Most GM’s Don’t Get To Do This

Bill and Shirley Rauter bought Antlers #506 back in the day.  It was 1972 to be exact. They were the original owners and now theirs is one of only a few Antlers condos that has never changed hands. We’ve been good friends ever since I came on the scene in 1978.

Typical of most Antlers owners back then (and now as well) they had hearts of gold and whenever they came to town they were anxious to share their appreciation for this place they loved so much.

When Bill passed away a few years ago, the Antlers Heart and Soul took a big hit. He was such a nice guy and simply loved having fun. When Colorado passed proposition 64 a couple years ago it was proof that Bill was just a little ahead of his time.

One of Bill’s many joys was sitting on the balcony of #506 and just soaking in the scenery … with Gore Creek as the only thing separating him from the slopes of Vail Mountain. At one point he said, “When I go, I want you to spread my ashes up there so that I can enjoy this scene forever.”

Bill Rauter

Earlier this year Shirley brought some friends and family together for a bit of a reunion and to celebrate Bill’s life. Heart and soul makes a comeback! One of their goals was to spread his ashes as he suggested. Although they sprinkled some at the top of the mountain, they didn’t quite make it down to one desired spot, right next to the trail sign at the top of Simba face. Shortly afterward though, when Shirley was leaving, she asked me if I would do that one favor for her …

“Honored” doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. I waited for just the right day.  November 9th 2014 was a crisp, clear, bluebird day, with just a hint of oncoming winter in the air. I hiked up Simba face and said my own private farewell to Bill. I told him we miss him.   A lot.

From now on, whenever Shirley or I or anyone else who knows, looks at that trail sign from the deck of 506 …

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Our heart and soul lives on.

 

 

– Rob

It’s November 10th!

It’s 2:00 in the PM this particular Monday.   Not just another Monday, but a stormy Monday.

The weather guy in New York told me this morning that Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota would be in for some frigid temperatures this week.  Apparently there is a new polar vortex forcing its way from Alaska and will ultimately consume most of our country.

Colorado Ski Country that is.

It got cold and started snowing on Vail Mountain about 2 hours ago and believe me when I say “it has not let up”.

A few shots around the campus at 2 on the 10th…..

 

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The tranquil Gore Creek got a little colder today.

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Our backyard lawn was mowed just last week.

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We were reminded to turn on the snow-melt system for our courtyard.

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We all have to learn to drive in the snow again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vail Mountain opens the 21st of this month.

If you haven’t made plans……Well?

Chef Barry’s Bodacious Breakfast Burritos

For many years we at the Antlers have pondered whether to provide a breakfast for our guests. The need seemed to be limited since every condominium has its own full kitchen. Most of our guests seem to be happy doing their own thing, and our compromise has always been to provide free shuttle service to the supermarket so they can pick up whatever they need.

Nevertheless, there still seemed to be some demand, so a few years ago we tried providing a wonderful, full hot breakfast buffet. Unfortunately, only a handful of people each day took advantage of it.  Although they definitely loved it, there just weren’t enough of them to support the effort so we stopped doing it. Despite that setback, we’ve always felt like it would be appreciated if we could just find the right model. So it’s time to try something new …

Enter Chef Barry’s Bodacious Breakfast Burritos!

breakfast burrito

Starting this winter, Antlers guests can grab a breakfast burrito (regular or vegetarian) pre-made by Barry Robinson, the Antlers acclaimed in-house catering chef. Sixty seconds in the condo’s microwave and voila!  …  a robust culinary start to the day, to be enjoyed with coffee in front of your fireplace, or munched down on the go as you walk to the gondola.

Under the heading of “Keep It Simple”, the only option will be whether or not to also purchase a small side of pork green chile for that smothered maneuver. Naturally, that eliminates the choice of eating-on-the-go; but that’s okay … the two-minute walk to the gondola isn’t enough time to finish CB’sBBB anyway.

Burritos will be $7.50 and the green chile side, another $3.50.  We think this will be a big hit.  We’ve already got a number of standing orders from the staff, who speak from experience.

For a little more reference on Chef Barry and his BBB’s, check out this blog post from a few years ago!

Any Idea Who These People Are?

Halloween is a holiday like no other.   People don’t spend a billion dollars every year on costumes and decorations if their not serious about pretend.

We met at a local pub this past Friday to celebrate “what, I don’t know”.

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Ryan and Katie enjoy a few apps while pretending they are someone else.

This guy even talked funny and told lame jokes..."what is a pirates favorite letter?"

This guy even talked funny and told lame jokes…”what is a pirates favorite letter?”

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Darci cast a spell and Dan struggles with his cocktail

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Katie was never this sweet and Michael put on his boyhood clothes and looked normal to me.

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Some people came as housekeepers.

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Magda came as an Ecuadorian Indian. What an imagination.

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Wilma (Randi) is about to meet Dr Death (Ramon) while sweet Katie enjoys the moment.

Nothing wrong with a few professionals “dressing down” after work.

Happy Halloween!

 

Revenue Management?

Twenty years ago, most of us in the hospitality business had never heard of a Revenue Manager.  Back in those days people made their reservations either by calling us, or having their travel agent call us.  It was pretty simple.  Establishing our pricing was a fairly straightforward exercise, taking into account supply and demand, which was relatively homogenous.

Fast forward to 2014 and you have the internet and a plethora of new ways to book a hotel room.  Our puzzle includes guests who:

  • Call direct
  • Book on-line direct
  • Have their travel agent use one of those two channels
  • Use a wholesaler (a travel agent for travel agents) who does the same, or maybe books through the Global Distribution System (GDS) run by the airlines (Apollo, Sabre, Worldspan, etc.)
  • Use one of two Central Reservation Systems in Vail (with or without a travel agent involved)
  • Use one of the online travel agencies (OTA’s) such as Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com or more than a dozen others

There is also the question of how all those people who are booking on-line, whether direct or through a third-party, arrived at that particular website.  The possibilities are literally endless.  Attempting to track the demand from hundreds of such different channels is a full time job, to say the least.  Each of those sources of business lends itself to complex analysis of pricing, discounting, restrictions, behavior, etc.

Ryan Kelsey c

With this ever-growing complicated puzzle of “inbound traffic” the Antlers has taken the plunge of hiring a full time Revenue Manager.  Ryan Kelsey comes to us with a good analytical background, as well as local hospitality experience at the Charter in Beaver Creek and Destination Resorts in Vail.  We’re excited to welcome Ryan to the team, and love the fact that he can focus on this crazy puzzle of selling hotel rooms and providing the best possible return to our owners, while still maintaining great customer loyalty.

These days, when people ask me, “So how’s business?”  My pat answer is, “Well, it’s pretty good, but it sure ain’t easy!”  I realize that doesn’t make us special.  Business everywhere is tougher than it used to be.  Heck, it isn’t always easy being a consumer, either.  Think of the travelers who have to deal with the same plethora of choices about where and how to book their rooms. We’d love to hear from any of you who have a favorite way to book hotel reservations.  Naturally, we love it when you call us directly. That gives us the best chance of understanding all your preferences and satisfying all of your needs. But if you’ve found a preferable way to get a great Antlers suite with just a few online clicks, we’d love to know how and why.  And we promise to share the info with Ryan.

We Lost A Great One

Col. Don circa 1990We lost another one.  A great one.  One of the original Antlers owners.  He liked to tell the story about walking through the building (the original building) when it was a concrete shell.  Must’ve been 1971.  Colonel Don Wiethuechter (pronounced Wee-Tuke-Ter) was known to us as just Col. Don.  He was as supportive an owner as there ever was.  He came to every annual owners meeting as well as one or two other times a year, and always offered encouragement and appreciation.  Sure, on occasion he may have tied me up on the phone for a few minutes too long (hours, maybe?), but what I wouldn’t give right now to hear that voice say, “Hello Mr. Manager … How are you doing today?”

Col. Don and Bud Benedict were great chums and I remember when Bud retired, me being a little worried about that element of the transition.  My worries were unfounded … Col. Don had my back just as much as he ever had Bud’s … and as much as any other owner ever has.

I always claim that the Antlers Heart and Soul is what sets us apart from our competition.  It’s unquestionably what has kept me here (and happy) for 36 years.  Well, if ever there was a symbol of our heart and soul, it was Col. Don.  We’ve had some great owner/cheerleaders over the years, but Col. Don was Col. Don circa 1995there with the best of them.  I think we only took second place to his beloved Huskies at the University of Washington, and maybe his employer of 30+ years, the U.S. Army.

He would frequently travel with the Washington football team to away games and I think even received some sort of super-booster honor at mid-field one time.  I remember when Rick Neuheisel got the coaching job at UW, after getting canned from CU.  Things didn’t go so well for Rick at Udub either and we had a great time ribbing Col. Don for years afterward about our hand-me-down.  Despite his propensity to bleed purple (as they say), he always took it well.

I think we only have five or six of the original owners left now, although there are happily another six or eight that have been handed down in their families.  It’s such a bummer to see the number dwindle, but Col. Don will always be a permanent part of Antlers lore.

Soon To Be Platinum Rated

Dr. Brooks Newbill, owner of unit 109 at the Antlers, committed to a major renovation this past spring and the results are in….. Stunning!

The 680 square foot condominium was completely “gutted” in order to launch the project.  All existing walls and popcorn ceiling texture were removed.  The original kitchen, bathroom, fireplace and all flooring were taken to a final resting place.  The majority of furniture was donated and all older appliances were properly recycled.

These few photos are only a glimpse of the final result.

With no walls left, new walls needed to be raised.

With no walls left, new walls needed to be raised.

This is eventually the kitchen with a new window.

This is eventually the kitchen with a new window.

After a little more than four months, the condominium is back in the rental pool and ready to be enjoyed.

The sliding glass door from the living/dinning area, overlooks the pool and Gore Creek.

The sliding glass door from the living/dinning area, overlook the pool and Gore Creek.

A new fireplace, entertainment center with additional storage space.

A new fireplace and entertainment center with additional storage space.

The kitchen includes granite counter tops with stainless steel appliance and heated tile floors.

The kitchen includes granite counter tops with stainless steel appliances and heated tile floors.

A king bed in the master.

A king bed in the master

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A wardrobe with plenty of space.

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A double vanity, walk-in shower and heated tile floors complement the master suite.

It also needs to be mentioned that the furniture and all the amenities to complement are of the highest standard.  The electronics and appliances are the most current available and Dr. Newbill elected to install LED lighting throughout the unit.

Congratulations Brooks Newbill, your home away from home is truly outstanding.

Another Moose Takes Refuge

Anyone that walked into our Lobby last Sunday did a double take at the sight of a very large Blue Moose standing near the fireplace.

This one did not wander unwittingly into our lobby, but rather, was intentionally dropped off under the cover of darkness. Our neighbors in Lionshead made quite the effort to wheel the 250 pound sculpture over on Saturday night from the Blue Moose Pizzeria.

The sign around its neck read “I hear you accept pets and this is a great place to stay”.

This visit didn’t get as much coverage from the press as the last one.

Dan Cullen, Front Desk Agent extraordinaire, catches up on the Sunday local news

Dan Curtin, Front Desk Agent extraordinaire, catches up on the Sunday local news

Cliffs, Creeks and Cameras at the Antlers

Emmy-award winning filmmaker, aspiring cinematographers to showcase work at Antlers at Vail hotel

adventure, films, vail hotel

Emmy award-winning filmmaker Michael Brown will showcase a spectacle of outdoor adventure films made by the Outdoor Adventure Film School Students.

The Antlers at Vail main conference room will feature kayakers cascading over waterfalls, climbers with spider-like fingertip strength, runners grinding in effort and even dogs diving for thrown buoys. On June 10, 2014 at 6 p.m. the Antlers at Vail hotel will host a presentation by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Michael Brown who will showcase a festival of outdoor adventure films made by the Outdoor Adventure Film School students over the course of the Mountain Games.

Renowned outdoor cinematographer Michael Brown is a pioneer of telling the story of adventure, and has earned more than 30 international film festival awards and three Emmys.

The Vail Symposium has partnered with the Outside Adventure Film School bringing Brown as a guest speaker to the annual debuting of short adventure films made by aspiring filmmaker students over the course of the Mountain Games.

“This event has always been a huge hit in the past with just the students showing their short work,” says Tracey Flower, the Symposium’s Executive Director. “This year we are coming on board and bringing Michael Brown – a veteran of the industry – who can speak to the audience and the students about his illustrious career.”

Brown will share clips from his videos and speak about the struggle, character, commitment and dangers of creating these mystifying videos. As a part of the Symposium’s Unlimited Adventure series, the Town of Vail Public Library has sponsored the program.

Students from the Outside Adventure Film School, over the course of the Mountain Games, are tasked with creating a video that tells the story of the games. They only have days to find the story, film it and then edit it into a three to six-minute segment. The students will showcase their films, telling the trials and tribulations they faced in the short time they had to put the films together following Brown’s lecture. If you are interested in participating in the film school there are still spots left for locals at a discounted rate.

“This event is unique for the outdoor enthusiast or the film fanatic,” said Flower. “In a few years, these students will be the ones trekking into the backcountry and bringing home awe-inspiring stories.”

If you go…

Who: Michael Brown and the Outdoor Adventure Film School
What: Screening Adrenaline I Lecture and Short Film Presentation
When: June 10, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: The Antlers at Vail
How Much: Free | $10 Suggested Donation

A.t.A.Turns….Progress

Some interesting and telling pictures taken through the week that I would like to share.  The focus this past week has not been on any one thing in particular, but rather everyone staying ahead of everyone else. Contractors are following each other from unit to unit and everything remains on schedule.  The coordination to this point has been flawless.

Windows and sliding glass patio doors were certainly part of the weeks activities.

Tom and Ryan hoist the new patio slider to unit 302

Tom and Ryan hoist the new patio slider to unit 302

 

The slider is dropped in and installed.

The slider is dropped in and installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The guys are waiting above.

The guys are waiting above.

Unit 504 is a bit more of a challenge.

Unit 504 is a bit more of a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All condo's getting new windows and doors (302,309,403 & 504) were complete before the snow came the following day.

All condo’s getting new windows and doors (302,309,403 & 504) were complete before the snow came the following day.

 

It's dropped on the balcony.

It’s dropped on the balcony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on Unit 414……….

Porcelain tile is then meticulously installed.

Porcelain tile is then meticulously installed.

Anti-fracture membrane is laid before the ceramic tile floors

Anti-fracture membrane is glued to the cement floors before finish product.

Unit 109……

New framed walls are nearly complete

New framing for walls is nearly complete.

  

A completely new floor plan

A completely new floor plan from the original studio.

 

          


 

 

 

 

Unit 406….

New tile in the bathroom is nearly complete.

New tile in the bathroom only needs grout…

 

 

....and the fireplace rock is nearly completed

….and the fireplace rock is nearly completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unit 309…..

New fireplace before...

New fireplace is framed in (notice the installed patio door).

....and the finish rock is in place (notice the new patio door).

….and the finish rock is in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior Repairs….

New doors and windows results in stucco repairs

New doors and windows results in stucco repairs

Day two of repairs.

Day two of repairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The progress is becoming more evident every day.  Stay tuned for another update next week.

Greg