Archive for the ‘Vail Colorado’ Category

Setting the Standard for Condo Improvements: Reaching Platinum Ratings

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

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 Best Place for Families to Stay in Vail

Monday, November 25th, 2013
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

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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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

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

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.

Trekking Guide to Snowshoe & Hiking Trails in the Vail Area

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

snowshoeing-in-vail-2Ski season is around the corner. We in Vail will be able to start our quest for epic powder in less than a month. But, there are so many more things to do in Vail than just ski.

While the Antlers at Vail may be your lodging choice in Vail, we like to think that we are so much more than a hotel. We like to think that we make your condo at the Antlers your home away from home, and that we welcome you as a part of our family. And, that includes sharing our favorite Vail activities, and in this case, trails. Below is a summary of some of our favorite snowshoe and hiking trails. But, we have many more to share, so if you are looking for something different just ask our front desk.

Antlers at Vail Trekking Guide: Our Favorite Snowshoe and Hiking Trails

The Antlers at Vail provides a multitude of complimentary amenities for guests including FREE snowshoe rentals and hiking poles! We have selected a few of our favorite trails below to share with you. Please ask the front desk for additional suggestions or a detailed Vail Mountain trail map.

Self-Guided Snowshoe Tours:

Old Vail Pass- East Vail
Length: 4.16 MI one way (6.7KM)
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 1,015 FT
Trail Use: Light to moderate
Access from Vail: Exit I-70 at East Vail (Exit 180) and drive 1.9MI East to the end of the plowed South Frontage Rd, just past Main Gore Drive.
Considerations: This was the route that Old Hwy 6 took over Vail Pass before I-70 was built. Before that, this route was used by the Ute Indians. Today, be aware that the snow may be thin during the early winter and spring months due to the pavement below the snow.
Directions: Snowshoe 0.4 MI toward the bike path gate. (Snow may be thin under the highway bridge). Go past the Gore Creek trailhead and campground but don’t tour the drainage due to avalanche danger. The old Vail Pass route is a good mid-winter trail that is gradual and scenic.

Meadow Grouse Loop- Minturn
Length: 6.45 MI loop (10.38KM)
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail Use: Moderate
Access from Vail: Travel West on I-70 to Exit 171 for Minturn (Hwy 24) and turn right at the stop sign (South). Continue underneath the interstate and on the right turn into the Forest Service parking lot. The trail begins at the south end of the parking lot near the white house.
Trail Highlights: Start at Meadow Mountain, follow the trail up for about 0.8 miles to the Grouse Creek connector on the left. Follow the trail southeast to the West Grouse Creek trail, turn right. You will soon reach a junction where the Grouse Lake Trail goes left, but stay right on the West Grouse Creek Trail. The trail stays left of the creek- note the ridge across the creek. It will remain steep until you approach a junction with a logging road. The creek, which is well below until this point, becomes nearly level with the trail. Watch carefully here for the snow-covered road. Turn right onto the road and you will soon find yourself on the Old Meadow Mountain Ski Area runs. You have the choice for following the Meadow Mountain Trail back down to the connector you took earlier or following the old ski runs back down to the base.

Guided Snowshoe Tours: (A safe way to get familiar with terrain.)

Nature Discovery Center (2pm daily)
Join a Walking Mountains Naturalist for an introductory educational snowshoe through the forest atop Vail Mountain. Learn about winter ecology and animal adaptations as you gaze at majestic mountain views. Call 970-754-4675 for details.

Walking Mountains Science Center (Monday – Saturday at 2pm)
Join the science center for a gentle educational hike through aspen and riparian communities. Walks will be conducted on snowshoes as necessary due to snow levels. Call 970-827-9725 for details.

The Vail Nordic Center is located on the Vail Golf Course and offers easy, intermediate, and difficult terrain. Daily groups leave at 10am. Call 970-754-3200 extension 4 for details.

*All the Vail Mountain ski terrain is open for snowshoeing. For safety reasons, please go before or after lift operation hours.

Hiking Trails

Vail Mountain Hiking Trails

Eagle’s Loop Green: Short ridge-top loop with great views of Mount of the Holy Cross – 1 mile (1.6 km), 15-20 minutes
Lower Fireweed Green: Beautiful wooded trail between Eagle’s Nest and Mid-Vail – 1 mile (1.6 km), 30-40 minutes, loop with Upper Fireweed – 2.2 miles (3.5 km), 1 – 1.5 hours
Berrypicker Blue: Starting at Lower Fireweed, this intermediate trail winds down from Mid-Vail or Eagle’s Nest to Vail Village or Lionshead, picnic at Minnie’s Deck along the way – 4.6 miles (7.4 km), 2-3 hours.
Ridge Route Blue: Intermediate ridge climb from Eagle’s Nest to Wildwood and back with spectacular views – 2.8 miles (4.5km), 1.5-2 hours
Bad Simba Black: Steep side trail formerly part of Lionshead Loop – .75 miles (1.2 km)

Other Area Hiking Trails

North Trail (Beginner)
This version of the North Trail begins at the Red Sandstone trailhead on Red Sandstone Rd. From the trailhead, ride west above Vail up countless switchbacks. After 2.0 miles riders will come to an intersection with Buffehr Creek trail. Stay left and continue down a loose and rocky descent. Reaching the bottom, riders will cross Buffehr Creek and traverse around some beaver ponds to an intersection. Follow the signs to continue on the North Trail. The trail begins to climb again with more switchbacks and great views of the Gore and Sawatch Ranges. Eventually, the trail will start to contour and the ride becomes quite enjoyable as it passes through lush aspen groves. In the height of summer, the wildflowers through this section are very impressive. The trail will start to descend towards the Davos trailhead. Stay on the main trail and ride to an intersection with the Davos Hill Climb. Turn right and ride the dirt road (FS 781) 0.42 miles to a gate. Go through the gate to access the last singletrack section of the ride. Descend through the trees to the Trappers Run trailhead. From here, ride the North Frontage Road all the way back to Red Sandstone Rd and the start of the ride.
DIRECTIONS: Drive west on Interstate 70 to Exit 173 West Vail. Take the roundabout east past Safeway and City Market to Red Sandstone Rd. Turn left and drive 0.35 miles to the Red Sandstone trailhead.

Booth Creek Falls (intermediate)
Booth Falls trail climbs north through at a steep start and levels off through clover-scented woodlands. The trail emerges into a meadow full of wildflowers. The trek to the falls is steep but quick, sloping along a creek. The falls is a refreshing stop before heading toward the lake. Hikers will climb northeast into a deep forest where the creek reappears along the trail. As hikers move further into a meadow, look for the trail fork, just above 10,200 feet, where a path to the left takes hikers into the Piney Lakes region through the Piney Creek Trail. The trees will begin to thin and the terrain continually changes. The final climb to the lake is ruthless and difficult because of a rocky, washed-out path. But when hikers finally arrive at the lake, the views are heaven on earth.
DIRECTIONS: Drive about 0.9 miles west from Interstate 70 East Vail Exit 180 to the Booth Falls Road. Turn right and proceed to the end of the road to park near the fence.

Good Snow Guarantee

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
Recent snow blankets the fall colors in Vail. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts and Andrew Taylor.

Recent snow blankets the fall colors in Vail. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts and Andrew Taylor.

Whether it’s a dinner party with friends or a Chamber mixer, sometime around October 1 every year, one of the most common lines of small talk in Vail (right behind the perennial “Aren’t we lucky to live here?”) is … “So, are you ready for winter?”

Well, ready or not … here we go!

Mother Nature has blessed us with some fresh snow the past two weeks and is predicted to do the same again over the coming days. Arapahoe Basin is already open for the season. And, Vail Mountain officially opens for ski season on Friday, November 22.

Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Dan Davis

Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Dan Davis

While the snow was so good in Vail last April that Vail Mountain had to reopen the slopes the weekend after its big season-closing bash, but there’s no guaranteeing snow. Or is there? Antlers at Vail hotel’s new early season Good Snow Guarantee* promises a zero cancellation fee policy from November 15 – December 13, 2013, to ensure guests get the snow they want. And on top of just-right snow conditions, the Antlers is offering a new Value Vail Package for the same timeframe that puts four people in a spacious two-bedroom condominium suite for four nights, with two days of lift tickets – plus unlimited snowshoe use – for $449 per person.

“We’re really embracing the snowshoeing as an add-on to our usual ski adventures this year,” says Antlers General Manager Rob LeVine. “Whether you take a beginner Vail Golf Course trek or hoof it up the pass, having snowshoes at your disposal just offers a whole new level of spontaneity for enjoying Vail’s snow and scenery.”

And as for the skiing? With good snow guaranteed and a great early season lodging deal, “Great skiing’s a given,” says LeVine.

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Creekside snowshoeing conveniently located to the Antlers

Snowshoeing is fun for all ages and athletic abilities, and the Antlers staff is happy to recommend trails to fit your mood and group. Antlers snowshoes are available on a first-come, first-served basis to registered guests.

The Antlers at Vail hotel offers a unique Vail lodging experience in a relaxed mountain setting and was recently awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for consistently outstanding traveler reviews. With condominiums ranging from studio suites up to four-bedroom penthouses, every unit at the Antlers enjoys a fully-equipped kitchen, fireplace, private balcony, daily maid service, free wi-fi and free parking.  The Antlers has an A+ location on the banks of Gore Creek, just steps from restaurants, galleries, shops, free Vail town shuttle and the Lionshead Gondola. And Antlers’ staff is always ready to help with – and offer an insider expert take on – dinner reservations, activities or any other guest request.  For more information, call 1-800-843-8245 or visit www.antlersvail.com.

*You may be wondering how we determine what good snow is. Well, it is completely up to you. So, book now to guarantee your early-bird rates with no risk!

 

Golden Glow of Fall in Vail

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Fall in Vail. Photo courtesy of VLMD & Jack Affleck.

Fall in Vail. Photo courtesy of VLMD & Jack Affleck.

I always get a bit sad when summer starts to wind down, until I remember that the end of summer means the beginning of fall, one of the most beautiful times of year in Vail.

This year summer seemed to come to a close with rains, low hanging clouds and fog. Then this morning blue skies emerged along with a crispness in the air and of course the glorious golden colors of the Aspen leaves up high on the mountains.

Fall in Vail really is the best time to get out for a spectacular hike or bike ride. But there are so many other ways to take in the amazing fall foliage. Try a ride up the gondola, a horseback ride, or the Leadville train for a different view.

Photo courtesy Beaver Creek Stables.

Golden Aspens from horseback. Photo courtesy Beaver Creek Stables.

There are fewer events going on now that it is fall and town is a little quieter with kids back in school. Vail specials begin. The Antlers at Vail is offering up to 50% off Vail lodging, and we continue our free late Sunday check-out. Restaurants begin to offer specials, and the first annual Vail Restaurant Week will kick off September 27, and run through October 6.

Post by Liana, the Antlers’ Marketing Gal

Not Exactly a Bumper Crop

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The front page of the Vail Daily headline this morning read “Community gardens reap harvest”.  It went on to recognize the half dozen or so gardens in Avon, Minturn and Edwards.  I read about their successes and  wondered “what did I do wrong?”

garden picture

This little girl is showing off some tomatoes from the Avon Community Garden (Vail Daily).

I had high hopes this spring when I transplanted my seedlings to the irrigated confines of our courtyard.  I believed with the right amount of high country Colorado sunshine and a little love, the Antlers Herb and Vegetable Garden would thrive.  I probably spoke too soon when I predicted we all would be helping ourselves to bushels of the fall harvest.  The following photo’s will demonstrate why we probably would have starved if anyone actually depended on it.

On June 11th this past spring, the garden took shape:

A little Fennel

A little Fennel

Some green and red peppers

Some Green and Red Peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basil and Tomatoes

Basil and Tomato’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the month (June 30th) there were illusions of success:

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Tomato’s are good

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Basil hasn’t been over-run yet

Peppers seem OK

Peppers seem OK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something happened in July and by August 28th there was reason for concern:

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The Peppers are being eaten and not by humans

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Running out of time and thoughts of green – fried tomato’s is becoming more of a reality.

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The basil refuses to grow and is being over-run by tomato plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the Community Gardens are showing off the fruits of their labor in today’s newspaper, we in turn, have not been contacted by their office.  I felt it my duty to forward our progress to date.

As of September 9th of 2013…..

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The Fennel is now over one and a half inches tall and two of the plants grew back into the dirt.

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The Peppers are no longer holding on after the nuclear fall-out.

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The aphids eat the basil slowly as if they feast with manners.

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The tomato plants are now big, bushy and green with very little fertilized off-spring.

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This Years Harvest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, the guest list for this years Organic Farm BBQ is limited but we look forward to feeding the masses next year.

Greg

Heroes are Hard to Find

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

There are many of us that do not have the time to volunteer or we just choose not to (and there is nothing wrong with that).  Day to day life can be a grind without having to take on more.  Enough said.

I was talking to a a friend of mine the other day and he is an individual that does give up some of his time.  He volunteers for an organization he believes makes a difference.  Before I let him tell you why he does what he does, let me give you a little background about him.

His name is Garo Chalain and he is an owner of a condominium at the Antlers.  He is from Clinton, Iowa so you know he has that mid-west innocence and country style about him (not really, but I told him that’s what I would say if anyone asked).

He worked hard for the degrees and certifications that follow his name when written professionally.  His success as an oral surgeon was abruptly halted in 2008 after a motor cycle accident while he was doing what he loved, “just messin’ around in the Vail Valley”.

Unable to practice dentistry in the office he established, he went back to school and received his certification to practice law in Colorado.

I asked him after all his hard work, what he does now for entertainment and pleasure.  “Still messin’ around in the Valley but now I have Val to cook for and all the friends that want to join us.”  (Garo has never been married and Val is the bride to be.  They will be tying the knot in September right here at the Antlers.)

The other question I asked was about his work with Wellspring as a volunteer and what satisfaction it brought.  This was his response and I encourage you to watch the video on the web-site.  Garo is the one being interviewed.)

 

Give me some short summary of why you volunteer every week at Wellspring Community (satisfaction).

Approximately a year and half ago the 12 year old son of one of our endodontist partners approached me and said “I’m not making a difference in this world.”  Initially, I took pause, and thought “you know,  I’m  40 years your senior and I’m not making a difference either.”   Young Will Holtzmann and I then actively sought out a way to make a difference. We landed at the doorstep of Wellspring Community. Wellspring is a community of developmentally disabled adults who are empowered to maximize their special skills and personalities as productive members of society.

Wellspring Community offers some very innovative programs to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities – like Down Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and even folks with traumatic brain injury.  They operate Best Buddies Bakery where they train these adults in every aspect of baking and packaging, selling their products nationally – and they have plans to start other business enterprises to give these individuals the opportunity to enjoy meaningful, productive work.  In addition to this, they offer on-going education in all kind s of life skills and enrichment activities, such as Self-defense, Art, Dance, Sign Language, Science, Culture and much more.  This summer participants are learning to grow all kinds of vegetables and herbs in a community garden.  A professional vocal coach directs the Wellspring Wonders Choir, giving these adults the thrill of enjoying music and performing before audiences.  On weekends, Club 21 gives adults with special needs a place to socialize with friends in a safe, supervised and structured setting; and it gives their parents a time of respite.

We are currently working on a residential program so that our participants will have a place to live when their parents can longer care for them.

Until I got involved, I had no idea how desperately these services were needed.  The state of Colorado ranks among the lowest in the nation (47th – 48th) in funding services for individuals with developmental disabilities and the waiting list for services is thousands of people deep.   Wellspring is giving hope to these folks and their families – and we need more partners to advance our mission………

Please go to the website http://wellspringcommunityonline.org/.

One of the things that makes him a nice guy is the fact that he inspires you and doesn’t even know he’s doing it.  And for all the years I’ve known him, never once have I heard him complain about “the accident”.

Greg

 

Jazz @ Vail Square Offers High-Energy Jazz and Blues

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Have you enjoyed Jazz at Vail Square yet this summer? There is still time! Today’s performance is the perfect kick off to the Pro Challenge coming through Vail tomorrow.

Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers Perform Thursday at Jazz @ Vail Square

Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers Perform Thursday at Jazz @ Vail Square

Today’s performance promises to be a toe-tingling time with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers.

Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers heat up the Jazz Tent with high-energy jazz and blues that will make anyone and everyone’s body itch to swing. Those who are so inclined are welcomed to take their moves to an open dance floor below the stage.

Hailing from California, Lavay Smith and her band have become a highly revered staple of the San Francisco jazz scene. Of their many awards and accolades, they earned the San Francisco Chronicle’s reader’s choice poll for best band. Nationally, they have been heralded by everyone from actor Dan Akroyd to Bill Clinton for their talent and feel-good dynamic.

The Seattle Times have deemed them “the best thing to come out of the jump/swing revival … the gal can sing her tail off,” and the Boston Globe has commented that the band is  “a notable exception to the retro-swing norm. The saucy vocalist and her crew actually know the difference between jump music and bland R&B in corny suits.”

Snapping her fingers and shaking her hips, Smith belts out her very own, “ruby red lip” and “daddy”-filled  tunes and also adds a fresh level of richness to numbers by such icons as Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith.

When asked in a recent podcast about how enjoyable it must be to woo younger generations into the realm of classic jazz and swing, Smith said, “What I really love is when an old guy who may not be a musician comes to the show and loves the music and says, ‘they’re playing my music. You guys are doing it right,’”

The seven-piece Skillet Lickers in and of themselves are star-studded. Founded and led by pianist Chris Siebert, who writes most of the band’s original arrangements, every Skillet Licker (Mike Olmos, Danny Armstrong, Jules Broussard, Robert Stewart, Nat Johnson and Howard Wiley) has an A-list track record of Lincoln Jazz Center performances and recordings with everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Qunicy Jones.

“One thing we’ve set out to do in this band is to have some of the power of a big band but the looseness of a small band,” Siebert said. “To play with this horn section, I think, man if I wasn’t playing with them tonight, I’d be paying to see them. I get to play with my heroes and listen to them solo. How did I get to be so lucky?”

What: Jazz @ Vail Square with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22

Where: The weatherproof Jazz Tent at The Arrabelle in Lionshead

Tickets: Preferred seats are $20 in advance, $25 day of show and general admission is FREE on a first-come basis. Visit vailjazz.org.