Shadowcliff Opens for the Season on Memorial Day. Now Taking Reservations!

By Carl Sniffen


Happy Holidays from Shadowcliff.  Without volunteers, Shadowcliff would not exist. I’ve said that many times in the past, and I hope that I’ll be saying it for decades to come. To borrow loosely from Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol,” let’s take a look at Shadowcliff volunteers past, present and future.

A note before we begin: with apologies, I don’t mention any names in this article. There are simply too many individuals who have donated countless hours over many years to sustain, maintain, clean, repair, upgrade and enhance Shadowcliff. Each one is deserving of many thanks.


Shadowcliff Volunteers of Seasons Past

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As most of our long term guests and volunteers know, Shadowcliff was built by volunteers—nearly 600 of them, from 42 different countries, over more than two decades. Without our volunteers, Shadowcliff does not exist. Whenever I visit Shadowcliff, I am always in awe imagining the love, passion and commitment, let alone the sweat, effort and determination required to build Shadowcliff’s lodge buildings and cabins.

Volunteerism has been an important Shadowcliff value from the moment Warren and Patt sat on the Point and dreamed of Shadowcliff. To this day, it remains an important part of Shadowcliff—Volunteerism lives at Shadowcliff.

The photographs tell us a lot—youthful energy and strength, one of the most beautiful places on earth, and lots of smiles on volunteer faces. From its humble beginnings, Shadowcliff exists due to the spirit and strength of its volunteers.


Shadowcliff Volunteers of Seasons Present

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Over the last several decades, Shadowcliff volunteers have carried out many essential tasks. Our volunteer Board of directors and committee members provide governance and guidance throughout the year on short and long term strategic policies designed to keep Shadowcliff relevant and running. Our famous “Memorial Day volunteer team” has grown from a group of individuals who come to Shadowcliff on Memorial Day Weekend to paint, repair, clean, and generally prepare our facilities for a new season. Several thousand hours of volunteer time are graciously donated to Shadowcliff by our tireless Memorial Day volunteers.


Volunteer May

Today, Shadowcliff enjoys a “Volunteer May,” with volunteers coming to Shadowcliff throughout the month of May to repair, replace or expand existing facilities—skills requiring a higher level of skill. Some of these projects include redesigning the third floor of Rempel lodge, reroofing Riverbend Cabin, redoing the Cliffside kitchen and bathrooms, building new stair towers, and expanding the maintenance shed. In addition, volunteers are combing Grand County soliciting merchandise for Shadowcliff’s Silent Auction, one of Shadowcliff’s principal fundraising activities.

Remarkably and wonderfully, some of our current volunteers have direct ties back to Warren and Patt and Shadowcliff’s early history. More incredibly, many current volunteers are the sons and daughters and even grandsons and granddaughters of our early volunteer pioneers. What does that say about Shadowcliff as a place and our volunteers as people? That spirit and energy exists all season long—something tangible that our guests can feel and appreciate.


Year-Round Support

As Shadowcliff has transitioned to a new business model over the last several seasons, our volunteer marketing and facilities committee members have provided thousands of hours of expertise and labor to improve and maintain Shadowcliff facilities and bring Shadowcliff forward in marketing and social media activities. Have you been to our website or Facebook page lately? Have you received an e-newsletter? Take a look and check back frequently—you’ll find up to the minute information about all things Shadowcliff, interesting stories and perspectives, and great photographs.

During our transition, volunteers are answering your calls and your questions, taking your reservations, and working with our long term groups in planning their 2015 meetings. All of these tasks have significantly increased the number of volunteer hours throughout the year.  Shadowcliff does not exist without its volunteers.

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Shadowcliff Volunteers for Future Seasons

The spirit of volunteerism lives at Shadowcliff. Just as in the past, Shadowcliff’s future success and sustainability depends upon the efforts and energy of our volunteers. Shadowcliff does not exist without volunteers.

Like so many others, I have enjoyed the good fortune to be a part of Shadowcliff for many years as a guest, group leader, donor, and executive director. Recently, I was asked to rejoin the Shadowcliff Board, something I am thrilled to do.

I am especially excited to have been asked by the Board to work more closely with our volunteers, past, present and future. To continue its journey, Shadowcliff needs our volunteers more than ever. And, we need to introduce new groups of volunteers to Shadowcliff to help carry out so many important tasks.


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Volunteers Needed

To that end, I plan to reach out to volunteers in the next few weeks. I will be securing commitments for help in May and seeking help finding new groups and individuals to replenish and reenergize our volunteer ranks. Feel free to reach out to me in the interim if you are ready to volunteer in May or have some ideas of groups or individuals I can contact. You can reach me at You can also click here to learn about our specific employment and volunteer needs for the 2015 season.

Shadowcliff does not exist without volunteers. To those of you who have volunteered your time and energy to support Shadowcliff over the years, thank you so much.  For those ready to join the Shadowcliff family as a volunteer, welcome aboard.

Peace, love and thank you.



Carl_SniffenAbout Carl

Carl has been on the Shadowcliff Board of Directors since 2006, and served as Executive Director for seasons 2013 and 2014. Carl has actively participated in many Shadowcliff Sustainability Workshops, received a certificate in non-profit management from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a certificate in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Oregon in Portland. Carl is and has been a lawyer, arbitrator, mediator, facilitator, author, photographer, high school distance running coach, musician and life long runner. But don’t talk to Carl about any of this, ask him about his wonderful growing family–Barb, Neil, Lyndsay, Henrik, Brian, Claire, Eddie and June. If you’re lucky, you might see them when you’re at Shadowcliff.