrows Lift will allow us to continue our mission of making the outdoors more accessible for everyone.”

The VF Foundation has contributed more than $20 million globally since 2017 to non-profit organizations that protect outdoor spaces, promote the value of trade work, and contribute to a world that prioritizes equity and belonging for all people.

Construction of the new Barrows Lift is scheduled to begin in 2021.