Grandfather, Father and Grandson volunteer together at 2023 Mountain Games
Photo: Ross Leonhart

Grandfather, Father and Grandson volunteer together at 2023 Mountain Games

Posted by: Ross Leonhart

Three generations of the Carnie family enjoy giving back while spending quality time together

There’s a lot that goes into putting on the GoPro Mountain Games each year in Vail, Colorado, and none of it happens without the help of dedicated volunteers like the Carnie family, who had three generations volunteer in 2023.

The Mountain Games in 2023 saw 333 volunteers help with everything from event registration to VIP & Athlete hospitality to course direction, and more. Combined, 1,070 volunteer shifts were filled the week of Mountain Games, racking up over 5,000 volunteer hours total. Twenty-two states were represented in the volunteer crew in 2023, with 50% of them coming from outside of Eagle County. The youngest was 13 years old, with the most experienced being 88 years old.

“You know, it’s such a great place to live. You really have to give something back,” said Jack Carnie, born in 1936, who was volunteering at the Mountain Games with his son David, 53, and grandson Jack, 23. “[This community has] given a lot to us as individuals, we ought to be able to give them something back.”

Grandfather Jack was one of the longest-tenured employees for Vail Resorts, moving here in 1962 and starting on the trail crew (before snowcats), moving over to ski patrol for several years (where he was part of the crew that found “The Lost Boy”) and then to ski school for nearly 30 years where he was a supervisor. When asked when he started volunteering at the Mountain Games, he replied with a question of his own: “When did they start?” — implying he’s volunteered his time every year of the Mountain Games.

Both David and his son, Jack, enjoyed their first year volunteering at the Mountain Games in 2023. While David, a Vail Mountain School graduate, now lives in Nebraska, the younger Jack works in Vail Village and his grandfather Jack spends his summers here still. They all just happened to be in town the weekend of Mountain Games and decided to spend some time together volunteering.

“It’s really cool. To be out here together is really special,” said Jack, the grandson. “[My grandfather’s] been volunteering forever, and he always talks about how rewarding it is to give back to the community — the community that’s given so much to him. So to be able to give back and hear those stories, it certainly perks us up to be able to help out, too.”

The three generations of Carnies helped out at the adidas Terrex Après 5K and the Nature Valley Mountain Mud Run in 2023.

“One thing that Dad has always said is more young people need to be involved,” David said. “It takes a village to make an event like this, or any other event, come together and move along. People have time, you just need to set aside your own personal time to be able to help others.”

Grandfather Jack enjoys volunteering year-round across the valley. For the Vail Valley Foundation, organizers of the GoPro Mountain Games, he has helped out with the American Ski Classic, Birds of Prey World Cup races at Beaver Creek, he was an usher at the Vail Dance Festival at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and more.

From left, Jack, David and Jack Carnie enjoy some quality family time together while volunteering at the 2023 GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. (Photo by Joanna Kerwin)

“He’s a good recruiter,” Jack said of his grandfather.

Volunteer with the VVF

Share this Story:

Share this Story: