Kids Ski Free with EPIC SCHOOLKIDS

Register your child(ren) for the FREE Epic Schoolkids Colorado by October 9, 2016 to receive 4 days of skiing or snowboarding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts; Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone.

Register your child(ren) for the FREE Epic Schoolkids Colorado pass before October 9th, 2016 to receive 4 days of skiing or snowboarding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts; Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. Photo courtesy Jack Affleck, Vail Resorts.

As a family-friendly resort, located in Vail, it makes us so happy to be able to share that Vail Resorts has brought back their EPIC SCHOOLKIDS Colorado pass. The Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack is a FREE program for Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides 4 days of skiing or snowboarding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts; Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. Packs are valid up to 4 days at each resort and are subject to holiday restrictions. Register your child(ren) in person before October 9th, 2016!

The pack also includes one FREE first-timer ski or ride lesson with equipment rental between 12/3/16-12/17/16 and 1/17/17-1/31/17.  Just bring your child(ren) to a participating Front Range Colorado Ski & Golf, Colorado Ski & Sports or Boulder Ski Deals location to register your child in person before October 9th. When enrolling their child(ren) in Epic SchoolKids, remember to bring:

  • Your child (the child must be present at the time of registration);
  • Season pass application;
  • A physical or digital copy of the student report card/transcript/school ID or birth certificate/passport.
Complimentary amenities that the kids will love include hot cocoa awaiting in the lobby and loaner sleds.

Complimentary amenities that the kids will love include hot cocoa awaiting in the lobby and loaner sleds.

The Epic SchoolKids pass will enhance your family’s Antlers at Vail ski vacation. At the Antlers a full-service kitchen allows families to keep groceries on hand, serve homemade meals — and even enjoy a cook-out with the gas-fired barbeque grill. Two creekside hot tubs and a gas fireplace in each condo await you after a full day on the slopes. Complimentary amenities that the kids will love include hot cocoa in the lobby and loaner sleds. Large families can reserve a spacious multi-room suite, while smaller families may want to take advantage of the Antlers’ cozy 1-bedroom condominiums – with a separate bunkroom.

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NO Resort Fees. Period.

Every once in a while one of our owners or board members will suggest that we start charging a resort fee as a way to help cure our perennial budget challenges.

They’ll say, “Why not?  Everyone else does it.  I pay them wherever I go.”

“And how do you feel about that?”

“I hate it.”

“Okay, I think you’ve just answered your own question.”

There may be a million reasons why I’m glad to be working for an independent property, and especially one with a conscience.  High among them is being able to tell prospective guests, to boast even, that we have NO RESORT FEES.  Beyond that, we think those hidden charges are unfair and deceptive.  Inevitably, whoever I’m talking to could not agree more.

When that owner or board member says, “What about the extra money that we could be getting?”  I tell them that we’re already getting it.  The “resort fee” – if that’s what they want to call it – is already included in our published room rate.  If we thought our rooms were worth more and that our guests would pay more … we’d charge more, not tack on a fee that they won’t see until check-out.  As it is, we work hard to price our rooms fairly, so guests feel they’re receiving good value.

Lately resort fees have been much in the news, with Christopher Elliott recently reporting in the Washington Post a rise in the first six months of 2016 to an average of nearly $20/night for the fees – with even the FTC reevaluating the practice. But in a business based on service and goodwill, to us it’s always been kind of a no-brainer. It really comes down to a matter of short term versus long term strategy.  Yes, people may pay that extra charge once, because they’ve had to pay it elsewhere.  But they still hate it.  In the long run, we’ll have more business if we’re transparent and above-board.  We try to make all our decisions that way.

After all, in a business based on the guest experience, why would you want to have that final experience on checking out be one of feeling cheated?

Epic Discovery Vail Debuts

Epic Discovery Vail Debuted June 2016

Fun can be had at Epic Discovery simply exploring the new story stakes and viewfinders. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts/Andrew Taylor.

Fun can be had at Epic Discovery simply exploring the new story stakes and viewfinders. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts/Andrew Taylor.

Founded in the 1960s, Vail is one of the youngest towns and ski resorts in the nation. Since inception it has been a popular ski mountain, although the summers were a bit slower to grow. When almost every local resident will tell you, “I came for the winter but stayed for the summer,” you know that is bound to change. Vail may have just reached the tipping point for its attractiveness as a summer destination with the debut of Epic Discovery — the new on-mountain summer adventure at Vail with zip lines, alpine coaster, aerial adventures, and educational components.

Epic Discovery Vail provides a unique, connected, on-mountain summer experience, immersing guests in activities which provide big-time thrills, allow them to challenge themselves physically, guide them to explore and better understand their natural surroundings, and ultimately create lifelong memories. This first-of-its-kind comprehensive on-mountain summer adventure features components such as zip lines, an aerial adventure, alpine coaster, wildlife trail exploration, and interactive, “learn-through-play” activities.

The Eagle Bahn gondola has always taken summer visitor to fun activities atop Vail Mountain but the new additions as well as the connection to our natural environment that pull the whole experience together is pretty spectacular.

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The Forest Flyer winds its way 3,400 feet down the mountain, following the natural contours of the landscape through the forest. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts/ Andrew Taylor.

As a parent I was excited to see activities even for young visitors. Many of the kids activities do require the child to be 3 years of age and more than 30 lbs, but once they meet those requirements there’s not much they can’t do on the kids course. Adults can also ride free with the children too small to ride by themselves on the Forest Flyer.

Speaking of… You will want to take time to ride the Forest Flyer which winds its way 3,400 feet down the mountain, following the natural contours of the landscape through the forest. Speed is your friend as you fly through the forest on a raised alpine coaster!

Grab a tube, hop a lift, get a rush on one of the two summer tubing hills. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts/ Andrew Taylor.

Grab a tube, hop a lift, get a rush on one of the two summer tubing hills. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts/ Andrew Taylor.

Adventurers young and old will love taking thrilling runs down the 550 ft-long Eagle’s Nest Summer Tubing hill. Music entertains you the whole way down, while the Adventure Bahn carpet ride will take you back to the top. The younger kids will want to grab a tube and glide down the mountain on a thrilling, adrenaline-fueled Marmot Mini Tubing ride. The multi-lane tubing hill features two runs, and easy-access surface lift gets you back up top fast.

There are two adventure courses available where you can put your strength and balance to the test as you explore challenging obstacle areas via ropes, bridges, logs and balance elements, all with a bird’s eye view of Vail’s surrounding mountain ranges.

Put your strength to the test on one of the two challenge courses atop Vail Mountain. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts/ Andrew Taylor.

Put your strength to the test on one of the two challenge courses atop Vail Mountain. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts/ Jack Affleck.

There are two levels of thrilling zip lines available at the mountain top. BUT if you really want an aerial adventure try out the Game Creek Aerial Adventure. Fly through and above the forest habitat with an array of seven ziplines and aerial bridges. Learn about the mountain ecosystem while working your way through each course’s challenges. Experience nearly 2 miles of ziplining over the course of a 3-4 hour tour.

A variety of Epic Discovery passes are available including:

Ultimate Adventure Pass for $89 (TIP: Epic Season Pass 2016-17 holders receive $17 off for a $72 price)
The Ultimate Adventure Pass provides unlimited all-day access to an array of thrilling activities, including the Forest Flyer alpine coaster. Ideal for adults and kids alike, this pass includes a FREE companion ride-along ticket for the Forest Flyer (so parents can join their kids if they can’t ride alone) and a Scenic Gondola Ride up the mountain to reach Epic Discovery.

Little Explorer Pass for $49
The Little Explorer Pass, designed for the smallest guests, provides an introductory Epic Discovery experience. This pass includes a Scenic Gondola Ride up the mountain to reach Epic Discovery. (Note: The pass does not include access to the Forest Flyer alpine coaster.)

Game Creek Aerial Adventure for $189 (Includes the Ultimate Adventure Pass)
Activity Restrictions: Participants must be at least 10 years old and weigh between 75-250lbs. Participants under 14 years old must be accompanied by a paying adult. Harness must fit properly. Fully enclosed footwear required for all activities. Reservations are required. Call 970-SKI-VAIL (754-8245) to reserve.

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The Next Antlers General Manager

June, 1978 – Freshly graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Business Administration, I had moved to Vail, 100% clueless about my future.  Mike O’Dell, a golfing buddy from previous summers working at the Eagle Vail golf course told me his wife was having a baby and would be leaving her job as controller of a little hotel called the Antlers.  I should apply.  “After all”, he said, “you’ve been to college, you must be a smart  guy … you could probably do that job.”  I went and interviewed with Bud Benedict, the Antlers General Manager.  I remember his exact words … “You’ve been to college … you must be a smart guy, you can probably do this job.”

Fast forward 38 years.  As we near my last days as the Antlers GM, one of my very few regrets is that I didn’t start keeping a journal on that day in 1978. There have been some hilarious stories and I wish I could remember one out of fifty.  Sadly, I can’t even do that.  Oh well …

Rob-&-Magda-0616One big regret that I could have, and don’t … is leaving the Antlers in hands any less capable than mine.  When Magdalena Isabel Cedeño Cabrera King told me in 2007 that she’d give me five years if I hired her, little did I know that she would turn out to have the unique combination of people skills, financial acumen and overall business sense that you find once in a blue moon.  Head and Heart, as Bob Vanourek would say … in this case, to the max.  I did know that nobody had ever committed to five years of employment in a job interview with me before, and I was duly impressed.  Turns out she had a great sense of destiny, along with all those other considerable talents.

When I told the Board of Directors last December that the 2016 annual meeting would be my last, there was no doubt in my mind who the correct successor was.  As boards do, they felt an obligation to “explore all their options”.  I simultaneously respected and ridiculed that decision. After all, the perfect candidate was right here … already in the fold.  In the end, after a series of interviews and thoughtful consideration, our board came to the absolute right decision.  On October 1,  Magda will become the third General Manager in the Antlers’ 44-year history.Rob-&-Magda-0616-b

Some people tell me that my shoes will be hard to fill, (others tell me to not let the door … ). I’m confident it won’t be a problem. Beyond speaking five languages and having the heart and grace of a saint, Magdalena has an innate understanding that “hospitality” isn’t just a word or a business sector. It’s a guiding principle and Magda lives and breathes it.  Besides, she’s been to college, she’s a smart gal … she can do this job.

Leaving the only career I’ve ever known comes with a predictable amount of angst, but as far as the future of the Antlers is concerned, there’s no way I could be more optimistic.

Hike Hanging Lake

hike hanging lake

There aren’t many more spectacular outings in Colorado than a hike to Hanging Lake!

The Vail area is home to some of the most spectacular hikes in Colorado and Hanging Lake is arguably at the top of that list based on its popularity. A hike to Hanging Lake is geologically interesting because the lake was formed by travertine depositions. The natural geologic and hydro-logic processes continue to operate as they have done for thousands of years. The lake also boasts a thriving hanging garden plant community. Hanging Lake was designated a national natural landmark in 2011.

Heading on I-70 West toward Glenwood Springs you take exit 121 and then loop back around heading east on I-70 to exit 125 where Hanging Lake is located. Rangers now manage the parking lot, which does fill up early. We arrived just after 8 am and were told a 10-30 minute wait depending on when people come down. It was probably closer to 30 minutes but well worth the wait and well managed. There was a line of cars waiting when we left. It is probably better to get there early but if you are lucky you might be able to time it right for a short wait later in the day too.

It is a fairly steep up hill trail, rated as moderately difficult. There is a short walk on the bike path to the trail head and there is plenty of shade once you get on the trail. It is 3.2 miles total with about a 1,000 foot ascension. If you are a first time hiker, or not used to the altitude it may be challenging. As could be guessed by the wait for a parking spot, the trail is heavily trafficked. No solitude here. You’ll want to wear sturdy shoes and bring water, and maybe even a picnic lunch or snacks to enjoy while you take in the views up top. Highly recommend this hike. It is relatively short for a spectacular payoff at the lake.

Featured Homeowners: Matt & Tammy Dannheisser

Antlers at Vail Platinum 4-Bedroom Residence

The Dannheissers purchased a Platinum 4-Bedroom Residence and immediately started planning a remodel that would set an even higher standard for the entire property.

The Dannheissers purchased a 4-bedroom platinum rated condominium and immediately started planning a remodel that would set an even higher standard for the entire property.

In July of 2015 Matt & Tammy Dannheisser became proud new Antlers at Vail homeowners. The Dannheissers purchased a 4-bedroom platinum rated condominium and immediately started planning a remodel that would set an even higher standard for the entire property. They removed a wall between the dining and living room to open up the large space. Contemporary new chandeliers, wood beams, recessed cove LED lighting, porcelain and metal fireplaces, a 60” TV and new furniture transformed the living and dining areas. Three of the bathrooms were completely upgraded with new cabinets, counters, backsplashes, beveled mirrors and more. The master bedroom was enlarged and a new porcelain and metal fireplace and French doors completed the design. New closet systems and alder doors were added throughout. A new laundry room with a new washer and dryer was added for guest convenience. The Dannheisser’s Vail residence, along with one other Antlers condominium, are the highest rated in the building.

What is the best part of being an owner at the Antlers?

Antlers is different than most others in Vail  – it is a community where the staff not only goes out of their way to be of assistance, they have genuine care and concern for their owners and guests.  There is great comfort in knowing that our second home is being well taken care of by people for whom doing so is not an occupation but rather a passion.

What is special about your newly remodeled Antlers condominium?

When we looked for a place to purchase, there were many boxes we wanted to check: close to lifts and being close to the center of activities were perhaps foremost among them.  But, we were also seeking four bedrooms (enough for children and grandchildren to comfortably visit), a large gathering/living area where many people could comfortably gather, good views, plenty of “elbow room,” upscale furnishings, ski concierge, and staff with whom we felt very comfortable.  That we were able to accomplish all of these with our Antlers unit has made our stays wonderful and leaves us with a feeling of wanting to return as soon as possible.

Click a thumbnail below to browse through the photo gallery of the Dannheisser’s complete remodel.


Antlers Honored: Community Impact Award

The Antlers at Vail is honored to have received the 2015 Community Impact Award from Vail Valley Partnership. The Antlers was one of 13 Vail area organizations honored May 13, 2016, in the Vail Valley Partnership’s 13th Annual Success Awards. Even as the Friday awards ceremony was taking place, representatives from more than 20 Colorado Front Range nonprofit organizations were checking into the Antlers to participate in the hotel’s annual Pay It Backward weekend – one of Antlers at Vail’s many community-oriented initiatives.

The just-completed spring Pay It Backward weekend was the second annual invitation by Antlers at Vail to a long list of Front Range nonprofits, offering two nights’ free lodging and a Saturday thank-you reception in gratitude for all they do for the communities they serve. “It’s so much fun seeing these hard-working nonprofit staff members and volunteers have a chance to relax and recharge in our beautiful Vail Valley,” says Antlers at Vail General Manager Rob LeVine. “Saturday was actually a beautiful day so most of the families enjoyed the pool before the reception,” adds LeVine, who notes that most of the guests brought family members and/or their dogs to share in this rare opportunity for some downtime.

The Vail Valley Partnership Success Award for Community Impact is given annually to a person or organization who has contributed to the public good through programs, funding, volunteerism and generally giving back to the community. In addition to its annual Pay It Backward event, the Antlers at Vail is deeply involved in the local Vail community, participating as a supporting member or sponsor of numerous area organizations and initiatives, hosting community events, providing financial contributions and staff volunteering.

“It is a particular honor to receive the Community Impact Award in such a tight-knit area as the Vail Valley where community involvement is, honestly, the norm,” says LeVine. “I’m proud that the Antlers is viewed as making a difference in this very special community.”

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Our Incredible Housekeepers

housekeepersMany people have asked me what kept me at the Antlers for the last 9 years. There are many answers to this question:

I could focus on flexibility;  My job gives me the opportunity to balance my work/family time in a fair way.

It has given me opportunities;  I’ve been able to travel, meet exciting people, work on new ideas, and it has given me the freedom to put these ideas into practice.

All of these are great reasons, but those are not the real cause of my stay. It is its people who kept me here. I will focus on my housekeepers.  Yes, the ones who make your beds, clean your bathrooms, and take care of every detail while you’re visiting.  They are very visionary women who inspire our community.

Did you know that they love to read? They are the only housekeeping team in the Vail Valley who are regular users of our Public Library Services and read one book every two months. Their exchanges are amazing.

Did you know that they have decided to be part of a program called: “Common Cents for Colorado” which taught them how to handle money, make financial decisions, and give them a better sense of investments?

Did you know that every week, as a part of their Literacy Project, they study English to ensure the very best service to our guests?

They have a genuine interest in our guests, who with time, become part of our family. They miss them if they do not come back, and they are as happy as any when they return.

When I ask them “why”, their answers are convincing: They came to this country to have a better future, and to be a role model in our society.  My housekeepers know that you get things through hard work, and they all have a very high work ethic.  They understand what makes our guests happy, and they thrive on making it happen.

Did you know that 9 of our housekeepers registered today, (May 3, 2016), at Colorado Mountain College to formally study for their GED Test?  They want to graduate from high school, and they want to serve better. In a few words, they want to be an example to their children.

I cannot be more proud of each one of them. They are an inspiration to me, and they are probably the main reason why I am here.  I encourage you to visit the Antlers.  You are in for a real treat to have such amazing women serving you each day.

Magdalena King

Trash Pickin’ & Picnickin’ returns May 7, 2016

As you know, we consider our guests a part of our family and community. We wouldn’t have had the fantastic winter we had without you, and without the good favor of Mother Nature. An extra week of ski season is additionally exciting. We are once again looking forward to be able to give back to our guests and to this place where we are so lucky to live and play. In this spirit we’d like to invite you to be a part of our green team May 7 with Trash Pickin’ & Picnickin’. You can help us pick up trash on the highway for a few hours Saturday morning (May 7), join us for a free picnic afterward at Broken Arrow in Arrowhead (that’s optional) and we’ll give you a free night* on either Friday or Saturday night.  That’s it … no other catch.  If you want to stay an additional night, we have special rates available, and of course if you visited this winter you can take advantage of your $129 spring nights.  But if you just stay one night … it’s a freebie! It’s our way of thanking you for staying with us, and for helping us keep our world a little cleaner place.

While we’ve been cleaning up our two-mile stretch of Vail Pass since 1988; we’ve also started joining the Community Pride Highway Cleanup arranged through the Eagle River Watershed Council. The past couple of years we’ve had a handful of guests join us and had a ton of fun, so we’re bringing it back again this year and letting you know in plenty of time to make plans. Join the Antlers green team again this spring, following the end of ski season and as the spring melt gets underway, to help clear the trash and debris that emerges after a long winter of being buried in layers of snow. This is our community’s way of sprucing up the valley for residents and visitors alike!

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Join the Antlers for Trash Pickin’ & Picnicin’ May 7 and get a free night on us!

The Antlers – which has incorporated numerous eco-friendly business practices long before the term ‘green’ was coined – recently was awarded the TripAdvisor GreenLeader and Actively Green statuses, in addition to the Vail Valley Success Awards 2009 Green Business of the Year.

Call us at 800-843-8245!

2015-2016 Ski Season Extended: Stay for Summer Lodging Rates

Ski Season Extended: Lodging at Summer Rates

Vail Mountain Powder (Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts)

Vail Mountain Powder (Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts)

With 25 feet of snow so far this ski season, two feet in the past week, and more powder forecast through April, Vail Mountain will has announced that ski season is extended one week past its scheduled closing date to April 17. “Our snow conditions have just continued to get better and better throughout the month and we’ve had some of the best skiing and snowboarding of the year in the past couple of weeks,” said Chris Jarnot, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Vail Mountain, “It’s too good right now not to stay open and give our passholders the gift of another week to get out and enjoy what has been an amazing season at Vail.”

 
All 2015-2016 Vail Resorts season passes will continue to be valid during the extended week so there’s still time to get one more trip in this spring, and at summer lodging rates. The Antlers at Vail drops their rates to summer levels starting April 11 so you have one week where passholders can ski for free and stay at summer lodging rates.
 
During closing week Vail plans to provide skiers and snowboarders access to the majority of the Front Side of the mountain as well as Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls, more than 2,500 acres of terrain. Lifts will open at 9 a.m. and close at 4p.m.