“As the Antlers Turn”….scene 10

Vlasta, Jack and Gerda enjoy a glass of wine while we enjoy their company at the Wine and Cheese gathering on Tuesday

One of the pleasures of working here has been the opportunity I’ve had to meet and get to know the owners and guests that call the Antlers Hotel their home away from home. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m not shy, and if you should ask me a simple question like “How’s your day going?” it has often taken me a half hour to answer.  What I really enjoy is asking people about “their story” and absorbing what they have to say. I have heard some great testimony about success, failure, family and just life in general over the years.            

Meet Vlasta Giese, Jack Joseph and his bride Gerda.  Each one of them have a story that easily could be put into novel form.  I have chosen to keep this at 700 words or less and write the “made for movie” screenplay later.  If all three look happy in this photo, it’s because they are.  “Don’t sweat the little stuff” is what Vlasta will tell you any day of the week.  Jack and Gerda would concur.           

Vlasta Giese is 88 years young and came to this country from Czechoslovakia in 1949.  She will tell you “I was very fortunate to get out.  It was just after the “Ruskiis” occupied my country and this, just after the Germans had left.”  I asked her when she started skiing and she said “I remember before the occupation I hiked up to Krkonosky with my friends.  We had to walk all the way and it took many hours.”    (Fun Fact:  That translates to skiing for more than 70 years.)  She has been coming to the Antlers to ski and hike for nearly 20 years. She also requests that we open the pool early so she can swim her daily laps.        

Gerda Joseph, age 81, left her native Austria in 1948.  She also experienced WW II and the un-welcome occupation of Vienna.  She will explain “As a child, I don’t remember being frightened as much as I was bewildered.  To this day, I don’t believe that anything else has compared to that experience.”  She also learned to ski  “after taking street cars to the city limits and hiking for miles through the Vienna Woods”.  After her migration to the States, she managed to attend Colorado College as an exchange student and returned to the University of Vienna and received her degree in 1952.  (Fun Fact:  Rob LeVine also attended Colorado College so that means Gerda was there before he was born.)        

Jack Joseph was born in 1926 in Chicago and he will tell you “Even if you’ve never picked up a history book, you probably know there were a few things I lived through that were not considered the best of times in American history.”  He also admits that “I don’t have as much experience skiing as Gerda.  I only started sometime in the early 60’s after I married her.  For me, my skiing adventures began at Indian Head Mountain in Upper Michigan”.  He thought for a second and continued, “I think they had about 300 acres of terrain back then and 400 feet of vertical.  Vail gives us a little more to enjoy”  he said with a wink and a smile.      

Jack and Gerda purchased a condominium at the Antlers in 2008 and stay for several months during the winter season.  You can spot both of them every morning at 8:30 AM heading to the gondola.  “We like to get out there before the crowds.”        

Vlasta likes to sleep in.  “I want it to warm up a bit before I hit the slopes.  Besides, the “hunks” don’t get out there until later in the day anyway”. 

Trust me….if you have not met these people in your life…be patient…and they will introduce themselves…and just make you happy…because you know them.

Greg Ziccardi

Vail groomers are trying to keep up on Vail mountain

Lots of snow this past week and it started snowing out again this morning (Friday).  In the last 7 days Vail mountain has received 40 inches.  256 inches so far this year.  The Vail groomers have been particularly busy trying to keep up.  The Antlers is filling up faster than ever with the recent snow so we are sorry if we are sold-out for your dates.  Call soon as the Antlers condominium/hotel is still offering 15% off for select dates when you stay longer five nights or more.   

Powder Heaven in January in Vail!

While everyone else was recovering from New Year’s Eve parties on New Year’s Day, we were taking advantage of the first week of 2011 by skiing – what a wonderful time we had – friends, kids in ski school & more – even one day with 5″ new and some of my group’s first time in Western Vail powder!!  It was powder heaven.

From The SnowWitch

“As the Antlers Turn….”scene 9

This is the Vail Police dispatch office.  We just received a 911 call from one of your guests……….”

It was Tuesday if my mind serves me correctly.  We are in full swing at the Antlers.  Guests have arrived from all corners of the planet and there is a festive mood as the holidays are upon us.  The CME vans are pulling into the courtyard and dropping luggage wherever they can find a place to put it.  Parents are unfolding themselves from the vans and some have that look of stupefaction that stems from the 16 hours of travel to get here.  There are the usual greetings from the front desk “cool kids” as they help with luggage and get our travelers situated.  The children immediately run to make snowballs and start tossing them at the cool kids.  Mark takes one in the cheek and says not a word.  Happy, Happy, Happy.

This is pretty much the order of the days this time of year.  Check-ins, check-outs, answer a lot of question with regard to restaurants, lift tickets and ski school inquiries.  The Engineering department will get calls to fix TVs and DVD players that are not broken, fireplaces that will not light and rooms that are too cold.  It is the usual kind of thing that we handle in a typical 18 hour day. We have pride in ourselves and always remain professional even though it can get a bit repetitive.  It’s what happens after the 18 hours, between midnight and 6:00AM, that gets interesting and certainly not routine.

I was the on call manager this particular evening.  As long as I’ve been doing this, I’ve never been totally at ease when I finally do fall asleep.  Kind of like “sleeping with one eye open”.  I’m always thinking in a comatose state “Will there be a pool fire tonight or a noise disturbance that is unexplained after investigation?  Late check-ins are always common.”   Nonetheless, if I am woken up in the middle of the night, it’s nearly impossible to fall back asleep.

I have a phone in Unit 101 that belongs in the Smithsonian when I retire it.  The ring tone is unique and LOUD and it has never failed to make me leap from bed when it is activated.  There was a ting-a-ling at 3:00am this particular morning and the Police  Dispatcher explained the call.  “A guest from another unit just dialed 911 and apparently there is someone locked out on their balcony.  He is yelling for help.  I have sent an officer to the Antlers to investigate.”  The challenge was in front of me.  I will beat the officer to the punch and rescue the guest before the officer gets here.

I threw on some boots, and a jacket over my pajamas.  There was no time for make-up….  a guest needed to be rescued from the 10 degree temps.  I hustled to the back of the building  along the bike path and sheepishly started to yell up to the balconies above me.  “Hello.  Is there anybody up there?  Hello.  Can you hear me?  Hello.”

Finally there was a response to my bellows in the dark.  “Dude.  I’m over here and I’m freezing my …. off.  There’s something wrong with this door.  It doesn’t open.”  He was only a few floors up and I assured him that help was on it’s way.  I hustled to the 3rd floor to consummate the rescue.

I entered the unit within a minute or two and thought it was peculiar that all the lights were on, the TV was on and 3 digits past earsplitting, and something was cooking on the stove.  I thought to myself.  “This guy works nights or he has some serious jet lag going on.”

I noticed immediately the cute, little pooch in the Antlers condominium.  He didn’t come running over and greet me as an intruder with a snarl or a bark.  He was sitting directly in front of the sliding glass door, his tail wagging back and forth.  He turned only his head around and said “Are you here to save my Master?”  I answered “Yes” and opened the locked door.

“Ohhhh thanks dude.  How does this door work anyway?” he asked me.  I showed him and said “If that’s it, I’m going back to bed.” 

 He said “Thanks again dude.  I’m going to eat my dinner.” 

 I didn’t want to have a puzzled look on my face but I know I did.

The police officer showed up just as I was leaving  and asked me “Is everything under control?” 

 “Routine….almost. Thanks for coming by.  I’m going back to bed.”

Montauk Seafood Grill

Ask any Antlers employee where they go for seafood and chances are they will say Montauk. With fresh fish and seafood flown in daily Montauk Seafood Grill is the perfect restaurant if you have a hankering for some coastal fare while land locked in the mountains. Located in Lionshead Village, just steps from the Antlers, it is an ideal location for guests not wanting to venture too far from their condo. While Montauk specializes in seafood they also have a variety of steaks and an ever-changing grill list.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   A few of my menu favorites are the malpeque oysters on the half shell,

Crispy Calamari

Rhode Island calamari with basil aioli & tomato caper dipping sauces, Hawaiian ahi tuna, and the herb crusted halibut. Other Antlers favorites include the lobster mac and cheese with mascarpone and aged white cheddar and chives, Alaskan king crab legs and the specialty cocktails.

Here are some of our Montauk pictures taken over the last few months

Former employee Rob Gray ready to chow down on some crab

Ratz, Darci, Sara, Joe, Amy, Mark and Tyler

Oyster Shooters......Bottoms up!

Amy is really excited to eat!