Where Does All That Stuff Go

 We here at the Antlers do a pretty, darn good job when it comes to recycling stuff and we were wondering what happens to it after it’s picked up. We decided to find out and organized a good old fashion field trip to investigate.
Some of the gang in “class”
The Eagle County Land Fill is now home to one of the newest, most advanced recycle facilities in Colorado. In operation since January 12 of this year, Jesse Masten, our host for the tour, explained that the facility is operating no where near its capacity. “Most recycle materials are still being trucked to Denver because of existing contracts. We hope to gather and process more materials as time goes on”. He gave us some figures on what they process now and it is still staggering. Some of the numbers? How about 48,000 lbs of aluminum and tin, 90,000 lbs of card board, 40,000 lbs of plastic, 46,000 lbs of newspaper and all this in one week on average. All of this from curbside pick-ups and a few drop centers in Eagle and Pitkin Counties. 
…It starts here…

…And ends here.  

I was most impressed with the machine that does all the work. It’s not a lot of machines and equipment, but just one, great, big machine with ramps and belts and pumps and blowers and crushers and pokers and magnets. Everything, except for cardboard and newspaper, is pushed onto the belt and comes out separated and bailed and ready to ship to whomever is buying the material.     

...It starts here... One Big Machine

One question from the group, “What is the worst (or most mis-understood) material to be recycled”?  Without hesitation, Jesse said “The plastic grocery bags. They are not recyclable and need to be hand picked off the conveyor belt”. He also asked if we could “please wash out the barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, and ragu from the empty bottles. It really starts to smell when the glass is crushed”.      

So that’s what happens to that stuff. I’m now curios to know what happens after it arrives in Oklahoma, China, Arizona and Texas after it’s purchased. I see another field trip in our future.      

Thanks to our tour guide and everyone from the Antlers at Vail condos that took some time away from their busy day to join us. (And thanks for the photos Kate)      


My Ski Day

My name is Rob and I want to apologize to the youngsters that saw me after a face plant under chair 5.

Their wide eyes said it all and then they asked “Are you all right mister”?

Just a little dazed, I replied “I love right where I am”.

They skied on and so did I.

If you need to unexpectedly shorten your ski day, best you do it half way down Forever.


Greg’s Delayed Ski Report

It’s Sunday, February 14th, Valentines Day.

Myself, Randi, Rob, Danny, and Lisa along with 4 friends from Ohio, 4 friends from Denver, Rob’s brother-in-law and nephew, and a couple thousand strangers went out to see what all the buzz was about on Vail Mountain.

Snow, and lots of it. The superlatives can not adequately describe how much fun this place can be after 3 days of dumping. Suffice to say, one of the best ski days of the year.

A few quotes from the gang:

Randi, with a huge smile and a gleam in her eyes said “The Forever run was the best of the season. I could have made it top to bottom, but I stopped to wait for all the other old people”.

Tim (Ohio buddy) said “I’m a lousy skier and Blue Ox was easy. I’m re-naming it Little Calf”.

Dave (Denver buddy) said “If it wasn’t for Vail, I’d be at home shopping for an inappropriate Valentines card. I love this place”.

As we stared down knee deep powder, Lisa said to me (for the 4the time) “Just let it go”. (This time I was determined to fall on purpose and make her wait).

Rob remarked “Has anyone seen my brother-in-law”?

The 2 o’clock picnic beside chair 5 was the ideal ending to a glorious day. The back-packs came out from under the trees and were undressed on the table. The typical ingredients were laid out for a mountain top picnic. Something to eat; hot dogs, chips, grapes, cheese. Something to drink; wine, sambuca, champagne, beer, brandy, and melted snow for hydration. Then Rob opened his pack and started grilling a couple of racks of lamb, garnished with goat cheese (I could make this stuff up but I’m not).

One more Forever run before the Bowls close and then in for the day. What a Happy Valentines Day. I hope everyone’s night was just as exhilarating. Personally, I called everyone I knew and left messages begging for a return call. I didn’t want to fall asleep on the couch at 7:15. I made it to 7:45.

That’s your Hallmark Holiday Ski Report.

Greg Z

Three Weeks Brings New Life?

There comes a time when you admit to yourself that you can’t win at anything.  Sure I can compete, but improving my golf game and beating my 26 year old son is a thing of the past.  I know I will never catch up to the friends I ski with.  I play tennis occasionally and can’t beat a girl.  Rather than cry about it, I simply tell everyone that what I do is for fun and then I go home and kick the dog.

That being said, every once in awhile you can be teased by your own accomplishments and I am in the “there’s still hope I will join the world rankings once again” mode.

It started three weeks ago.  Team Antlers arrived as we always do for the Wednesday night league at the bowling alley.  Yes, I said Bowling.  The Antlers has an organized team that has been involved in the league play for 5 years.  We have uniforms and everything.  We have always been in the lower third of the standings and struggle to win just like the Chicago Cubbies used to be or the Cleveland Indians are now.We’re a likable team though.  The other guys really seem to enjoy playing against us.  It must be our magnetic personalities combined with a killer attitude to compete and ultimately lose.

Three Wednesdays ago we busted out of the gate and started to show all the young, finely tuned athletes in Eagle County what kind of grit and fiber we’re made of.  Entrenched firmly in last place and arriving as we do (non-threatening), we took the unsuspecting opponents for all they had.  Cowering like small children, they left that night with a bit more respect for us than when they arrived.  Yours truly bowled a career high 218 and was hoisted upon David LeVine’s shoulders and carried off to the parking lot.

Not to be outdone, Rob LeVine quickly blew out my candle in order to make his shine brighter.  The following week he recaptured the spotlight and bowled a career high 226.  I attempted to hoist him onto my shoulders but dropped him on the table into a half finished pizza and a pitcher of beer.  Another win for Team Antlers.  On this night, we crawled out of the cellar in the standings.  The rest of the league was taking notice of the new kids in town.

Week 3 would be pivotable. We could sense the fear in our opponents eyes and felt our new found confidence.  Ladies and Gentlemen, we are on a “roll”.  The cellar is for rats and we now believe we belong upstairs like the cozy, little, huggable kittens we are.

I will spare you the details of last nights competition.  I will only say that there were no 200 games.  Speaking only for myself, I still feel like I can compete, I just don’t think I want to win.  It’s too much pressure.

Rob said it best as we packed our bags to leave.  “We took a peak out of the cellar, didn’t like it, so we crawled back in”.

Greg Z

Top Ten Things to be Thankfull for on Turkey Day

10. Snow Plow Drivers on I-70. I especially want to thank them for spraying that Mag. Chloride all over the road. It’s so refreshing to drive along at 65mph with my head out the window so I can see. That stuff also serves as a great hair gel.

9. Music. You can listen to it day and night and it remains infinitely different and timeless. TV, on the other hand, has gone from 3 networks to 500 stations and nothing is ever on. God bless em’ for trying though.

8. Kids. I love mine un-conditionally but you never stop worrying about them. I asked a wise person once “when do you stop worrying?” She said “never, and then they start reproducing”. Mom – call me, I have an ow-wee.

7. The Broncos. In spite of the fact that it’s only entertainment, after all these years, I scream when they play, cry when they lose, and wonder why when they win.

6. Chickens. I love chickens. Think about what they give us. Wings, soup, salads, eggs, jokes and much more. These fouls roam their cages, are injected with steroids, have no home life, and then offer themselves to us at least 3 times a week off the grill, a grease pit, or even as an Italian dish. They are a special species. Is anyone listening? Dial 1-800-icareaboutchicks.

5. Nancy Pelosi. Because of her, Capitol Hill is the #1 reality show on any network. You either love it or hate it. Hollywood will soon release the movie “Nancy and Harry, a Love Story” starring Tatum O’neal, Kelley MaCaulkin, and Gary Coleman as Barrack.

4. My Car. Although I leave a carbon footprint every time I drive, it gets me where I want to be. Even faster than an airplane and I don’t charge for luggage, my cell phone can stay on, and, if I please, I can eat Kentucky Fried Chicken getting there. Grab your keys, it’s on.

3. Beer. What a great invention. I don’t know exactly of it’s origin, but I think Pete Coors or Bill Budwieser had a lot to do with it. Thanks guys for mixing all those healthy vegetables together and adding a little fizz for tickle. The common man thanks you.

2. The Antlers at Vail. What a place. A great staff, wonderful owners and guests, comfortable units, free $200,000 parking spots, and an un-limited supply of smiles. I can’t believe I work here.

1. It’s Snowing Right in Our Backyard.


50 Years ….

Charley and Helen have trouble putting cake in their mouths

Charley and Helen have trouble putting cake in their mouths

Three generations later....

Three generations later....

…..and the Wachendorfer’s are just as handsome a couple as they were back then.

Charley and Helen celebrated with 85 of their closest friends on Saturday night, October 3rd right here at the Antlers. Actually the celebration started on Friday and continued until Sunday brunch was over and the final group picture was taken on the pool deck. They came from all over the country (and China) to hold their glasses up for two of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet.

Their 4 children and all the grandkids along with many from the original wedding party, were treated to old story telling, sing along’s, a wonderful dinner, and a whole lot of dancing. Arguably, this was one of the best weddings I have ever attended 50 years after the wedding.

Thanks Charley and Helen for letting us be part of a very special evening.

Rob and Randi enjoy dinner with ” Greggy, The Blow-Up Doll”Rob And Randi enjoy dinner with Greg, the blow-up doll

What Is A Legacy… Millie Barela

Quietly Going About Her Business

Quietly Going About Her Business

Grandson Brian is a Third Generation Employee

Grandson Brian is a Third Generation Employee

She came to Eagle County with her husband Willie in 1959. Think about that. What in the world was here in 1959? For those of us that say we have been here for 20+ years and think it deserves an award for longevity, take a seat.

Millie Barela was not even married a year when Willie was lucky enough to land a job with the Gillman Mine operation. Their plan was to settle right here in Minturn and start their forever adventure together. They rented a house “on the other side of the tracks” for $22/month. They saved what money was coming in and bought their first and last house for (and this is not an over or under exaggeration) $650.00. Life was good and Willie was making such a good wage ($1.20/hour) that Millie did not need to work. Her job was to get ready for the camping and fishing trips they would do in their free time.

Being the progressive young woman that she is, Millie decided she wanted a car. It was 1964 and Vail was a place that still wasn’t on the map, but things were starting to happen. The Christiania Lodge was hiring and Ted Kindal gave Millie one of the first housekeeping jobs ever in Vail. She car pooled with her friend Lucille until she could buy her Jeep. She learned to ski with the originals on Vail Mountain, but really preferred skiing Meadow Mountain in Minturn. Yes there was a ski area where sled hill is now and as Millie describes it, “they had a chair lift and a place to drink coffee at the bottom”.

The years past at the Christiania and Millie commanded the respect she was due. Her pay escalated to $1.90/hr. In 1972, when the Antlers was still operated by Gore Range Properties, she applied and was hired as Head Housekeeper “by a guy named Richard, I think”. I asked her why she changed jobs and she simply said “more money, they paid me $2.50/hour”.

That is the rest of the story and it ends this year. After 37 years with the Antlers, Millie Barela is going to retire and this time she means it. We could speak all the stereotype phrases, “she will be missed”, “how can we replace her”, “the place won’t be the same”, but Millie deserves more than that. It’s not very often that an employee and a beautiful person can walk away from your daily life and truly have an impact on how you carry on.

Her gift to all of us, our owners, and guests is the gift of example. We all need to pattern ourselves as she has lived and worked. That is the legacy of Millie Barela.

Greg Z

(Of course she will be missed, but we can understand she wants to spend more time with Willie and all those beautiful grand-kids). We love ya” Millie.

Have a story or a fond memory?  Feel free to leave a comment for her.



It was a beautiful evening for America’s past time sport. The teams gathered early for warm-ups at Ford Field. The stands were filling slowly and young fans stood near the dug outs hoping to get a glimpse and maybe an autograph from their heroes. The atmosphere was relaxed and typical for the start of any softball game. This night, however, would permeate with drama as the innings unfolded.

It was more than Schalder’s curve ball which kept the Snow Pigs guessing at the plate. It was more than than the almost flawless defense which continually frustrated the hitters on the opposing team. It was more than the bats of the G.H.O.S.T. cracking hit after hit. Scoring run after run.

There was magic in the breeze that surrounded us on this night.

The tension escalated as the team and the fans began to fathom the un-imaginable. “Relax and have fun out there” were the cries from the dug out as we took to the field in the last inning, clinging to an 8 run lead.

The Pigs are a proud team and refused to go away. A rally by the opposing team in the last inning was all to familiar to the G.H.O.S.T. Victory snatched away and the disappointment that goes with it has troubled this group in the past. But this Monday evening was different. After all, there was magic in the breeze and this group of fighters walked away with a 13 to 7 win.

The masses didn’t flood the streets and there were no car fires or riots in Vail on this evening to celebrate one of the greatest victories in modern sports. Rather the team had a quiet dinner and a couple (hundred) drinks and reflected about the achievement. I asked one player what’s next? His response while sipping on a pitcher of beer, “This hasn’t even hit me yet, ask again tomorrow”. I guess I should have clarified that I was talking about the game.

Greg Z

I Was Scared…


When I slid off chair 4 on Sunday, April 19th at 1:00 in the afternoon, I could not believe my eyes.It was closing day in Vail and the 2009 ski season had only hours left. I personally have never participated in the activities that make our mountain different than any other mountain in the world on this particular day. Simply put, it is a party. It is a big party and it’s organized. Organized chaos, but organized just the same.


I was riding up the chair with a very friendly couple from Steamboat and they told me they never have seen anything like this anywhere. “They begin to close our mountain at 1:00 and encourage people to go home. They never would allow an open container in a lift line, let alone the party that’s going on up there”. We reached the top and I saw what they were referring to for the first time. I thought, “Welcome to Vail”.



THIS IS KINDA HOW IT GOES…..Friends and hundreds (thousands) of others gather at Belles Camp in Blue Sky Basin at 10:30 or so, for the “lunch”. If you can’t find a grill, no problem. This is about sharing, and people will cook for you and offer most anything they have. Woodstock at 11,500 feet. This includes whatever their pouring for the shotski.


IT TOOK ME 27 MINUTES TO GET DRESSEDEventually, everyone skis to the confluence of chairs 4, 11 and 5. This is where, if you have not seen this before, you actually have second thoughts about skiing right to church and praying for these souls. Well, I don’t hardy pray for anyone anymore, so I found my friends and lots of others. You then realize this is the only place in the world you want to be right now. Then the avalanche canons fire and the lifts are officially closed for the season. The champagne corks are popped and you toast with anyone holding a paper cup. Next stop, ski (pole) over to Wildwood. Then down to The Gazebo toward Eagles Nest. Then home on a lonely mountain.


MONIQUE, JEANMARIE, LISA & RANDI ENJOY LUNCHThe only thing I was scared about now was getting hurt on the last day. I was actually feeling a little sad. For the first time ever, I wished a ski mountain would stay open just a little longer, just for me. I stopped several times to take in the sunset and a have a deep breath. As far as I know, every crazy human that participated in the closing day festivities went to work the next day and now life goes on without a chairlift. Maybe that’s a good thing.Greg Z

What’s Everybody Up To?

The 2009 ski season has reached its final few weeks and this is the time of year that employees start making plans for the exodus to near or far away places. I asked a few what plans they have in order to regenerate and then return to start the summer season.I asked Darci what she is doing now that the season is over and she has won the Super Bowl title of front office managers…..“I’m going to Disney World!” Herself, Joel and Mariah are headed to sunny Florida to party with Dumbo and Pluto.Chris Ratz. and Sara have plans that are a bit similar (warm weather) but have no fun parks to visit. “We went to Hawaii a few years ago and had to come back after 3 days. This time we plan on staying for the whole reservation.” Book em’ Danno.”Magda, you’re from Ecuador, are you going home to visit?” “No. My crazy Grandma is visiting my crazy sister in New York and that is where I would like to go. She is here until July and we will need to take turns taking her to the discotheque.”Chris A. and Erin managed to get a house on a beach and are spending a week in Cabo. “We got a good price. Free. I’m really happy my girlfriend knows people in right places.”Matt Z. is going to spend time in San Diego and visit with some friends. “My beloved Cubbies are in town that week and I hope to catch some rays, the beach, and a ball game or two. They’re going to win it all this year, you know.”Tom S. has already been and back. “Eleven of us were on this 100 foot chartered boat and we floated around the Socorro Islands for a week swimming with the fishies and we didn’t run out of beer this time.”Amy S. is going to “almost heaven”. “I haven’t been back to West Virginia in awhile. It will be good to see the farm agin’.”Rob, you have to be going somewhere this year? “Yep. To the golf course every chance I get. There still is hope.”Yours truly plans the most opulent trip of all. First it was Italy. Then I considered Malta. I looked into Uruguay. Then I booked it….Cleveland. Lots of friends and family and it really is a great place to visit, but after 35 years here, I wouldn’t want to……..See you all for summer time in VailGreg Z