Beaver Creek Resort in Vail is one of the many locations owned by parent company Vail Resorts, and recently they had the opportunity, some might even say the blessing, of hosting a 17-year-old young woman, Isabelle Dunai, as their guest. Isabelle has a terminal disease and really wanted to be able to see mountains up close, enjoy the view while having a coffee and near a fireplace and the snow. Make a Wish and Vail Resorts teamed up to make her wish come true earlier in January. She got to spend the weekend along with her family enjoying the experience and staying at the local Ritz.
She wasn’t really asking much; she expected just to take a short ride up the Centennial gondola with her family, but neither Make a Wish nor Vail Resorts would have been happy with stopping there, and so they planned more. The group arrived at Spruce Saddle, a lodge on the ski resort that can host from 20-300 people, where she was put on a monoski vehicle that had been adapted for her, allowing her to “ski” down the mountain. Later she called it one of her most magical experiences. Her younger sister, Simone, said: “My favorite part of the trip was seeing the look on Isabelle’s face when she got off the ski.”
Of course, she had help and instruction from an adaptive ski instructor, and the Beaver Creek Ski School Ambassadors provided supervision. Her family was taken to the bottom of the run and got to watch her descent down the mountain for her first time skiing. You can image the laughter, tears, and joy felt by all of them, especially the new skier. The family traveled all the way from their home in Waunakee, Wisconsin (near Madison), to enjoy their time at Beaver Creek Resort and the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch. Isabelle’s mother said, “They were so loving and kind, and went out of their way to make her feel loved and special. The staff went above, and beyond anything, we could have imagined.”
They also got to enjoy a movie night, game night, and painting night, as well as some fresh Wisconsin cheese curds, squeaking just like the young girls eating them. The whole weekend was focused on family and time together. Adults in the group had a ski trip while the three Dunai girls had a spa day at the Ritz. Want to know more about Isabelle and her inspiring journey through life? You can check out her blog at isabellesfight.com.