Vail Resorts contributes $500,000 to DNC

With a hefty $500,000 donation to the Democratic National Convention (DNC), scheduled for Aug. 25-28, the state’s largest ski-resort operator, Vail Resorts, is looking more to marketing value than obtaining goodwill from the next presidential administration, according to a corporate spokeswoman.

“As the largest player in the second-largest industry in the state, our contribution was made in the interest of promoting tourism in Colorado to a worldwide audience,” said Vail Resorts’ Kelly Ladyga. “We hope that our contribution will help showcase all that the state has to offer, particularly our magnificent mountain resorts.”

Vail Resorts — which owns and operates the Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail ski areas in Colorado and Heavenly ski area in California — is one of 112 sponsors that had contributed $29 million to the DNC by the end of the second-quarter filing period, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The state’s ski and tourism industry contributions $2.6 billion a year to the state’s economy, according to the industry trade group Colorado Ski Country USA, which also contributed to the DNC. That’s second only to the state’s agriculture sector in terms of overall revenues.

Vail Resorts did not donate to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul Sept. 1-4. “We have no operations in Minneapolis and therefore did not make any contribution there,” Ladyga said.

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.