Does Your Mountain Need a Ski Detective? Just Ask Miles Vaille at Keystone Resort, CO

Ryan Kime | | Industry NewsIndustry News
iphone returns with Miles Vaille
Miles Vaille and his retrieval and return efforts at Keystone Resort, CO. pc: 9 News

Lost, Found & Returned

What’s a Ski Detective?

I don’t know exactly, and without an official designation (as of yet) it might be difficult to determine.  However, it does appear that 16-year-old Colorado resident Miles Vaille just might have an answer. During an interview with his local news station in Colorado Vaille describes his role by saying,

During the summer (at Keystone Resort), I go underneath the chair lifts, and I go looking for lost items like cell phones, headphones, ski passes, all sorts of random things. So far I’ve found 11 phones and I’ve been able to return nine of them.”

Detective Work

How does he contact the phone’s rightful owners? Vaille says it is a bit of detective work.  He adds, “Hopefully, they have marked their phone as lost and put their number on their home screen. When a phone is lost, it’ll show someone’s phone number and then they’ll say, ‘Please call’ or “Please text.”

In one instance, Vaille found the owner of a phone after he noticed a picture of a dog on the phone’s home screen. Zooming in, Vaille was able to visualize the dog’s collar. Vaille adds, “I was able to take the phone number off the collar and contact him via the number on the collar, which I think’s pretty cool.”

iphone recovery screen
Lost iPhone recovery screen. pcamtsaxena

Altruism on Display

Miles Vaille deeply enjoys doing this for others and doesn’t expect much in return. His only request is that he asks recipients to help cover the cost of shipping for his efforts. Sometimes Vaille receives gifts for his work. Someone once paid him $100 while another person only offered up $3 for the retrieval and return. Vaille said he’s not worried about the money or any recognition he receives. He confesses, “I just do it because it’s fun to clean up the community and help return people’s lost items.”

Keystone Resort itself is no stranger to lost and found. It’s interesting to note that as their maintenance crews turnover the mountain to summer activities, a number of lost phones and other items are recovered. Spokeswoman Shayna Silverman says, “This winter, we tracked over 300 phones returned to their rightful owners.” (Wow, now that’s a lot of phones returned!)

Vaille's recovered cases
iPhone cases Miles Vaille recovered at Keystone Resort this summer. pc:9news

My Own Story of Lost & Returned

Vaille’s story is heartwarming. It reminds me of when I lost my wallet in Vails’s back bowls while in college way back before social media. (At the time, Vail’s season pass with a student discount was only $185!)  I only recognized my wallet was gone when I fumbled to pay for après without it.

Less than a week later and to my surprise, I received a letter from Vail Resorts. They were in possession of my wallet and attempting to contact me. Sure enough, the next weekend I presented myself at Vail’s lost and found desk. To my delight was an otherwise untouched wallet with my school ID, and driver’s license, and believe it or not, the $25 in cash folded in half just as it was when I had lost it.

To the kind soul who took the time and effort to return my wallet, I want to say “THANK YOU!” because I never got the chance. And to the other heroes like Miles Vaille, Scott Gaffney, and the rest of those passionate, selfless individuals who try to make the mountain a better place, thank you! We admire and appreciate your incredible efforts!

Tips & Tricks for Phone Recovery

For those of us like myself, who happen to ‘mistakenly’ leave our pockets unzipped at inopportune times, here are some pro tips to help with your recovery. Vaille’s tips:

Other useful recovery links:

Do you have a ski detective on your mountain?  What have you found this summer?  Let us know.  We want to hear from you!

Vaille recovers ear buds
A photo of items recovered by Miles Vaille at Keystone Resort this summer. pc:9news

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