“As the ANTLERS TURN….” scene 5 by Gz

I was feeling a bit stupid standing there thinking I was some sort of Green Hornet who had rushed to saved the place from burning down.  Now I was thinking, “I wonder if I could use the women’s changing room since the other would be out of order for awhile.”                  

It was after midnight now and a crowd was gathering.  Rob showed up and stood next to our newly hired Preservation Manager who was questioning himself and the decision to accept employment at the Antlers.  They watched the fire together and only sober thoughts ran through their heads.                         

 A 25 year vet, Rob thought “the end of an era.”               

Tom thought “I’ve been working here for 2 weeks and the pool burns down.       

Tom ponders Antlers interview tactics

 What have I gotten into?”                          

We had a lot of guests in house because the skiing was great and they all had a birds eye view from their balconies.  I was on the other end of the pool deck wondering why there was no water coming out of the hoses.                

The only fires I have ever been around are the ones I’ve started.  I was setting them as a wee lad burning my plastic army men behind the garage.  When I matured to adolescence, I started them on the High School Campus after a football game.  Now that I’m really mature, I’ve been spotted behind the Antlers sitting next to my campfire on Gore Creek.  Always under control of course.  I’ve never seen a “real”  fire when the the red trucks and sirens and lights flashing and uniformed officers were needed to put the thing out and they have those really cool plastic hats and I wonder if they really slide down a pole and….                                 

It’s amazing how professional they are.  I remember now all the equipment being put in place.  The hoses being dragged around to proper position.  They were  methodical and efficient. After the set up,  I heard the a radio call to “hit the water”.  Within minutes, the inferno was extinguished.  Man, there is some serious water pressure that runs through those hoses.                  

We wanted to blame the cabana boy but we didn't have one

  The mess  that was left the next day was not a pretty site. Our crack maintenance crew had the well roasted building torn down and shoveled away with-in a couple of days.  Now a   decision needed to be made. We were in the middle of ski season and who doesn’t want to swim a few laps and use a hot tub after an exhilarating day on the mountain? Should we keep the pool open? El Jefe called an emergency meeting and wanted input.                    

 Knowing I was one of the people who took advantage of a hot tub after a day of skiing, I decided to give my 2 cents worth.  I was thinking selfish selfish but didn’t want to appear as such.   So I said “We have to keep the pool open.  I would…I mean our guests would be totally upset if they had know where to soak .”    


 Tom offered the thought of building a wall where the fire left most of the damage.  “That will keep inquisitive minds from falling through the hole.”              

Rob ultimately decided to add some water and keep it open

Construction began that spring and anyone staying here (and me) in the interim, shared pools and hot tubs with our neighbors until we were proud owners of a brand new, state of art, swimming pool complex.  This one has new changing rooms with showers, hot hot tubs, gardens that are unsurpassed and we even threw in a couple of  flushing toilets.         

     Action and “you had to be there to appreciate it” scenarios are still developing, so no tease for the next scene. It’s getting busy here so just stay tuned……      


It was worth the wait



Vail Back Bowl drama Chair 5

Vail mountain’s new Chair 5 High Noon Express is still being worked on (photo from 11/22/10).  A sign nearby says that they’ll be opening in mid-December, so people are a bit worried and bummed.  With some of the best early season snow in the last 6-7 years, everyone is ready to get in the Vail Back Bowls to hit the powder.  Well, the lift isn’t ready yet, so what are we going to do !

It started me thinking what the old timers, such as Bert Farin (Antlers alumni) and our G.M. Rob LeVine would say.  Apparently years ago, Chair 5 was shut down for an entire winter due to a broken bull wheel!  I sent both of them an e-mail to see if they remembered the details.  

Bert responds:

“My first winter in Vail was 78-79.  The next season I had moved to Jackson Hole and that was the year Chair 5 was shut down.  So it was the winter of 79-80.  If I recall, it had to do with the cable.  I think they tried to add triple chairs to the old cable and it wasn’t safe, so the State shut down the lift for the whole season.  I was in JH so it didn’t affect me, but I was thinking it would suck to be in Vail and not have access to the b.b.  Ironically that was a poor snow season in both WY and CO, so maybe it wasn’t the end of the world.  I should get double credit for knowing the history even when I wasn’t in town.  Bummer about not having the lift ready to go.  At least you still have access to China Bowl and Category III (see I am an old dude).”

Rob LeVine responds:

“Proving once again that my memory ain’t so good … I thought it was around 82 or 83.  However, I totally trust Bert’s recollection.  I do remember how bummed (and pissed) everyone was when it was finally announced, but Bert’s right … it wasn’t a banner year for snow, so it could have been worse.

Not surprisingly, there were folks who would ski down and then either ski out Two Elk trail, or hike back up … similar to the old stories about Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton.  You know that “Forever” referred not to how long the run seemed, but to how long it took those pioneers to hike back out.   I’m afraid I don’t recall much else.”

Well, hopefully we don’t have much more of a wait…

Chris Ratzlaff

Rub the Antlers front desk for luck

Legend has it that rubbing Buddhas belly will bring you luck. Well I’m starting to think that being at Antlers Front desk area is luckier. So far in our towns ritualistic prize giveaway events the Antlers and friends have cleaned up. Even people just sitting at our table during the Red Lions bingo nights were luckier just from our presence. Just for the bingo night we had an Antlers associate win a limited edition Fat Tire bike (the grand prize of a bingo night) and a friend of ours at the table won a snowboard on a different night (also a grand prize). Also, a myriad of the smaller prizes have ended up in our groups possession (nerf footballs, hats, t-shirts etc.).

To make matters even better, during the pub crawls Vail PM throws every Tuesday night (last one is this coming Tuesday ending at Samana) our luck continues. One of our front desk associates came away with 2 Denver Nuggets tickets a few weeks ago at the George on Bridge St. Most recently I finally felt the love when I came away from this past Tuesdays pub crawl with the grand prize of an Epic Pass! Sadly I have already been provided one by my gracious employers so I either need to give it away or save it for next year. I guess I’m stuck here in Vail for another season. Drat…

Antlers resident lucky geek

The Dogs of Winter, December 17th – Antlers at Vail

Come visit us for a casual, funfilled afternoon celebrating the wintery breeds.  Bring your Husky, Bernie, St. Bernard or Elkhound.

Interlopers like Cavalier Kings, Min-Pins and yes, even wiener dogs will be graciously tolerated.

Come one, come all.  Have a cup of hot wine and a dog biscuit.  You decide who gets what.

Pictures with Santa Paws, a prize drawing for a Vail dog sled trip, but mostly just some howling good conversation (who’s your vet?)

Friday, December 17th from  2:00-5:00pm in the Antlers at Vail hotel courtyard.  For those that need a room, we are offering a  special with a twist.  A mountain view Studio suite that night is $280.  Instead of the normal $15 extra for pets, if you bring your dog it’s $15 LESS … $265.  Free upgrade to a one-bedroom condo if requested.  You’ll have to call us direct at 888-268-5377 to book this special day.   Entry to event in the courtyard is free.

                                Maggie, the Antlers wonderdog

“as the ANTLERS TURN…”scene 4 by Gz

Not Hogan but kinda sounds like him

  Ben and Hogan were working the front desk this particular evening.  Ben was playing video games and Hogan was writing a thesis titled “Currency, Inflation, Social Engineering and Why I Need a Break”.  It was quiet until the phone rang and Hogan answered.  The person on the other end, who was an employee of the Marriott said,  “We just dialed 911.  There is a fire behind your building.”                      

 Hogan, who had no inflection in his voice, ever, said “Thanks for the call”.  He hung up, looked at Ben and said “The pools on fire”.  Ben jumped to his feet knocking over his chair and ran out the lobby screaming “You call Rob and I’ll tell Greg!”  To this day, I don’t know why he didn’t just call me.                       

Hogan picked up the phone and dialed Robs cell number.  There was no answer on the other end so he just left a message.  “Good evening Rob.  This is Hogan at the front desk.  The pools on fire.  Other than that, everything is normal”, and he hung up.                          

Not Ben but kinda looks like him

I remember Ben as a big guy with a genuine smile.  Not this night however, He was just a big guy in panic.  After he nearly had beaten my door down to make the announcement The pool’s on fire!  The pools on fire!’, I watched him run down the hall.  He went to the right and turned around, shouted an explitive, and fell over a bench.                     


I went to the pool in what I would consider a fast, walking pace (I was trotting) wondering how that pool water started on fire (I’m originally from the Cleveland area).  I arrived and was almost relieved to see the men’s changing room was totally engulfed in flames.                         

 For those that haven’t been here before the fire, you need to know of some of the attractions of the original pool area.  Frozen boards that had splinters, the “portable hot” tub never stayed hot, an ice rink around the pool from splashing, but we did have gas heated changing rooms with no toilets. 
 I was amazed at the height of the flames when I arrived.  You really couldn’t get close to the action and while some employees and a few guests stood there doing a rain dance, I said to myself, self “Do you remember where the gas shut off valve is?”       

I had to deduce that the flames were being fed by the natural gas and turning off the valve should slow the burn.  The fire department hadn’t even arrived so I thought I would take things into control.  I didn’t have a flashlight when I went below the decking area to find the gas valve.  First thing that happened was a confrontation with an old pipe in the dark.  I walked right into it and it didn’t give an inch.  I fell on my derriere and exclaimed “THAT’S GOING TO LEAVE A x!!x!#! MARK.”  I persisted and crawled through the rumble and dirt to get to the valve.  I could see now because the wood deck was on fire above me and it was giving off plenty of light (and heat).                          

I thought to myself, self  “Who in the hell do you think you are? Antonio Bandarus?  What in the world are you doing  down here?”  I got to the valve and turned it off, went back up to the deck and the Fire Department had arrived to save the day.  I felt the blood flowing down my face from the losing battle with the pipe below and then I heard an officer in blue yell at me to “Get Back Now!”                          

He turned to his comrades and yelled to them “Does anyone know where the gas shut off valve is?”………..           

Vail family ski vacation

With the early snow opening a LOT of the mountain, families are already coming into town for a quick vail family ski vacation at the Antlers at Vail.  The kids are loving the fresh snow and groomed trails so early in the season.  They want to be in top shape for Thanksgiving week so as to add up as much vertical feet as possible.

Everyone is happy we have so much open.

Working on the “tuck”

Getting a boost across the flats

Its Starting To Look A Lot Like Christmas…..(Dec. 18-25)

The holidays in Vail can be a magical combination.  This year looks to be better than ever with Vail’s, week long,  Holidaze celebration.  The holiday activities include Snowman decorating, kids glow stick parties, and free concerts by Milkshake and Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could.  Got a sweet tooth?  I hope so, because Brownies and Candy Canes will be given away at the base areas all week.  All these fun, family activities, along with some great early season snow, promise to make Vail “the place to be” this holiday season.

Vail’s Opening Day Will be Gigantic!

We have received nearly 3 feet of fluffy snow in the last week!

Vail Mountain has announced the mountain will open on Friday, November 19th at 9:00 am with 1,150 acres of skiable terrain and 9 lifts.

The following lifts and portions of terrain in these areas will be open

Avanti Express Lift (#2)

Wildwood Express Lift (#3)

Mountaintop Express Lift (#4)

Game Creek Express Lift (#7)

Born Free Express Lift (#8)

Northwoods Express Lift (#11)

Little Eagle Lift (#15)

Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16)

Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19)

Opening day celebrations include complimentary hot cocoa and $1 breakfast burritos at the base of the Eagle Bahn gondola with many other samples and giveaways. There will also be a free concert by Front Range Duo Big Gigantic at 3:30pm in Vail Square. Don’t forget the Antlers is offering a smoking deal for opening weekend with Studio and 1 Bedroom condos at just $168 a night.

“As the ANTLERS TURN….” scene 3 by Gz

Myrna has been working on the Antlers Housekeeping staff for 5 years and like the rest of the crew, goes about her business everyday without anything to write home about really.  This was not one of those days.     

She’s a small girl, I would consider her almost petite, and very soft spoken.  We could have taken bets that the deafening scream did not resonate from her. Did I mention that she is zoophobic (the fear of animals)? The Antlers is a pet friendly lodging establishment and she is never scheduled to service rooms when a dog or cat checks-in and brings their owner.     

Rob should have told Darci, who should have told Gladys, who should have told Myrna why the guest in 524 moved to 604.  Suspecting no surprises, Myrna and Ramona arrived to do their duties after the radio call.     

Poor thing….She was stripping the sheets of the hide-a-way bed and when she pulled them off, a little fury Marmot lunged out of the ball of sheets and directly at her.  Its front paws got stuck up in the large pocket of the smock she was wearing.  One claw got tangled up in the material while the other three little legs thrashed about ripping at her clothing.  Hence, the scream.     

When I got there with the cage trap to catch the bear cub, she was lying in the corridor with a cool compress on her forehead.  I stepped around all the others that were trying to compose her.  I poked my head into 524 and turned back around and asked “Has anyone seen a bear in this room?”     

I never saw the little pest, but I was sure now that it was cowering somewhere in the condominium.  No need to interview Myrna on the validity of  its presence.  I set the trap with a carrot donated by Katie and left the area.     

I don’t particularly like animal surprises either, so without admitting it,  I commandeered an army to check the status of the animal trapping.  It was now our job to safely entrap the intruder and relocate it to a place where he could be free to raise a family of its own.  It had been hours and myself, Darci, Amy and Randi went to check on the progress.     

We opened the door and the four of us, looking like Larry, Curly, Moe (and Shemp), poked only our heads into the unit.  Darci went in first and the rest of us followed.  You would have thought it was the introduction of a new infant. “Ahhhhhhhh.  He is Sooo Cute.  Ohhhh. Look at him.  Look at those sad eyes.”  Then he hissed.     

Murray the Marmot never touched the carrot

There he was, resting comfortably in the confines of his new prison cell.  He was under arrest for breaking and entering and the damage he had done to a private residence without a permit.  The carpet had been ripped back at all the doorways, pictures were knocked ajar, wooden blinds had been eaten and screen doors torn.     

We never figured how the little marmot got into the unit, but we were all happy it wasn’t a bear.  Myrna was fine after a bit of a rest and some therapy.  She actually got a new smock and went right back to work.  The guests that were “inconvenienced” were fine after our apologies and actually stayed an additional night. Tom, the Antlers Preservation Manager, took our little bundle of joy home with him and found a nice place in the forest where, as rumor has it, he found a girlfriend and they are homesteading somewhere above Minturn.     

……..As I have mentioned, it’s October and things are relatively quiet around here.  Because there is a lack of continuing excitement, I thought I would go back in time a bit…….     

I was on call this particular evening in January of 2003.  It was 10:30 pm or there abouts, and a knock on my door.  No, let me clarify.  It was a pounding on my door, as if the whole thing would come crashing down if I didn’t answer in seconds.     

I was in my Big Labowski Robe and hurried to the door to see what in the world I had done to make someone so mad at me.  It was Ben from the front desk and his eyes were as big as saucers and panicked.     

“The pool’s on fire!  The pool’s on fire!”……….