May 2, 2022

Our beloved community has been growing more than any of us expected. With that growth, we’ve seen a major increase in demand for youth and adult activities across the Valley. To help meet the community where it is and where it’s going, Mountain Recreation has hired several new individuals to continue to provide high-quality programs and facilities throughout the District. Join me in welcoming our new team members:


Rialto Heller
Aquatics Supervisor – RHeller@MountainRec.org

Long overdue, I’d like to start by welcoming Rialto Heller as the District’s new Aquatics Supervisor. Rialto studied Marine Biology at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Davie, FL. At NSU, Rialto began his aquatics career as the Coordinator of Aquatic Programs and Services, then worked as the Recreation Services Manager of Aquatics for the City of Plantation, FL. After ten years in Plantation, Rialto wanted a change and move to a smaller community that values health. Whether he is balancing aquatic programs, supporting his aquatics staff, or coordinating several pool locations, you can always see Rialto with a smile on his face.


Mia Richter
Active Older Adults Consultant – MRichter@MountainRec.org

Maria “Mia” Richter filled a brand-new position as the Active Older Adults Consultant. Generously funded by a Next50 grant, Mia focuses her time building programming for active older adults in our community. According to Mia, “Listening to stakeholders is the first step in developing programming. We currently have many opportunities for engagement in our active older community, and we want to capacity build to create more of what our community wants and deserves.” Mia spends her time gathering information by listening to stakeholders; this listening and researching is then transformed into programming for active older adults. Community-based participatory research stems from her educational and professional experience.  From the University of Iowa, she brings a PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs, a Master’s in Public Health, and over a decade of teaching in institutions of higher education.


Watts Austen
Edwards Facility Coordinator – WAusten@MountainRec.org

We couldn’t be happier that Watts Austen is the brand-new Facility Coordinator at the Edwards Field House. Watts began working with Mountain Recreation when he fourteen years old as a Youth Recreation Assistant. A true local born at Swedish Medical Center, Watts grew up in the Valley and graduated from Vail Mountain School. Watts then went on to the University of Colorado-Boulder to study International Affairs, a program that allowed him to travel to Latin America where he became proficient in Spanish. “Being able speak both English and Spanish has proved to be a huge asset especially here in our community,” Watts said.


Amy Burford
Administrative Assistant – ABurford@MountainRec.org

Visit any facility after 3pm and you’ll see a bustling community center, but many don’t see the behind-the-scenes staff who help make it all possible. That’s where Amy Burford, our new Administrative Assistant to HR and Accounting, comes in. Living a healthy lifestyle has always been a priority for Amy. She grew up playing basketball, volleyball, and softball in Wichita, Kansas and now likes to spend her time hiking, skiing, and biking. Eleven years ago, Amy moved to Eagle County looking for a lifestyle where she could balance work and healthy living. “I wanted to be a part of an organization that provides healthy and positive opportunities to all individuals in Eagle County,” says Amy. With a background in health information management and bookkeeping and a common share of beliefs, Amy was the perfect fit for Mountain Recreation.


Adrian Torres
Marketing & Community Engagement Assistant – ATorres@MountainRec.org

Adrian Torres is under the wings of two department heads–Eddie Campos and Lizzy Owens–as the new Marketing and Community Engagement Assistant. Adrian comes from a background in design; he studied graphic design and architecture before spending time in Hawaii working as a videographer and photographer. Surrounding himself in different forms of design push him to find a passion for videography and photography. “I want to help Mountain Rec push new ideas to the Valley for every demographic to benefit,” Adrian said.


Julia Vlaar
Gymnastics Coordinator – JVlaar@MountainRec.org

As our newest addition to the team, Julia Vlaar is our new Gymnastics Coordinator. Julia was born and raised in the Valley, and she helped the gymnastics team as a part-time employee/coach.­­ Now full-time, Julia helps the gymnastic department in many ways, including coaching from toddlers to teenagers. The fact that she’s CPR -certified, Safe Sport Trained, taken Fundamentals of Gymnastics Instruction, and Safety and Risk Management classes makes her a great teacher and a great role model for our community’s gymnasts.

We couldn’t be more excited to welcome each of these new team members. Each coming from diverse backgrounds but fueled by the same belief in living a healthy and active lifestyle. If you share the same belief, we’d love to see you join the team as Mountain Rec gears up for summer. Head over to MountainRec.org/careers to view great opportunities in Edwards, Eagle, and Gypsum.

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