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.

 

Felted Pink Hat for Pink Vail

To bid on this one-of-a-kind pink wool hat email rob (at) antlersvail (dot) com by 4 pm on Friday, March 31, 2016.

To bid on this one-of-a-kind pink wool hat email rob (at) antlersvail (dot) com by 4 pm on Friday, March 31, 2016.

Ever heard of Felting? Well… we have. It is a fibre arts craft that our very own Antlers family member, Evelyn Pinney, has taken a shine to. It is an age-old craft, perhaps developed in the Middle East or the Far East, a process that has evolved with local traditions wherever it was used. From artists creating unique pieces of art to nomads on the great plains of Asia creating felt yurts for shelter, the art still exists today. Needle felting is a popular form of felting that creates felt from wool using special needles that are used in industrial felting machines as a sculpting tool. Well, you may wonder why we are writing about felting. Once a year a very unique event come to Vail — Pink Vail — the world’s largest ski day to conquer cancer. And, when such a good cause and fun event comes to town our very own artist and felter gets to work and creates a one-of-a-kind pink hat for some lucky bidder to be able to sport on the mountain for Pink Vail, AND the funds go to benefit cancer patients and survivors at the Shaw Cancer Center. To make this one-of-a-kind pink wool hat your very own and support a great cause you can place a bid via email rob (at) antlersvail (dot) com or 970-790-5200 by 4 pm on Friday, March 31, 2016.

Want to learn more about the process of felting? Watch this short video.

 

 

Postscript, April 4 – The hat sold for $75.  A check for that amount is winging its way toward Pink Vail.

Share Photos or Video to Win a Night at the Antlers

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Until April 1, 2016 Antlers at Vail guests and friends have the opportunity to win a one-night stay at the Antlers by sharing and tagging their ski vacation photos or video on the Antlers at Vail Facebook page or by tagging their photos and video with #antlersatvail on Instagram. The post on our Facebook page with the most likes will win a night and the Instagram photo or video tagged with #antlersatvail with the most likes will also win a night.

Who’s next?

I’ve always been amazed by the active lifestyle of people who live here. Skiing, snowboarding, biking, running, rock climbing… You name it. People of all ages are always doing something active and adventurous. It’s not weird to see a three-thousand-dollar car with a ten-thousand-dollar bike on its rack. Same true with skis, snowboards or whatever it is that people call their passion. I admire and respect that so much that I’ve secretly wanted to become this way.

You see, growing up, I was the “uncoordinated” one. The one that was too slow to run, too heavy to jump or too clumsy to do anything. I was just not that good at sports. And then I came here.

I ventured out to learn to ski and of course I tore my ACL on the bunny hill the first time I went out with friends, BUT I didn’t give up. After each season I became a little more confident. This year I had a crazy goal: To take guests out skiing with me. While my co-workers know exactly the name, the length and the little secrets of each run, I barely know the runs by their characteristics: “I love the one that has those tall trees on the left”. Furthermore, my sense of direction is nonexistent so I really had to prepare well to acheive my goal.

My first guests were my dear Aussie friends: Gavin, Paul, James, Lozza and Chris. I studied the grooming report as if it would be the final test for my MBA graduation. I did some warm ups at home just to make sure I was in the best possible physical shape. I tuned my skis to perfection, all to make sure my friends would have the best time ever.

Well… while skiing with them, I found out that I had it all wrong. It is not about being perfect, fast, or knowing it all. It is really about just having fun! I remember thinking back to when I just arrived to Vail 9 years ago: “Why do people call this a vacation, when they are sweating just trying to put their boots on?” It took me all this time to understand it. The fun of sharing and unfolding a ski adventure is priceless. For a moment you forget about the world, and you are just present, gliding towards paradise. While sitting on the chairlift on your way up, you laugh about almost crashing with each other, or confess that your legs were burning with each turn, and it is all good.

Thank you my Aussie friends for skiing with me. I am glad you had fun, just like I did!

Now, who’s next?

Magda-

With my favorite ski run in the back. The one with the tall trees on the left.