Archive for December, 2007

Remember When….at Vail!

Friday, December 28th, 2007

SnowWitch joins you today at the end of 2007, as we begin a new ski season at Vail in 2008 by recalling some fond memories in years past skiing at Vail! Remember when…Early Vail Skiing – When there was ONLY Vail Village at Vail and no parking structures! Everyone parked along the frontage road!Studded SnowTires – When few had 4-wheel drive and they allowed studded snowtires or you had to stop, get on your back at the rear of the car, with exhaust and snow blowing in your face and put chains on to get over Vail or Hoosier Pass (there was no access from I-70).Too Young & Poor to Buy Dinner or Stay the Night – We drove up from Colorado Springs, starting at 5 am, reaching Vail when the lifts were opening, skiied all day and then stopped at Pepi Grammshammer’s at the end of the day, bought an “after-ski snack special” of a glass of red wine, a piece of brown bread and a small bowl of spaghetti, wolfed it down and then left to drive back to the Springs. Great times!It’s Better Now – We like it better now – more runs, more bowls, more parking, more lifts, more places to eat….Vail is older….. YET BETTER than ever!!

Vail Ski Conditions December 2007

Friday, December 28th, 2007

12/31/2007 New snow again, but windy and cold. Vail Resorts probably isn’t selling too many lift tickets. China Bowl, Tea-Cup and Blue Sky were closed the whole day. 10 inches of new snow but with the wind it was all in the trees. There were 10 inches new but on the ski slopes it seemed like 3 inches. Someone said the line at Chair 5 was 45 minutes because they could only load every other chair with the wind. Ouch. But the front side there weren’t many lift lines at all. Everyone that wanted powder was stuck in only one bowl at Chair 5. The sun will be shining Jan 1 and 2.12/28/2007 O.k. I scammed a lift ticket to get up while our passes are restricted. Cold out but again, good snow. 1-2 inches each day are keeping things soft, yet the front side is a bit icy. All the Xmas vacationers are just skiing on the front side. Some small lines, but then I went in the back and NO ONE was back there. Nice soft powder snow. Empty Chairs on Chair 5. Faro glade had fresh tracks at 3pm. Chris R.12/27/2007 “Skiers lent” has started. For locals, our ski passes are restricted during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday. We have to rest our legs and leave Vail Mountain to the vacationers. It hurts to miss this snow when we are getting fresh each day. The downside for the tourists is that it has been COLD. Tomorrow the high on the mountain will be around 13 degrees. Ouch.12/26/2007 Us locals haven’t been able to ski much lately but local Owner John Taylor has. He reports the skiing as awesome. He skied with the part owner of Bart and Yetis and received a few pointers. These past weeks we’ve been receiving new snow virtually every other day. Nothing huge, but 2-4 inches every so often. Just enough to keep things soft and fresh. Still COLD.12/24/2007 John Taylor owner of 314 skied front side and said conditions are great for all levels of skiers. Something for everyone. 5 inches of new snow. Not too cold. A little too much grooming on the front. Leave some powder for us powder fools! says JT — Sun coming out late in the day. They are predicting another storm tonight!12/23/2007 Lightly snowing outside but warmer. 19 degrees. 100% of the mountain is now open. We’ve always had enough snow to open the whole mountain but we think they were waiting for employees to open the Bolshoi Ballet area for skiing. More importantly the Arrabelle shops in Lionshead are now opening! The Mall area of Lionshead is back together after 3 years and you can walk everywhere once again. It is pretty darn cool. The ice rink is not open at this time. Not sure when they’ll have that up and running.12/22/2007 Another powder day in Vail and the sun is out. I’m heading up this afternoon and hope to make a report a little later. (It was cold!) 9 degrees at 3pm, great snow however. Chris R.12/21/2007 Powder day in Vail. None of us could get up but everyone was telling us how great it was. Makes us jealous.12/20/2007 It is snowing in Vail! Only time for 2 runs this morning. Pickeroon and Columbine. 1 inch new reported but snowing hard. Conditions will be great tomorrow. No lines, yet there was a goofy guest service guy directing people at Chair 2 and bothering everyone. He had the line goofed up more than us the skiers. Sort of funny to watch. Chris R.12/19/2007 Was warm up on the mountain but we froze up in Blue Sky. Major wind with the cold front starting to come through. We did a bunch of runs on Pete’s lift in Blue Sky. Great views. I quit early due to being so cold. Skiing was great. Skied with Tom Schlader and Tom Conville. Chris R.12/17/2007 Vail ski conditions are still pretty good. They are opening the chairs at 8:30 now so Eric (Guest Services) and I went up at 8:45. There were a few icy spots in the high use areas but other than that it was great. Good groomers. Snow felt a little like styrofoam but I guess when it is 15 degrees in the early a.m., that is what we should expect. Highs in the low 30s today. We did two runs in the back. They groomed Headwall! Chris R.12/16/2007 Now we are talking!! Sunny skies, not too cold, beautiful groomers. Perfect temps in my opinion for Vail skiing (25-30 degrees F). I hit a good lift line on Chair 2 today but it was my fault (going out at 9:30am is a bad idea), but after I hit the back-bowls it was clear sailing. Chair 10 and Chair 14 are a blast since they have been replaced. For beginners it is fun to ride Chair 10 and then take FlapJack all the way around for a long, long run. Chris R.12/15/2007 Ouch, it was cold this morning up on the mountain. -3F, -20C. We did 4 runs and went in to warm up our feet. The snow is great however. I wish we could have stayed out longer during the day as it warmed up but I had to get to work. Beautiful sunshine. Chris R.12/14/2007 Burrrrr, it’s cold out there today! I don’t have even a single day on the hill yet this year, how lame am I? Another big storm is predicted but I’m not gonna hold my breath. Just a light dusting came down last night. Vailmama12/12/2007 Powder again! 8 inches of super dry snow. It was like feathers. Heaven. Another movie. Chris R.

12/11/2007 Sorry, no update today. Too busy skiing. Chris R.12/10/2007 Great day. Longest day for me of the season. I started out with Bob Grossman Owner of 208 at the Antlers at Vail. Vail Ski conditions were excellent. Powder left over from the day before and sunshine. They are predicting snow tonight. That could be neat. I later hooked up with some friends from Waconia, MN area and I ate all their food up at Two Elk. That’s the deal here. If you want a tour from a local, you might have to cough up for the food at Two Elk. Ouch. Corny Movie attached. Chris R.12/09/2007 Well…….. another 8 inches WOW! We got a good lead on everybody for the race to Chair 2 then Game Creek, Ricky’s, Milts, West Wall, Blue Sky, Chair 14, Northwoods, Mid-Vail and home. Actually we took two runs on Chair 14 for the heck of it. 120 second ride for powder turns. Too bad you’re not here. Click on the photo for a full size version. Chris R.12/08/2007 Another 8 inches of snow, but no real report from any of us today. (Sorry) I think Rob got some runs. They opened most of the back bowls. 4500 acres My ball and chain said it was incredible. Big smiles from her. She was in Blue Sky most of the day. Knee deep snow on the hill (thigh deep for the short ones). Chris R.12/07/2007 I decided to celebrate Pearl Harbor Day by making a few runs (any excuse is a good excuse). I’ll spare you any references to the skiing being “the bomb”, but it was in fact fantastic. I’m riding up chair 8 first thing, ready to head to chair 2 like usual, but the snow right under the lift was just too tempting. So I broke with tradition and came right back down under the chair. 15″ – 18″ easy. It was all the way up to your smile. 2 out of 3 turns were in unbroken snow. Make that 3 out of 4. Back up chair 8, ready to try plan A again … but on the way there, the snow on lower Ledges just looked TOO GOOD. Oops, hard left … a virtual repeat of the first run and back to the bottom. Back up and finally, I made it to the top. Everything up there was great, although part of the time you had to ski by the braille method … it was just snowing too hard to see. I ended it with an epic run down Minnie’s (almost always a sure bet for good deep pow). Back to work by 10:45 … but with a whole new attitude. I need to do this more often.Rob12/06/2007 The sales team (& Randi) took some runs this morning just to give a special report on the Vail ski conditions! Unfortunately, we didn’t venture too far due to time constraints. We had hopes of hitting Chair 26, but headed to 2. 26 & 9 are not running today. Great runs on 2. Pickeroon was especially nice & full of powder before the crowds hit it. There’s even some fun little lip hits for those of you who like to play! We headed back to the west and had our final run down on Pride which had only a few tracks in a good 5 inches of powder. (p.s. don’t tell anyone!) Katie S.12/05/07 Hey, it’s Rob here. My first day of the season (yeah, I know I don’t get out enough). Wow, conditions were GREAT! I went skiing with Mike Glass from Alpine Bank. We did the “Woods” over in Game Creek. A few sapling trees showing on the run, but it just made for some fun slalom turns. For how much snow we’ve received I was really surprised at how good it was. A series of storms are predicted Thur – Sat Rob L.12/04/07 I went up around 1pm today with the ball and chain. Pretty warm out, but awesome skiing. Man the groomers were fast. This could mean icy conditions super early a.m. tomorrow. But they are calling for snow Wed. night. We did a bunch of runs on Northwoods and GameCreek. They still haven’t opened Chair 14. Maybe they are waiting for more employees or guests. Totally no lines. Groomers made a path down the back bowls on Yonder. If we get 6-8 inches back there, they could open Chair 17, but I have my doubts on Chair 5 unless we get a foot. Chris R.12/3/2007 There probably weren’t enough people on Vail Mountain this morning to fill a school bus. It was deadsville and the skiing awesome. 2 weeks ago I pulled out my rock skis for the first time in 3 years. Today, I hopefully put them away for the ski season. I took out my new skis. It’s good out there. Now, if we don’t get snow in a week, the rocks will be popping up for sure but otherwise coverage is good for early Dec. The groomers hopefully won’t ruin everything by pulling out their plows too often (are those guys from Nebraska?) Chair 14 wasn’t open, not sure why. Chris R. >12/2/2007 Yipee! Photo above of Alan Sandberg, publisher of Vail’s The Parent’s Handbook. 11 inches new. What a day. They opened Chair 11 and it was powder skiing. The mountain has been transformed. Looks like they’ll open the new Chair 14 tomorrow for more beginner skiing. Making turns today with Rick from RJ Limosuines and Jeff Jacobs from the Westwind Condos. The mountain was loaded with locals. Wish you were here (see photo below) Chris R.12/1/2007 New snow today and still snowing! Vail ski conditions improved. 4 inches reported up on the mountain. They are opening Chairs 2, 3, 4 and 7 today, so over 500 acres of skiing. It’s about time. And of course I have to work today. More snow predicted through the weekend. Guests coming back to the hotel had grins on their faces. Good reports for Chair 4 Chris R.

Antlers at Vail Offers ‘Symposium Special’

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

New Year? Resolve to Learn Something New

Antlers at Vail offers ‘Symposium Special’

Vail, Colorado – December 27, 2007 – Some New Year’s Resolutions are easier to keep than others. Resolving to eat more tofu and do more sit-ups are certainly virtuous goals, but how about learning about something new — like the art of Bonsai? Or taking a stab at writing poetry? The Vail Symposium is a series of educational events that draws some big names and offers a diverse array of thought-provoking topics — a Madeline Albright live video conference, Islamic Extremism, Organic Cooking and Japanese Calligraphy are all on the agenda for 2008. To encourage new participants, the Antlers at Vail – the organization’s Official Hotel – is offering a ‘Symposium Special’ package with deeply discounted midweek rates. Rooms begin at just $278 per night for two people, and the rate includes admission for two to the Symposium.

The Vail Symposium is a grassroots, nonprofit organization that offers a series of educational programs billed as “thought-provoking, diverse and affordable.” This spring’s symposium features a variety of events on a wide-ranging array of topics, from cultural topics like contemporary art and a glass studio tour, to high-country offerings like a historical snowshoe trip and a presentation about fossils. The Symposium’s spring program runs through May 21, 2008, and a complete schedule can be found at www.vailsymposium.org; call (970) 476-0954 to make reservations for specific events.

Since 1972, the Antlers at Vail has offered a unique Vail lodging experience in a relaxed mountain setting. Offering 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom condominiums with full kitchens, fireplaces, and outdoor balconies, every room has all the comforts of home. The property includes a new $2 million dollar heated outdoor pool, fitness room, two hot tubs, saunas and a heated parking garage. The Antlers is also proud to be a Green Star rated business; Green Star (www.greenstarinc.org) is a voluntary national program that assists businesses in taking a hands-on role in caring for the environment. For additional information call the Antlers at 800-843-8245 and ask for the “Symposium Special” (some restrictions apply) or visit the web site at www.antlersvail.com.

Media Contacts: Rob LeVine, General Manager, The Antlers at Vail, 970.476.2471, RLeVine@antlersvail.com or Darla Worden, WordenGroup Strategic Public Relations, 307.734.5335, darla@wordenpr.com

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FREE LUNCH – WOO HOO!

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Yesterday Darci, Randi, Crissy, Eric, Kristen and I all went to the new Vail Chophouse for lunch. It was their “soft” opening … invited neighbors and friends only … just to help them work out the kinks. We were excited for a free lunch, but we really got wound up when we arrived and our super cute, South African server Karen said, “We want you to order as much as possible … soup, salad, appetizer, entree AND dessert”. Look out. We waddled home two hours later.As awesome as the lunch was, the buzz in the place (and outside) was even better. I sat down with owner Brian Nolan, Vail Jazz Foundation exec dir Mia Vlaar and PR guru Pat Peeples for a few minutes and everyone was practically giddy with the excitement of the Arrabelle opening. I’ve got to admit, after four years of talking about how great it’s going to be … it is pretty incredible.Rob

Antlers make it to Russia

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Antlers “antlers” make it to Russia…. We received this photo from Alden Thorndike at Vail Resorts central reservations. He in turn received it from some travel agents located in Moscow.Mention you saw this post to win your own free foam antlers.

Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Evelyn and I recently went to a program put on by the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability. Matt Scherr runs that organization and what a saint he his … talk about good karma. This particular program had three different developers speaking, but each with an eye towards sutainable communities, both environmentally as well as socially. Jonathan Robert, the guy from McStain homes, in Denver was great. I didn’t realize how many cool things that company does in their home building efforts. He referred to some of it as “good weird” which was fitting. Stuff like giving away a year’s worth of wind energy credits and a Vespa when you buy one of their homes, rather than the traditional discount on closing fees, or whatever.There was also a guy who called himself Farmer John (don’t remember his real last name) but he’s hoping to develop a subdivision near Buena Vist with it’s on self-sustaining farm. Pretty bold. All in all the program was great and it made me proud to be alligned with them. Now that we’re a finalist for the Green Business of the Year in the Vail Valley, it’s even more gratifying to work together. We host their speakers on a comp basis whenever necessary and for that they call us the “Official Hotel of EVAS”. It’s all fun.Rob

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Monday, December 17th, 2007

This year I procrastinated a little too long on the Christmas decorations, I think. Usually, we have a very intricate Christmas village set up in our lobby but lots of the pieces got broken last year and I just plain waited too long to put it up this year and now I feel that it wouldn’t be “worth it” to put it up just for two weeks. I was starting to get a little stressed about it until an idea came to me in a dream. I dreamed that we had a tree in the lobby covered in nothing but candy canes, and then I made it happen! I put up this little sign to let people our candy is for sharing: So far, people seem disappointed with the absence of lights (but there were none in my dream!) so I may have to add some. What do you think?12/23/7 Update: The tree has been a big success; I had to go to the store today to buy a second round of candy canes because they all got eaten!

Insider’s Tips to Affordable Vail Vacations from the Antlers at Vail

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Vail, Colorado – December 13, 2007 – Vail’s rep may be for glitter and glam, but smart skiers prefer champagne powder without champagne prices—and with plenty of après-ski fun to boot.  The Antlers at Vail hotel’s staff of savvy insiders offers 10 ideas for enjoying the snow scene without the sacrifice: 

1)     Kitchen Little: A condo with cook-in kitchen provides restaurant savings—and room to spread out.  Antlers at Vail’s January 5 – 31, 2008, promotion offers a 20 percent-off five-night deal with package rates starting from $701 per person for two adults and two kids—including four-day lift tickets. (800) 843-8245, www.antlersvail.com.

2)     Nature’s Way: Hear naturalists under the stars at free Nature at Night program at Vail’s mountaintop adventure center, Adventure Ridge.  Or try free family movie night, $10 bungee trampoline, or free moonlight snowshoe tours.  (970) 476-9090, www.vail.snow.com.

3)     Ice Capades: Lace up your blades at Vail’s favorite NHL training stop, Dobson Arena.  Public skating, $3-6; skate rentals, $3.  (970) 479-2271, www.vailrec.com.  Or try the free outdoor ice at Lionshead’s new Arrabelle development, slated to open January 2008.

4)     Night Light: The Back Bowl offers retro bowling in a high-tech facility, including Neon Nights’ glow-in-the-dark balls.  All-you-can-bowl weeknights, $10.95.  (970) 328-BOWL, www.thebackbowl.com.

5)     Culture Club: Vail Symposium’s thought-provoking offerings include a free Madeline Allbright talk via satellite, January 19, and documentary films, $11.  (970) 476-0954, www.vailsymposium.org.

6)     Get Squirrelly: Free Bud Light Street Beat Concert Series includes Squirrel Nut Zippers performing January 16, Vail Village. www.vvf.org.

7)     Cheap Eats: Savor a Coleman beef Lark burger with organic fixins plus a beer for under $20 at Larkspur at the base of Chair 6; bite into a Big Cheesy Calzone, $6.95, at Bagali’s funky Lava Lounge, West Vail; or order a slice and a beer at ski patrol hangout Vendetta’s on Bridge Street, Vail.

8)     Board Story: View primitive gear and ski-world legends at the free Colorado Ski & Snow Museum at the Vail Transportation Center. (970) 476-1876, www.skimuseum.net.

9)     Water World: Make a splash at Avon Rec Center’s aquatic facility with giant slide and aqua climbing wall. Day pass, $10-14; $7 Twilight Pass, 7-9 p.m. (970) 748-4060, www.avon.org.

10)  Breaking News: Vail Daily’s events calendar tracks area doings from January beer fest to free ballroom dancing, www.vaildaily.com.

Media Contacts: Rob LeVine, General Manager, The Antlers at Vail, (970) 476-2471, RLeVine@antlersvail.com or Darla Worden, WordenGroup Strategic Public Relations, (307) 734-5335, darla@wordenpr.com

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The Christmas Party

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Last night was the Antlers Christmas party at Vista Restaurant in Arrowhead. They just opened in the Arrowhead location and their new space is very impressive. They have dark leather chairs that are the most comfortable restaurant chairs in which I have ever sat.The turnout was great with about sixty people attending this year, including all of our families.Our very own Santa (aka Hap) made his annual visit and handed out gifts for everyone. The children were posing on Santa’s lap while their parents snapped pictures and it must have looked like a lot of fun because the next time I looked up, the adults were posing on Santa’s lap for their Christmas shots too! As usual, everyone had a great time and good conversation, and lots of fun opening their presents. I’m already looking forward to the next gathering!There was a type-o on the menu which had salmon spelled s-a-m-o-n. Here is Rob coming up with the “very funny” joke of dubbing it the “Christmas Salmon-because it’s got no L”:

Vail December skiing

Friday, December 7th, 2007

‘SnowWitch’ joins you today to divulge some hidden pleasures in early December skiing at Vail!!Ski early in the day – you’ll get some powder runs and the slopes won’t be crowded (I know, it’s torture to get up early when out here on vacation….unless you’re from the East Coast and then it seems like it is mid-day at 9 am!!)Ski front-side at Vail when there is new powder – everyone else will be in Gamecreek Bowl…..and you’ll have Lodgepole and Christmas to yourself!Take advantage of early-bird or early season restaurant discounts – often 30% off entres is offeredStop for a break at Wildwood – their apple pie is the best (with whipped cream of course!)More later – good skiing!!