Linden Hill Boys Ski Trip

In 2009 I was working at a school in Northfield, MA called Linden Hill School. It was the oldest boarding school in the country for Middle School aged boys with Learning Disabilities. My father had worked at Linden Hill School for 30 years and was the Asst. Headmaster; my mother was the Academic Dean. I had been a part of the Linden Hill family for 32 years. I loved the school, faculty and the boys who were there working on their education. Every year there were always a few boys that could not go home for the Thanksgiving week due to distance. The school did its best to place these boys with a classmate’s family or faculty member for the week.

That year I took a cross-country trip in an RV from Massachusetts to Colorado with three students from Abu Dhabi, visiting many tourist sites and states along the way. On this trip we drove through Vail and I realized I really wanted to visit in the winter to ski. After this 19-day 9000-mile road trip, I started to develop a plan to ski at Vail.

I planned to bring a group of students, so I had some important criteria for the Vail hotel where we would stay. The hotel accommodations needed to accommodate the entire group in one condo. It had to have a kitchen so I could cook and prepare meals for the group. It needed to be within in walking distance of a ski lift so we could just dress and go. And, it needed to be affordable. After searching and searching I found the ANTLERS AT VAIL, WHICH MET ALL OF THE CRITERIA!

As I was planning the trip for myself and 3 other boys, word got around that I was planning a ski trip to Vail. Parents started calling me and telling me that their son was also asking to spend Thanksgiving with me in Vail. I ultimately ended up bringing 8 students on the trip. 2 boys were from Abu Dhabi, 2 from Saudi Arabia, 3 from Mexico and 1 from Costa Rica.

The weekend before Thanksgiving we boarded a plane and flew out to Colorado. After landing and getting our rental vehicle we headed to Vail. Out of the 8 boys 4 had seen snow before, 3 had seen it once and 1 had never seen snow or skied before! While driving to Vail the boys were so excited to see the spectacular Rocky Mountains and to go through the tunnels. We loved the views. But I will admit that driving in the snow gave me white knuckles (though more from the precious cargo I had in the car then from the snow)!

When we arrived at Antlers at Vail the boys thought it was amazing! Our accommodations were awesome with a small condo that fit us tight but well. There was a complete kitchen and plenty of space for them to relax. The location was perfect. We were close to all of the attractions Vail has to offer, and we were less than 5 min to the lift! It was a great week and I know the boys loved it.

The memories I have with these boys at Antlers and Vail are priceless. Even more these days because the school I had called home for 32 years has now closed. The Antlers hotel is a fantastic lodge for groups. It allowed me to have this great time and give these kids an experience they and I will never forget!

Thank You Antlers at Vail

JP Sanieski, 2010 Antlers at Vail guest

Nothing But Platinum Rated Condos

We used to just be in the condominium management and short term vacation rental business, but now we find ourselves in the construction business as well.

Like every vacation condominium property in the world, we wrestle with individual unit decorating and variance of quality.  After forty plus years of non-stop pleading with some owners to “fix it up”, we have just instituted a formal Unit Quality Improvement plan.  Now we are not only encouraging and rewarding those condominium owners who invest the most, but now we also have some sticks to go with those carrots.

As a result, 43 out of our 88 rental units have made, or are making, upgrades to their property.  Some are big projects, some smaller, but all are meaningful improvements.  And that’s in just this year … we expect to have that much and more, in the next couple years following.   Which brings us to the construction business.  If we’re going to become a completely Platinum rated property, as is our goal, we can’t just tell our condominium owners, “You go figure it out.”

Rather, it’s our job to facilitate everything from new furniture and soft goods, to new flooring, windows, appliances, cabinets and some major renovations.

Tom c

Antlers at Vail Chief Engineer, Tom Schlader

Pete Sampson, the newest addition to the Antlers engineering department

Pete Sampson, the newest addition to the Antlers engineering department

Fortunately our Chief Engineer, Tom Schlader, is an accomplished contractor in his own right.  It’s a good thing, because coordinating and implementing this many simultaneous but diverse projects is way more than a handful.  So much so, that we just brought on long-time local Pete Sampson to help Tom in that role.  Pete’s been working as a project manager for a high-end home builder, so his skills are exactly what we need.

The Antlers commitment in this regard is enormous … in both time and money.  That’s okay though.  Like so many others, our business model is changing and we can  either embrace that change, or get run over.

Happily, we plan on being the runner, not the runee.

Actively Green for 2015

AG_Certified

The Antlers at Vail once again is taking the lead.

The Antlers, along with The Wren (East-West Resorts) and the Sonnenalp, are the first resorts in Eagle County to be certified by the Town of Vail and Sustainable Travel International (STI) as “Actively Green for 2015“.

Actively Green is the brain trust of Kristen Bertuglia, the Sustainable Director for the Town of Vail, and Kim Langmaid who chairs the  Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.  The goal is to certify 100 businesses in the Valley before the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships which are scheduled to be held in Vail and Beaver Creek. The process is rigorous and the intent is to show the world that our Valley is in harmony, not only with the environment, but with each other with regard to business operations.

The process began back on September 4th when the Antlers hosted the first STI Educational  Seminar with 20 other business’s.  The training for certification is an intense exercise that covers 21 steps that need to be addressed and adopted as policy.

The criteria range from educating employees and guests about green practices, tracking waste, energy and water use, monitoring green house gases, responsible purchasing and simply pledging to be a good neighbor in our community.

The certification is a “living document”.

Data is gathered and documented into categories on a monthly basis.  This information is then used to determine the environmental impact we are having as we operate our business.  Hopefully, we will see savings in water and energy use and demonstrate to employees and clients the importance of our efforts.

We are proud to be on the forefront of this effort and are excited for the all the businesses that will be joining us soon.

2015 and the World Ski Championships just aren’t that far off.

Greg

 

PS – Without our own Sustainability Coordinator (Greg Ziccardi) the Antlers wouldn’t be in the leadership position we are, both in terms of this Actively Green certification, as well as all of our ongoing efforts.  -Rob

 

Congratulations to Magda King as VVP Hospitality Professional of the Year Finalist

Magdalena King, Antlers at Vail Assistant Manager, is a finalist for the VVP Hospitality Professional of the Year

Magdalena King, Antlers at Vail Assistant Manager, is a finalist for the VVP Hospitality Professional of the Year

Magdalena King came to work at the Antlers at Vail as Conference Services Manager six years ago, and shortly thereafter moved into the position of Director of Sales. She has been our assistant manager now for just over a year. We are so proud to share the news that she has not only been nominated as the Vail Valley Partnership’s (VVP) Hospitality professional of the Year, but last week was named as one of three finalists vying for the final honor.

Magda is originally from Ecuador, speaks four languages fluently, and until recently served on the board of the local chapter of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). She is a wonderful mother of two charming children, and she still manages to find time to teach English to and lead a book club for our housekeeping staff. We receive many lovely thank you notes from guests specifically thanking Magda for her warm welcome and assistance. And, perhaps most importantly, she challenges us all to be better.

We are so happy to have her as a such an integral part of our team and hope she receives the recognition she deserves and is named Hospitality Professional of the Year. We’re cheering for you Magda!

How Soon we Forget

Maybe it’s 9-11, Katrina or Sandy.  Maybe it’s Columbine or the fires in Colorado in recent years.  Maybe it’s the floods that ravaged Colorado just a few months ago that were called “Biblical in proportion”.  Whatever your memory of a disaster, unless you are completely immersed in the tragedy at hand, we have a tendency to move on and forget there are people who have been maimed, displaced or emotionally altered for life (and in all likelihood, all of the above).

Most recently, Boulder County was battered with nearly 17 inches of rain in 3 days and thousands of people were effected.  The majority of us moved on with our daily lives while they had to put theirs back together.

We here at the Antlers had the opportunity to help one of these victims.  His name is David and he lost everything. It was his girlfriend Denise (a former school teacher in Eagle) and the United Methodist Church in Boulder that spread the word.   David needed help.  She reached out to her friends and the Antlers donated a place for him to stay for a month (free of charge) until he got back on his feet.

I had the pleasure of getting to know this young man and he shared with me some of what he had been through.  This is a short account of his pain and pleasure:

After a week, he was permitted to inspect the damage the rains had caused.

….”For the next 7 days I watched this waterway flow through my unit.  During those 7 days I thought of why this had happened?  How it could have happened to me?  Who’s fault was it that this building was destroyed?  How would I be compensated?  etc.  I built up anger, dealt with sadness and the realization that while it was just stuff, it was everything….photos and heirlooms…childhood collections….dishes and furniture…everything.”

“Most of my things were buried in 4 feet of mud and raw sewage that had solidified as hard as concrete.  I simply could not dig it out.  Everything else was gone.  It had floated down the St Vrain River with everyone else s stuff.”

“The insurance companies were quick to point out that I had coverage on every imaginable event; but not a flood.  So starting from scratch is where I found myself.  It was lonely and scary.”

… “In the end, more than anything,  it was a lesson in kindness” he told me.  “Folks sweated and worked themselves to exhaustion without regard for why.  They did it out of pure kindness.

“Then I met all the good folks at the Antlers.  From their kindness and that of the owners of the condominiums, I had found a home base from which I could put together a game plan and get back on my feet.”

He continued.  “That time was a turning point for me, a very positive one at that.  From the Antlers I was able to secure a full-time job in the mountains (he had been working as a part time contractor) and locate a fully furnished apartment in Steamboat.”

Maybe a lesson for all of us is what he said as he was packing up his truck to move on and settle in his new place.

“I may never have a nice collection of pots and pans again (or need them), nor will I get to sit back and look at pictures of my grandpa standing by his WW II fighter plane, but I am moving to the mountains to realize a dream.  Best of all, I have a greater appreciation of what can happen to ones mindset or state of being if you lend a hand to a person in time of need.”

“The people in Boulder and the folks at the Antlers helped me see the positive in a rough situation that could have easily brought me to a dark place. ”

“So thank you…thank you to all those that made the effort to lend a hand.  The impact was greater than you’ll ever know.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

David at “home” in one of his temporary accommodations at the Antlers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Loading up the few items he had and on his way to Steamboat.

Best of luck with everything moving forward David.  Glad we could help.

Greg

 

 

Setting the Standard for Condo Improvements: Reaching Platinum Ratings

In 2000, 70 individual Antlers homeowners came together, agreed on a plan, collectively assumed risk and then successfully completed a $22 million renovation and addition in 2002. A billion dollar new dawn of Vail followed. The Antlers is once again setting the sights high for property improvements. At the last Antlers homeowners meeting there was an overwhelming consensus to embark on a plan to become a platinum rated property within the next four years. The majority of improvements are to the interiors of the condos and require the individual owner to make a considerable investment. 39 owners have agreed to make significant improvements to unit quality in the coming year. Garo and Val are one of the first Antlers homeowners to make those improvements to their unit and reach the goal of having a platinum rated unit.

Garo & Val

Garo & Val nearing the end of their remodel of the home at the Antlers.

Garo & Val nearing the end of their remodel of the home at the Antlers.

In April, 2013 Garo and Val received their unit rating of 89 – high gold. Upon receiving their Lodging Quality Assurance (LQA) report, they researched what it would take to reach a platinum rating, and help the overall Antlers goal (of becoming a Platinum Rated Property).  They met with the LQA agency, and took notes of everything they could do to improve their home at the Antlers.

Kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, flooring, faux wood beams and new lighting.

Kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, flooring, faux wood beams and new lighting.

Before photo of the kitchen.

Before photo of the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking on the project themselves, and working hand in hand with their own contractors from Denver, they turned their home into a signature of beauty and creativity. Faux wood beams were installed on the ceiling. Beautiful and durable porcelain tile floor that looks like hardwood was installed.  The kitchen was upgraded with new stainless steel appliances. They installed a monster new flat screen TV with a stunning sound system.  And, they did all of this in just over a month!

New living room with beautiful flooring accented by faux wood beams, and a flat screen TV with stunning sounds system.

New living room with beautiful flooring accented by faux wood beams, and a flat screen TV with stunning sounds system.

Before photo of the living room.

Before photo of the living room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now their home is a Platinum Rated Unit (93 is their new rating). We are very proud of Val and Garo. Their tremendous effort, time and investment to make their Antlers condo the ultimate mountain lodging experience is greatly appreciated and we look forward to seeing which other Antlers owners will take on the challenge, as many already have.

To see photos of their newly remodeled home at the Antlers, click any of the thumbnails below.