It’s a Big World … Not

So we’re giving a site tour to four lovely wedding consultants from A Touch of Bliss in Denver.  We had just come out of #420, one of our largest, most beautiful four bedroom-condos.  We’re walking down the hallway to show them #311, a super nice one-bedroom, overlooking the swimming pool.  Just making conversation, one of the young women, Zoie, asks me, “Are you from Colorado?”

“As a matter of fact I am.” I reply, “I grew up in Littleton.”

“Really?” says Aimee Thomas, another one of these very charming wedding planners, “Where in Littleton?”

“Oh, way down south, almost to the Ken Caryl area”

“No kidding? My mother’s house is in that area.”

I ask where.  She tells me it’s close to Platte Canyon Road. I tell her that we lived near Coal Mine and Platte Canyon.  She acts a little surprised and I say, “It’s a little community called Normandy Estates.  You’ve probably never heard of it.”

The look on Aimee’s face goes from surprised to incredulous.  “Heard of it?  We live in Normandy Estates.”

“NO WAY!” I say, “What street?”

“Ontario”

Gulp.  “Circle or Way?”

“Circle”

“OMG”  At this point I’m starting to shake a little. Ontario Circle is a cul-de-sac and only has about eight or ten houses.  I tell that to the others and they’re all pretty much in disbelief as well.

“6755” I say.

Aimee turns a little pale.  “6755 W. Ontario Circle?”

“Are you kidding me? No way.”

(queue the eery music)

“That’s my house.” she says.

I tell her that we lived there from 1960 to 1972 … moved out 42 years ago.  She tells me the carpet’s been changed.

Yikes Stripes.  Beechnut gum.

Aimee Thomas c

Aimee and Rob, same house, 42 years apart

An All-Day Planning Session on Sustainability… Fun? Really?

Last week I got an invitation to volunteer an entire day to do an “alignment workshop” with the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.  On the surface, that offer was slightly less than compelling.  Given my somewhat stressed schedule (so what else is new?), I was really tempted to just say, “Sorry”.

Because it was my friend Kim Langmaid (the new President of EVAS) asking, and because the Antlers has been the Official Hotel of EVAS and largely because Bob Vanourek was facilitating (who’s at the very top of my all-time business heroes list), I said yes.  It turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in awhile.

Fifteen of the brightest people I know, led by a genius, in an incredibly valuable planning session.  What’s more, it was actually fun.  Bob’s alignment process addresses everything from Purpose, Vision, Values and Goals, to Strategy, Structure, Action Steps and Communication.  Much of that is covered in his book Triple Crown Leadership, plus a whole lot more.  

We spent the entire day on the initial “high-level” pieces.  As a sidebar, when we were talking about the Purpose of the organization (what many call a “Mission Statement”) I was particularly struck by one of Bob’s slides.  It reflected the stated purpose of the United States Humane Society … Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.  Wow … how’s that for powerful?  It made me think that every Mission Statement ought to be limited to four or five words.

At the end of the day, I admitted to feeling somewhat guilty that I had only spent half the time thinking about the future of EVAS, and the other half applying it all to the Antlers. I can’t wait to put it into practice.  Happily, EVAS has already started to.

Rob

Bowling with the Governor

Not too long ago my friend Jenn Bruno, who along with her husband owns one of the nicest stores in Vail, Due Luca Bruno, told me that she was helping the Red Sandstone Elementary School with a fundraiser to hire a librarian (what an admirable goal).  She proceeded to tell me that the fundraiser was similar to the Mask Project, only it would be bowling pins that would be auctioned off.  Fun!  Then she said that Elaine Kelton told her I knew Governor Hickenlooper and asked if I could get him to sign a bowling pin.

Whoops … who said I knew the Governor?!  I’ve MET the Governor.  It would be a stretch to say that I KNOW him.  I guarantee you that the Governor doesn’t KNOW me.  Oh well, what the heck … I’ll try.

I called my friend Trisha Smith at CACI (who KNOWS people in the Governor’s office) and asked for her help.  True to form, she said that she’d try … bring her the bowling pin.   When I told Jenn that we’d do our best,  she asked if he would decorate the pin as well as sign it.

Uh, no … the Gov may SIGN the pin, he isn’t decorating anything.  He’s kinda busy.  After a little further discussion though, Trish suggested having someone paint the Capitol Building on the pin.  After all, it’s shaped a little like a bowling pin.  I passed that idea on to Jenn, and she loved it.  A week later she dropped off a fabulously decorated bowling pin, complete with the Gold Dome.

 

The fundraiser is February 1, so now we’re running out of time.  Fortunately, yesterday was the annual CACI Business Day at the Capitol and guess who was the keynote speaker?  How convenient.  As he approached the head table I cornered him and said, “Governor, I’ve got a crazy favor to ask … would you sign this bowling pin for an elementary school fundraiser?”  Being the affable guy that he is, the response was predictable … “Sure I will, got a pen?”

Larry Laszlo, one of the best photographers in Denver, was nice enough to send me these pictures.

For what it’s worth, the Governor’s subsequent talk and response to the Q&A cemented my admiration for him.  I can’t tell you how lucky I think we are in Colorado to have Governor Hickenlooper and his team running this state.

And I’d say that even if he hadn’t signed the bowling pin.

 

Antlers at Vail Front Desk Staff Goes to Leonora

If you are looking for somewhere new to eat in the Vail Valley, check out Leonora located in the Sebastian in Vail Village.

It has a unique menu inspired by Spanish cuisine, with flavorful dishes all thoughtfully paired with wines from around the world. The menu consists of a raw bar, tapas, and flatbread choices, followed by the main course of soups, salads and then entrée. Leonora is laid out in a circle, the bar in the middle, allowing a more intimate dining experience

Starting with the raw bar we ordered scallop, salmon and tuna ceviche. The scallop dish was topped with caviar and had white truffle drizzled over. It was a unique combination that tamed the caviars salty taste. The tuna ceviche was my favorite; it contained bits of chopped tuna, fresh herbs and wasabi, this was a table favorite and every bit was eaten up.

For the Tapas we enjoyed the shrimp slider, lobster taco, and the patatas. The patatas were round cut catalan style potatoes with garlic aioli and spicy tomato sofrito dolloped on top, this was also a table favorite. I ordered the shrimp sliders and really enjoyed them, it was that something different that I needed to really balance out all the seafood that I was eating. The Maine lobster tacos were great,  and with four of them we each had our fair share.

We decided to leave some room for the entrée, so we skipped the flat bread (although, it sounded delicious) and moved onto the soups and salads. We tried a variety and enjoyed them all. The lentil soup was delicious and with stewed tomatoes, smoked bacon and the parmesan cheese; it tasted reminded me of chili. The roasted beet salad combined the earthy beet taste with the sweet candied walnuts and honey giving it a unique taste. We also tried the pear salad with fresh Anjou pears, Roquefort cheese and the glazed walnut for extra crunch. The Frisee salad with its exceptional bacon vinaigrette combined with the poached egg went great along with the asparagus and toasted brioche.

For the entrée we had a variety. Starting with the pan-seared tuna with fennel, littleneck clams, and white bean stew. Having ordered tuna from many of the surrounding restaurants, this tuna was expertly prepared and went well with the sides. Next we tried the slow roasted lava lake lamb with bean cassoulet and marguez sausage. The slow roast allowed the lamb to stay juicy and when mixed with the bean cassoulet, it created and exquisite taste.  The mussels sitting in the delicious parsley and shallot broth were also exceptional.  The striped bass with scallops, shrimp, and mussels with black rice and saffron tomato broth was an interesting pairing of foods, and lacked in flavor. Last we tried the braised veal cheeks, which was an interesting flavor and very easy to eat. This dish also included olive oil mashed potatoes, which were very good, tiny carrots and green peppercorns. I would say that the veal cheeks and the lava lake lamb were the stars in the entrée round.

Lastly, for those of us who still had room, was dessert. I enjoyed a dessert cherry wine with my melted chocolate sphere, the waiter poured this delicious chocolate sauce over the sphere and it melted the top away exposing these cherry yummies inside. We also tried a lemon meringue tart, that had crumbled with pistachios and edible sparkles.

This is a great place to sample wines in a relaxed environment or to dine with friends and sample some different foods.

To make reservations call (970)477-8050, or check out the menu online here, on opentable.

Students Shoulder to Shoulder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will act as if what I do makes a difference

This Vail Symposium poster hangs in our office and we at the Antlers try to live by those words.  They help guide many of our decisions, including our efforts to be good corporate citizens.  We are quite proud of our record in that regard, and frankly it just got a little better.  A couple months ago, Bob Bandoni introduced us to Students Shoulder to Shoulder.  Their tagline is “The International School of Global Citizenship”.  Rather than try to explain what that entails, we just urge you to investigate their website.  It’s meaningful.

 

Although the program is five or six years old, Bob explained that they were planning their first Global Solutions Forum here in Vail, in October.  The idea was to bring representatives together from the various NGO’s around the world and the schools who now participate with Shoulder to Shoulder.   The real purpose is simply to further their success and advance the mission.  It took all of about two minutes to recognize the value and importance of this effort.  In the context of our day to day preoccupation with our own lives and businesses, the opportunity to play some small part in something so meaningful was irresistible.

Last week, the Antlers was honored to host ten representatives from a number of the different schools that are now part of the Shoulder to Shoulder “alliance”.  Like some of the other worthy causes that the Antlers has adopted over the years, this was all done at no charge to the participants or their schools.  By helping making it affordable for them to participate in this conference, we like to think that the Antlers is playing a small part in the fulfillment of their mission. 

Like all great ideas, Bob Bandoni and the others behind this effort see it as something much bigger.  It’s not just personal growth for the students, but rather a significant step on the path to making this a better world.  That’s a lofty goal, but one which the Antlers is really proud to be associated with.

 

 

Adventure Film School students capture Teva Games

If you are lucky enough to be out enjoying the Teva Mountain Games this weekend keep an eye out for some very focused camera men and women. Most are students with the Outside Adventure Film school, a partnership between Outside magazine,  and Serac Adventure Films. While most of us are enjoying the activities, basking in the sun, and relishing the crisp clean mountain air, they are working their butts off! Students, with the aid of some very talented instructors and experience film makers will be spending their days trying to get the best footage of the games and their participants and spending their nights editing and piecing it together to create a short adventure film. The results of their hard work will be showcased here at the Antlers on Tuesday June 5! Come by and see the fruits of their labor!

The last adventure film school students came away making an amazing documentary entitled High Ground. I strongly recommend that if you have a chance you MUST go see this movie. It is currently touring the country through film festivals and has earned (deservedly) a lot of accolades!

Living At Your Peak

The Antlers has long enjoyed being the Official Hotel of the Vail Symposium.  In addition to participating on the Board of Directors, we get the pleasure of hosting many of the incredible speakers that the Symposium brings in every year.  From Christo, the famous landscape artist, to three of the former Governors of Colorado reminiscing on the stage together (Lamb, Romer and Ritter), the annual lineup of forty-plus programs is always incredible.

We’re proud to be associated with such a first-class operation, and especially one that is a long-standing Vail tradition (41 years and counting).

This fall, September 13 – 15, the Symposium is presenting one of the biggest, baddest programs in their history … in Vail’s history, for that matter.  Living At Your Peak will be an amazing collection of  leading experts in the fields of health, fitness and longevity.  In addition to over TWENTY different speakers (!), participants will enjoy actually participating with those presenters in a myriad of ways.  It might be a  hike with Ellen Miller (the only woman to summit Mount Everest from both sides in one year) or a group meditation with cutting-edge research scientist Cliff Saron (who will offer scientific proof that meditation can actually alter your DNA, leading to a longer life).  Healthy meals prepared (and shared) with leading chefs and nutritionists will turn meals into part of the program itself … great learning experiences all.

Small intimate groups, regardless of the topic, are planned to afford the kind of interaction that will make this three day event unlike any other conference on health and wellness.  A significant keynote speaker (yet to be named) is also expected to kick off the whole event to a larger audience.

We at the Antlers sure hope that our past guests and friends (as well as new ones) will consider joining us for what we think could be a life changing experience.

Go see High Ground … Do it!

I just got back from the Vail Film Festival and the screening of Michael Brown’s film, High Ground

For starters, if it doesn’t win best of show then call 9-1-1 because there’s been a robbery (spoken from one who admittedly didn’t see any of the other films).  Seriously, this is an important and moving piece.  I have long been so proud of the Antlers relationship, and my personal friendship, with Michael.  His Serac Adventure Films (Outside Adventure Film School when they’re in Vail for the TEVA games) is a class act and way rewarding to be involved with (the Antlers sponsors and hosts them each June).   But this film, High Ground, takes that pride to a new level.  I will spare you the film review, as that’s not my forte, although I will say that the incredible story and message are equalled only by Michael’s insane photography.  Instead, I will simply urge you with all my heart to go see it.  Maybe at a film festival near you, maybe in the theatre someday, otherwise rent the DVD when that comes out in the fall.  Just do it … I PROMISE you, you’ll be glad you did (and have a box of kleenex handy for a variety of tears, but mostly good ones).

Thank you Michael, for making this film and for all you do.

Rob