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.

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Antlers at Vail Chief Engineer, Tom Schlader

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Dave Collins, 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 Dave Collins to help Tom in that role.  Dave has worked as a project manager for projects large and small 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 to be the runner, not the runee.

Actively Green for 2015

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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.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

The Gift of Vail: $99/ Night Stocking Stuffer from Antlers at Vail

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UPDATE (1/5/2014): The following December special was so popular that we extended it for the remainder of the winter!

$99 spring 2014 nights with any winter stay.

The holidays season is upon us. Vail Mountain opened last week, the trees are adorned with twinkling lights, and guests have arrived in town to celebrate Thanksgiving with a ski vacation. We have been thinking about this special season and the friends with whom we have shared the holidays. One of our long-time guests, David & Jan Lee first visited the Antlers 21 years ago. The following Christmas they decided that the perfect gift would be to share that experience with their family and each year since have given each member of their family a week-long vacation and family reunion at the Antlers at Vail. And, what better gift could there be than a stay at the Antlers?!?

So, we’ve put together a deal so that our friends can score themselves some December Vail powder and get the gift of $99 spring lodging to stuff in stockings this holiday season with a special December Snow Deal from the Antlers at Vail hotel. For every night’s stay at the Antlers this December, guests can book a night between April 7 and June 15, 2014 for just $99 – and they can use the great deal for their own spring skiing (Vail closes April 20 this year), or gift the nights to friends and family.

“We were going to make the $99 deal just for April end-of-season,” says Antlers General Manager Rob LeVine, “but we got to thinking, what if you wanted to give a $99 night to your mom and dad who don’t ski? And of course you don’t have to tell them you only paid $99. Or your kid’s teacher who has to wait until school gets out – that should be worth some good grades. So we extended the offer through June 15 for guests who might rather ride the zipline or coast around town on our free-for-guests Antlers bikes in May or June, than chase April freshies.”

Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Dan Davis

Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Dan Davis

The Antlers at Vail December Snow Deal applies to Antlers stays December 1 – 31, 2013, for booking $99 nights April 7 – June 15, 2014. Some restrictions may apply.

 

 

The Best Place for Families to Stay in Vail

Storytime

To relax after a fun day of skiing or other activities, cozy up by the fire with a book.

What is the best hotel in Vail for families to stay? Well, first I will fully admit that I am somewhat biased on the answer to this question. But, as a parent of two young children I am very particular about where we stay while on vacation. And, the Antlers at Vail meets and exceeds all of those requirements. So, here is why the Antlers is the best hotel for a family vacation in Vail, in my biased but expert opinion.

#1. Okay, it sounds basic, but… The Antlers’ multi-room condominiums all allow for separate living space, so that the adults can stay up and enjoy a glass of wine or the cozy fire after the kids go to bed. Even the studios have a privacy screen that can be pulled closed between the living area and bedroom. The one bedrooms with bunks are a perfect option for families with young children. The Antlers has so many different room, bedding and bath configurations that we are sure to be able to meet your needs.

Antlers at Vail 1-bedroom with bunk condos are the perfect configuration for families.

Antlers at Vail 1-bedroom with bunk condos are the perfect configuration for families.

#2 The one meal that I really don’t want to have to eat out every day on vacation is breakfast. The Antlers’ condominiums all have full kitchens that are so convenient for making breakfast while still in your PJs. The kitchens can accommodate a simple breakfast of cereal to pancakes, eggs, bacon and more. Feeling inspired and want to make waffles? If your condo doesn’t already have a waffle iron, the front desk has a loaner for you, and many other one-off items as well. Don’t feel like brewing coffee? You can just saunter up to the lobby and grab a couple of cups of freshly brewed coffee to get the day started.

#3 All Antlers units are condominiums, but we offer all of the amenities of a hotel, including daily housekeeping service. Okay, again basic if you are at a hotel. But, if you are renting through a site like VRBO don’t count on it.

#4 No extra fees or nickel and diming! As a family, extra fees add up fast. Buying anything for 4 or 5 people adds up much faster than 2 people. The Antlers prides itself on not charging for extras. There are no resort fees, no charge for parking, complimentary hot chocolate and apple cider in the lobby, and even free DVD rentals.

#5 Location. The location of the Antlers really can’t be beat. The hotel is located right on Gore Creek. The view from your room may include Vail Mountain, the bike path along Gore Creek, the spectacular pool or some lovely green foliage giving you the feeling of seclusion. The gondola is 150 yards away. The free in-town bus is just footsteps away and will drop you right at the multitude of activities and savory dining awaiting you. The Lionshead gondola takes you directly to the newly improved Adventure Ridge.

The entire family is sure to enjoy the Antlers pool and two hot tubs located on Gore Creek.

The entire family is sure to enjoy the Antlers pool and two hot tubs located on Gore Creek.

#6 The Pool. So, I know I’ve already mentioned the amenities, but the Antlers has a fabulous pool area that includes two large hot tubs. You will be hard pressed to keep the kids away regardless of the weather. Have you ever sat in a hot tub on the river while it is snowing? It is an experience that the kids won’t forget.

#7 The other guests. There is the possibility that your kids might get to see a moose family for the first time, or a fox. We have a moose family that has been visiting somewhat regularly lately. *You will want to watch from afar. Moose are not friendly, but they are magnificent.

#8 The service. Every lodging property in Vail prides itself on the highest standard of service. But, I would argue that the service you receive at the Antlers is different because it is genuine and personal. Employee retention at the Antlers is unmatched–from our General Manager who has been with the Antlers for 35 years to our head housekeeper who has been with the Antlers even longer. In reviews the staff regularly is called out.

Fun to watch the local Moose, but keep your distance!

Fun to watch the local Moose, but keep your distance!

#9 Need I say more? I hope that if you are traveling with a family to Vail that you will consider staying at the Antlers at Vail. We’d be honored to have you be a part of our extended family and discover yourself why our guests return year after year.

Posted by: Liana, the Antlers’ Marketing Gal

Snow Table Art in Vail

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Apparently the picnic table just outside my office door is tipped very slightly to the west.  

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Whenever it snows, and then warms up to about 33 degrees, the blanket of snow starts to slide ever so slowly in that direction.  I’m often amused by nature’s artwork as a result.

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These pictures were all taken of the snow here in Vail in the last few weeks.

Winter Fun in Vail, Colorado

Vail is known for its epic skiing in the winter and its multitude of events in the summer. Well, winter is also chock full of events. It is a spectacular place for a winter getaway regardless of whether you ski.

Get in the holiday spirit November 29, 2013 with the Beaver Creek 33rd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and 11th Annual Gingerbread House Competition.

Snow Daze. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Zach Mahone.

Snow Daze. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Zach Mahone.

The winter season truly kicks off with Snow Daze December 9-15. This year’s entertainment lineup will include free headliner concerts from Rebelution on Friday, Dec. 13 and Matisyahu on Saturday, Dec. 14.  Just announced Nov. 14, Big Head Todd and The Monsters will complete the entertainment lineup for Vail Snow Daze 2013. Vail Snow Daze takes place Dec. 9-15, 2013.

All Vail Snow Daze concerts are free of charge and will be held at Vail’s Ford Park. The schedule of activities for Vail Snow Daze 2013 will also include the return of the sponsor expo village and gear demos at the base of Gondola One, Dec. 13-15, as well as après and after-dark parties in the Town of Vail throughout the week.

Vail Family Holidaze returns December 20-22 and December 31, 2013 with ice-skating performances by world-champion ice skaters, tree lighting and the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Ski Down and fireworks. Holidaze typically includes a candy cane patrol, kids zones (free event stations with holiday crafts), the Vail Arctic Express train rides, Santa’s Workshop and more), family movie nights, Dickens Carolers and then concludes with New Year festivities (Torchlight Parade of ski instructors and Vail locals form a glowing train of  as they ski down Golden Peak with glowing sticks, followed by a fireworks display).

Holidaze. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Tom Green.

Holidaze. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Tom Green.

Beaver Creek hosts their annual Winterfest December 21-31, 2013. Winterfest includes a multitude of performances, interactive activities, winter characters, parades, contests, holiday lights and more!

Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships returns to Vail, Colorado March 3-8, 2014. The Burton US Open and Vail will host over 100 of the world’s best riders like Shaun White, Mark McMorris, Kelly Clark, Torah Bright, Jamie Anderson, Iouri Podladtchikov and more, for four days of progressive Halfpipe and Slopestyle competitions that offer over $340,000 in cash prizes.

April 2-5, 2014 the Taste of Vail will showcase more than 30 of Vail’s finest chefs and restaurateurs alongside the owners and winemakers from nearly 50 of the countries’ top wineries.

World Championship Pond Skimming in Vail, Colorado

An athlete competes in the World Pond Skimming Championships. He takes to the air in the hopes of making it across a freezing pond before sinking. Photo Credit: Tom Green, Courtesy Vail Resorts

Spring Back to Vail, the biggest end-of-season bash in the Rocky Mountains, returns to Vail April 7-20, 2014!  This celebration concludes the season in style with some serious fun under the sun, including free live concerts, the infamous World Pond Skimming Championships, après after-dark parties, base area giveaways, and so much more!

And, of course there is so much else to do all season long from world-class shopping to snowshoeing, ice skating, sleigh rides and tubing and ski biking up at Adventure Ridge.