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!

Image03a

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

Photocontest_PRINT-web

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.

Featured Homeowner Series: 1 Bedroom Condominium

Antlers at Vail Featured Homeowner: 1-Bedroom Residence

Whether enjoying the view fron the balcony or relaxing in front of the fire Antlers at Vail Condo 608 is a fantastic place to stay while in Vail.

Whether enjoying the view from the balcony or relaxing in front of the fire this condo is a fantastic home base while for Vail adventures.

Retiring Air Force Colonel Hal Hagy and his wife Anne were early Antlers at Vail condominium owners. Hal & Anne became great friends with the first Antlers General Manager Bud Benedict and his wife Marcet and enjoyed getting together at every opportunity to share some laughs and soak in the atmosphere of the Vail valley of the 70’s and 80’s. In 1989, during the first push for condominium upgrades and before mandated ADA, they were the first homeowners to put in a handicapped accessible bathroom.

Anne and Hal Hagy circa 19xx

Anne & Hal Hagy during a visit to their home at the Antlers at Vail during the 1970s

Over the years they undertook a couple of additional remodels to their unit and eventually passed ownership of the condominium down to their daughter Susan. Our featured homeowner, Susan, has been a kind and supportive owner, recently joining the board of directors, and has continued to remodel the condo. A couple of years back she upgraded the kitchen and bathroom and recently made major improvements to the bedroom and living space by moving a wall, adding a larger bedroom closet, adding all new woodwork throughout, including gorgeous wood beams, doors and trim. She added new LED lighting throughout and removed the popcorn ceiling that remained. These improvements have resulted in one of highest rated condominiums in the building.

 

Anne and Susan Hagy enjoying some mother-daughter time in Vail Village.

Anne and Susan Hagy enjoying some mother-daughter time during Antlers owners weekend and Anne’s last visit to Vail, in 2008.

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

In my case, I feel incredibly humble and grateful to call the Antlers home away from home. I love the personal touches in my unit that represent my history and happy memories spent there with my parents. I appreciate the amenities available to host family and friends. Visiting with staff is like spending time with old friends and I’ve known Rob for most of my life. (So we really are getting to be OLD friends!)

Retired Air Force Colonel Hal Hagy

Col. Hal Hagy, March, 1987, in front of Garfinkels in Lionshead… the same visit the family celebrated Hal’s 70th Birthday with a party in the old Antlers “Lounge”. This photo was taken by his daughter Susan.

Participating in the rental program means sharing this very special place with new visitors and return guests. We look forward to spending part of each year in the outdoor playground that is Vail. The topography of the Rocky Mountains is quite a contrast to our primary home in coastal Florida.

View from 608 balcony looking southeast in 1979, before many of the homes on Forest Road had been built.

View from the Hagy’s condo looking southeast in 1979, before many of the homes on Forest Road had been built.

Buying a 2nd home in Vail was ALL Dad’s idea, but soon after the purchase, Mother spotted me from the balcony in my bright green jacket skiing home, she said it was the best decision. Location, location, location!

What is special about your newly remodeled Antlers condominium?

The outdoor view from the new King platform bed just makes me smile. I also love the addition of an extra door to the bedroom, adding both convenience and more natural light.

Vail Skiing Without the Schlep

Antlers at Vail hotel guests enjoy customized ski valet service with on-site Ski Butlers

A designated rack at the base of the Lionshead gondola allows Antlers at Vail guests to pick up and deposit their skis with ease (right). Vail has experienced some epic powder recently (right, photo © Ben Koelker).

A designated rack at the base of the Lionshead gondola allows Antlers at Vail guests to pick up and deposit their skis with ease (right). Vail has experienced some epic powder recently (right, photo © Ben Koelker).

“We want guests to save their energy for the powder,” says Antlers at Vail GM Rob LeVine about the Vail condominium hotel’s partnership with Ski Butlers, now in its second season. In addition to fitting Antlers’ guests with top-of-the-line ski and snowboard gear in the comfort of their guest suites, Ski Butlers serves the hotel as in-house ski valet, storing guest equipment and schlepping it to the slopes and back free of charge. And with Vail Mountain Resort reporting more than 14 feet of snow and counting this season with some glorious recent deep powder days, the service has quickly become a favorite at the Antlers.

“We’re lucky to be located just 150 yards from Vail’s Eagle Bahn Gondola,” says LeVine. “But there’s such luxury in not having to worry about your gear. We’re a skiing and snowboarding home-away-from-home to a lot of families, and especially for parents with children too small to carry their own equipment, this service can feel life-changing.”

Antlers at Vail, rated #1 by TripAdvisor in the Vail Specialty Lodging category, is known for its focus on customer service, including a long list of complimentary amenities from free yoga classes and loaner GoPro cameras to a loaning library of kitchen appliances and a green car charger. Ski Butlers puts a similar emphasis on customer service, including answering special requests like swapping out skis for snowboards mid-trip, or helping guests track down such basics as gloves and warmer jackets. And from the beginning, the company’s model of helping skiers avoid long rental lines by bringing fittings and gear directly to guest lodgings has been all about making the guest experience easy.

Ski Butlers rentals are also a hit with travelers who may discover at the last minute that steep airline fees can run up to $225 one way for checking heavy and bulky ski bags. “Plus Ski Butlers can recommend the best skis based on actual conditions when you arrive,” says LeVine. “Big run on powder skis lately,” he adds with a smile.

Founded in 2004 in Park City, Utah, Ski Butlers now serves over 30 North American resorts in Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia, Canada. Ski Butlers award winning service makes renting ski and snowboard equipment convenient and hassle-free all for the same price or less than most resort ski shops. Ski Butlers is the only ski shop in Vail/Beaver Creek Colorado to win the Vail Valley Platinum Service Award for exceptional customer service this past winter. For more information visit www.skibutlers.com.

Mmmm, Hot Soup on a Snowy Day

Chef Barry Robinson, Caterers of Vail and Antlers at Vail Chef

Chef Barry Robinson, Caterers of Vail and Antlers at Vail Chef

When I took this job at the Antlers at Vail hotel 3 years ago I was told that one of the organization’s greatest strengths is our fantastic chef. I have to admit that I had a hard time believing that really could be the case. But it sure is! Not only is internationally-trained Chef Barry a fabulous chef, creating delectable cuisine customized to a client’s tastes, but he goes above and beyond and unlike most chefs will make almost anything work, and puts the client first. Read more about that here.

This winter Chef Barry is offering freshly made soups available for purchase, including on a rotating basis Tomato Basil, Butternut Squash, Chili (beef & chicken) and Chicken Noodle

This winter Chef Barry is offering fresh soups available for purchase, including on a rotating basis Tomato Basil, Butternut Squash, Chili (beef & chicken) and Chicken Noodle

We are always brainstorming to come up with additional creative amenities for our guests. Last winter we offered breakfast burritos from Chef Barry. Then coming into this winter we decided that we’d ask Chef Barry what he might like to offer. He loves making fresh soups and his really are some of the best soups that I’ve ever had. He suggested soups. So, new this winter, we are offering a variety of fresh soups available for purchase at the front desk on a rotating basis (Tomato Basil, Butternut Squash, Beef Chili and as of this week by request Chicken Noodle). To showcase these freshly-made soups the Antlers at Vail hotel is now offering a soup tasting in the lobby once a week. After visiting a couple of condos and walking across the courtyard in the snow this afternoon I walked into the lobby to the wonderful aroma of hot Tomato Basil soup. Mmmm, it was as good as it smelled.

Our friend, Pete Huttlinger

The first time I saw Pete Huttlinger in person was at a concert in Breckenridge with Jim Salestrom.  It wasn’t a full-on John Denver tribute, but given Jim’s inclination and Pete’s history with JD, there was no shortage of Sunshine On My Shoulders and Thank God I’m A Country Boy.

Pete Huttlinger

Far more impressive than those covers, was Pete’s unbelievable solo talent on his acoustic guitar. I’ve always found that regardless of one’s sophistication in any artistic discipline (or in my case, lack thereof) … when exposed to a talent that is truly one of the world’s best, it makes an appropriate and unforgettable impression.

Not only had Pete played backup for John in the early 90’s, but he also did some of the arranging for the famous Wildlife Concert, as well as others.

Pete's banjo

Later, after John Denver’s death, Pete played with LeeAnn Rimes, Vince Gill and more than a few other “household names”.  His talent couldn’t be summed up any more completely or simply than LeeAnn’s reference to him as a “complete genius”.

Evelyn had met Pete once or twice in Aspen at a couple of the early “official” John Denver tribute concerts. In each case their meetings were brief and included a number of other people.  Nevertheless, when we saw him in Breckenridge that day he greeted Evelyn like a long lost friend, not someone he had barely met. I quickly came to treasure that humility and warmth, which was as much a part of Pete as his incredible skill on the guitar.

Wonderful testimony of that kindness came when I had the nerve to ask Pete if I could use his music as background for some marketing videos we were producing for Antlers 2000.  I expected him to tell me all about ASCAP and licensing issues and costs, etc.  Instead, despite the fact that he didn’t know me from Adam, he said, “Absolutely … use whatever you want. No problem.”  Just like that … that was it. When I asked him if I could pay him he said, “No, that’s okay … just send me a copy of whatever you do.  I’d love to see it.”   I’m still blown away by his generosity.

Not only did I use a couple cuts off his Catch & Release CD (arguably the best solo acoustic guitar CD ever recorded), but we stayed in contact over the next few years.  When we had the Grand Opening celebration for the Antlers redevelopment in 2002, Pete came and played a private concert for our friends and owners.  I sincerely doubt if the Antlers conference room will ever be host to more talent than it was on that day.Pete 1    Grand opening crowd 1

Over the years, Evelyn continued to stay in touch with Pete and his lovely wife, Erin.  We had the pleasure of fishing with Pete on the Roaring Fork (his favorite pastime other than playing music) and later had them over for dinner. Pete enjoyed playing Evelyn’s John Denver signature guitar that evening and it will never, ever sound better.

fishing with Pete

After many years of heart and health problems, Pete passed away last week at the ripe old age of 54. It’s a sad day.  A tragedy.  Thousands of people will miss him, but few more than us.  Here’s to you, Pete.

– Rob