Vail Mountain Rescue Group traces its origins to the earliest days of the Town of Vail. Back then, whenever a skier or a hunter went missing in the wilderness, the county sheriff walked into Donovan's Copper Bar and recruited whomever was available to mount a backcountry rescue mission. In 1977, a core group of local ski patrollers, ranchers, mountain climbers and wilderness guides who typically responded to the sheriff's calls formed an official nonprofit with a noble mission: providing assistance to anyone having an emergency in the wilderness, free of charge.
Forty five years later, our mission remains the same but our mission load, and resources have grown to include four rescue vehicles, seven snowmobiles, two rafts, three Side by Sides, and a mountain of gear cached at its 5,000-square-foot Edwards headquarters. All of which must be maintained for mission-ready status; our operational costs average $150,000 a year, funded only by donations. Since January, VMRG, which counts 51 active volunteer members, has been paged out more than 140 times, rescuing 210 subjects, never charging for its services.
We operate under the authority of the Eagle County Sheriff, maintain national certification through the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA), and are active members of the Colorado Search and Rescue Board (CSRB) and the Colorado Hoist Rescue Team (CHRT).