Art of the Meeting: 7 Tips for the Perfect Vail, Colorado, Event

MEETING ROOM #2  1139From an industry trade show for hundreds to wildflower Vail weddings to a group of lawyers from across the country more interested in skiing than meeting, the Antlers at Vail gets all kinds of group requests in the course of a year. Because each group’s needs – from high-tech audiovisual capabilities to catered fine dining to convenient ski storage – are different, we pride ourselves on our personalized – and personal – service for one and all. Along the way, we’ve come up with a few tips for meeting planners to consider when booking a Vail event:

One on One: Want to make sure everything goes perfectly from the first planning stages to the final checkout? Choose a hotel where the person who books your meeting is the one who services it. We can handle up to 100 people comfortably, depending on the type of event, but because we are a smaller venue, the meeting planner has the benefit of one person who can see the group’s experience through from start to finish – they don’t have to track down a separate ‘day of contact’ person from the person who books them, for instance. And details don’t “slip through the cracks.”

Can You Hear Me Now: Make sure a venue’s audiovisual system can handle your technology and presentation needs. While Antlers has just installed an all-new A/V system for winter 2014, hotels with slightly older systems may not be able to sync easily with whatever a presenter might be bringing. And many hotels charge extra for audiovisual services, which are provided by an outside company. At Antlers, it’s all handled in-house without any fees. One additional tip, learned the hard way: When in doubt, put everything on a flash drive that can be easily moved from one computer to another in case of glitches.

Location, Location, Location: The number one rule of real estate applies to group events, too – from meetings and conferences to weddings and reunions. Your attendees or guests will be happiest if they have quick access to an area’s amenities – like the Antlers’ proximity to great restaurants, shops, your morning latte, a bike/hike path, the slopes (the Lionshead Gondola is just yards from our front door), and events from Vail Jazz Fest to the Lionshead Oktoberfest. And for everything else, the free Vail shuttle stops right outside our door.

RAWLINGS_0037Dine Al Fresco: An outdoor dining spot can bring a breath of fresh air to meetings – ask during planning stages if the venue includes the chance to step outside at meals. When you get your lunch at the Antlers (or even your continental breakfast), take it down the steps just outside the conference room and eat poolside, overlooking Gore Creek. Don’t miss the start of your meeting, though.

Fee or Free: Hotel “extras” can increase your bill significantly when each service comes with a price attached. Consider what services your conference-goers might need, including WiFi, parking, or even watching a movie, and ask about hidden charges. The Antlers at Vail prides itself on its many complimentary extras (including unlikely ones like bikes and snowshoes) – so much so that we wrote a separate blog post on the subject.

Community Props: A strong community marketing organization helps conference planners find your community and get the big picture on what the area has to offer. Vail is lucky to have the nonprofit Vail Valley Partnership – a 2012 and 2013 winner with Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for “best destination marketing” – representing the community to groups.

Know Your Audience: Tailoring a meeting for best results can be as easy as having a way to efficiently gather audience responses. Antlers meetings offer polling devices – used successfully with diverse groups including Vail Symposium – that project conveniently graphed results on the screen instantly.

Planning a Vail meeting, conference or group event? Come and check out the Antlers at Vail’s 2,600 square feet of group meeting space with four meeting room options and an executive boardroom. Some groups combine their meeting each day with popular Vail activities such as skiing, golf, or fly-fishing.  In fact, the Antlers has even promoted a scuba exploration course to our groups that was taught in our swimming pool right outside. Have an idea you’d like to try? Just ask. Looking for ideas? Check out our blog posts on past Antlers’ groups.

Piney Lake Hiking

Looking for a good short hike without getting too far from civilization? Try heading up to Piney River Ranch and checking out the trails up there. To reach Piney River Ranch from North Frontage Road in Vail, you take Red Sandstone Road to Piney lake road (or county road no.700)travel 11 miles up a gravel road (takes about 40 minutes). The ranch itself is worth a visit as (depending on the season) there are a plethora of activities offered. I highly recommend checking out the ranch’s website to see what activities are being offered before heading up there as they change frequently. On the north side of the lake theres a sign showing the Piney River trail (go right) and the Meadow Creek and Soda Lakes trails (go left!). Both offer very scenic mellow hikes. The falls are very secluded and beautiful and are a very popular photo op location. Below is an interactive google map showing the location of the trail respective to Antlers. The lines are the road up to Piney River Ranch, the Soda Lakes trail, and the Piney River trail.

View Piney Lake Trails in a larger map


Recipe of the Week from Chef Angelee Aurillo

Chef Angelee Aurillo

We are still not sure if winter has ended and spring has begun.  One day it is blue skies and 50* and the next day it snows a foot and a half!  This soup is perfect for one of those gray, in between days.  These recipes are no question favorites of everyone who eats them.   They are extremely simple and extremely satisfying.  They are perfect for a hearty lunch or for a light dinner.  You can serve this cheesy bread with just about anything, but if you do, expect to be asked for the recipe!  I think a nice Pilsner or ESB is the perfect complement to the meal.   Bon appétit! 

Bean and Bacon Soup with Cheesy Onion Bread

 (Serves 4)

Bean and Bacon Soup

8 slices of bacon, diced into bite sized pieces, 2T (cooked) reserved for garnish

1 ½ Large Yellow Onion, finely diced

2 Medium Carrots, peeled and finely diced

3 Cans Cannellini or Great Northern Beans, with liquid

Salt to taste (Taste it and adjust the seasoning accordingly.  I usually do not add much salt considering how much bacon there is in this recipe…  It is bean with bacon, after all…)

Freshly cracked pepper at the table (I do not use black pepper in most of my recipes…I would rather it be offered at the table)

Cheesy Onion Bread

1/3 c Mayonnaise

1/2 Medium Yellow Onion, finely minced

1 c grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1/8 t Cayenne Pepper

1/4 t Salt

4 thick slices of French bread (If you wish to use sliced baguette, allow 2 slices per person)

In a medium pot over medium heat, add the oil and then the bacon.  Cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove with slotted spoon and reserve.  Add the onion and cook until just soft, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes until soft.   Add the beans and mix well.  Let it cook on medium , stirring often for a few minutes, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, but keeping your eye on it.  (Due to all of the natural starch in the beans, the soup will stick if not stirred often or if the heat is too high.  If it becomes too thick, add a small amount of water.)  We like the soup on the thicker side, but if you prefer it thinner, cook it for less time and do not let it reduce as much.  Mine usually cooks for about 15 minutes.  Add the cooked bacon reserving 2T bacon for garnish.   

 Preheat the oven to 350*.  Begin the cheesy bread while the soup is cooking… In a bowl, mix the first five ingredients.  Spread generously on the sliced bread and put onto a baking sheet.   Bake the bread for 15 minutes or until the tops have browned.  Serve the bread with a hot bowl of soup and a cold beer.  Enjoy!

Fondue Party at the Antlers at Vail

Chef Angelee Aurillo

Hello everyone it is Angelee, the Chef at the Antlers at Vail! Lent is coming to an end for those of you who have been dedicated over these last 40 days.  And, we have  a reward for all of you who gave up chocolate, or those that just want a fun time to spend with your friends and family this Easter Week.

We are offering to all of our guests a Fondue evening Thursday night & Easter Sunday!  Dark and white chocolate fondue served with delicious dipping options:  Strawberries, Bananas, Rice Krispy Treats, Marshmallows, M&M’s, Pound Cake, Colored Sprinkles, Cookies, Pretzels and Vanilla Wafers!

Thursday Night Fondue has been a great success with children and adults, alike…Usually we have the fondue party on Thursday evenings (from 7-9pm), but I thought it would be a great idea to offer it twice this week.  What better way to celebrate!!  The cost is $10/person and includes milk and coffee.  We also sell red wine (a natural partner to chocolate) for $5/glass (cash only, please.)

If you and your family will be attending an evening Mass on Sunday night and cannot make it at the time offered, don’t worry, we can deliver it to your room for when you return!  All you have to do is (gently) re-heat the chocolates; all of the dippers will be there!  Just let Katie know how many people are in your party and that you would like it delivered to your room also on what night your party will be attending…You can reach her at:  970.476.2471 or at:  She will respond with all of the details.  Come one night or both nights, we would love to have you!!  Please reserve your place as soon as possible; we fill up pretty quickly. We look forward to seeing you and your family!!

Recipe of the Week from Chef Angelee at the Antlers at Vail


Chef Angelee

Hi Everyone!  It is Angelee, the Chef at the Antlers at Vail!  Every time it seems winter is coming to an end, our wish gets granted and we are blessed with more snow…This recipe is one of my favorites and perfect for an unexpected cold day: A warm, roasted beet salad with oozing Brie.  Don’t rush this recipe if you don’t have to: roast the beets a day ahead, let them rest and they will reward you with an unexpected sweetness.  But do try to have some disposable gloves on hand; otherwise they will leave your finger tips a lovely shade of purple!  Pair this salad with a roasted loin of pork and couscous, garlic bread and a nice Pinot Noir for a fabulous meal!!

Roasted Beet, Watercress and Warmed Brie Salad

4-5 Red or Golden Beets (I like to use both) **

1.5T Vegetable Oil

2 Bunches Micro Watercress (or use Baby Arugula if Watercress is unavailable)

4 individual wedges of Brie (I would use half of a small wheel for 4 portions)

1/3 C White Balsamic Vinegar

1T Honey

1 ¼ C Olive Oil (Mix ¾C Extra Virgin and ½C Pure or Grapeseed Oil)


Fresh Thyme Leaves to garnish

Freshly Ground Pepper to garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350*.  Cut off just the tip and bottom of the beets.  In a bowl, toss the beets with the oil.  Wrap lightly in aluminum foil and roast until tender, about 1-1.5 hours.  (You can test for doneness by sticking a knife into the thickest part of the beet.  If it slides in and out easily, they are finished roasting.  You will also know they are finished because the skin will slide off easily.)

While the beets are roasting, make the vinaigrette.  In a bowl, add the vinegar and the honey.  Whisk to dissolve the honey.  (Warmed honey dissolves the easiest…)  Season with salt then begin to slowly drizzle the oil into the vinegar, whisking to emulsify.  (If you put a folded kitchen towel under the bowl, it will stay in place making it much easier to whisk…)   Continue until you have a nice, emulsified vinaigrette.  Put aside until ready to use.

Once the beets have finished roasting, either let them rest at room temperature OR peel, quarter and season with salt.  Put aside and keep warm if you will be serving it immediately.  Leave the oven at 350*.  When ready to serve, cut off the root end and at least 1/3 of the stem of the watercress.  Gently pat dry.  Put the beets (still in their foil) into the oven for 5 minutes and then add the Brie for another 3 minutes or so, to warm through.  In a bowl, add the beets, toss with some of the vinaigrette (adjusting the amount to your taste), season with salt and gently fold in the watercress and the fresh thyme leaves.

Divide the salad onto four plates.  I like to put the tip of the wedge of the warmed Brie resting on the salad at 4 o’clock, if you were looking at a clock.  Sprinkle some reserved thyme leaves and freshly cracked pepper, if you would like and serve!!! It is delicious!!  If you really want to go over the top, drizzle some white truffle oil if you have it over the salad…Magnifique!!

**If the Golden Beets are extremely small, either double the amount or omit them and use only Red.  I like the variety in color; it looks great on a plate.  Be sure to keep the Red and Golden separate because the Red will bleed onto the Golden and they will become red…

Recipe of the week

Hello everyone! After a long and exhausting day on the mountain, it is sometimes nice to have a quick, early dinner and relax for the evening.  I just made this recipe and don’t think it took me longer than twenty minutes.  It is quick, delicious and filling, which will make relaxing in the hot tub that much easier!  Pair with a dry Chardonnay or if you are daring, a crisp, Rosé to complete this dish! – Chef Angelee.

Paillard of Chicken served with a Sauté of Spinach, Grape Tomatoes and finished with a Dijon Cream (Serves 2)

Paillard of Chicken

2 Chicken Breasts, *pounded thinly* between 2 pieces of Saran Wrap

1T Unsalted Butter, melted

¾ c Bread Crumbs

1tsp. Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

2.5T Vegetable Oil

Dijon Cream

1 c Heavy Cream (If you do not wish to use heavy cream, substitute chicken broth)

1.5T Dijon Mustard

½ t Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Sauté of Spinach and Grape Tomatoes

1.5T Unsalted Butter

14 Whole Grape Tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

½-1 lb. Fresh Spinach (I only had a 1/2 lb. which is why I used that amount…you can add more if you wish)

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large Ziploc bag, mix the bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper (to taste).  In another Ziploc bag, add the melted butter and then add the chicken to coat.  Put the coated chicken into breadcrumb mixture and press to coat.  (Let the coated chicken rest for a few minutes on a plate while the oil is heating.)  Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the vegetable oil.  Once it is hot, (but not too hot because the breadcrumbs will burn), add the paillards.  Once they begin to brown around the edges and they begin to ‘curl up’, turn and continue to cook.  Cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.  (I like to salt breaded foods when I turn them because the salt is best absorbed then.) Remove from pan and put on a rack over a plate or cookie sheet to rest.  Wipe out the pan leaving a tablespoon of browned bits.

Add the cream and garlic powder to chicken pan.  Reduce heat to low to begin reducing the liquid.  Once it nicely coats the back of a spoon, add the mustard.  Mix well and leave on warm until ready to serve.

Heat another sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the butter and the tomatoes.  Sauté the tomatoes until they just ‘pop’, then add the garlic and spinach.  Let the spinach barely wilt, add salt and pepper to taste and leave on warm until ready to serve.

Put the tomato and spinach sauté on a plate.  Add the paillards of chicken, coat with the Dijon cream.  Serve and enjoy!

*When pounding out chicken breasts it is best to turn over the breast, pounding the underside versus the top part of the breast.  You need not pound as hard and it will flatten much more easily.

A delicious recipe for the winter!

Hello Everyone!  I’m Angelee, the Chef at the Antlers at Vail!

This winter has been great in Vail, but as usual, we are  praying for more snow!  When it is cold outside, I have the perfect recipe to warm up you and your family that is healthy, easy and delicious!  Serve this satisfying soup with a nice salad and some warm bread for the perfect winter dinner!  Pair with a nice Chardonnay to complete the meal!

Purée of Carrot Soup

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 leek, sliced (white part only)

1 shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

6 large carrots peeled and chopped
2.5 cups chicken stock, or enough to cover

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pinch of Chinese 5-Spice (or if you don’t have any, use a pinch of cinnamon)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Croutons and green part of scallion to garnish

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, shallot and garlic.  Cook over a low heat until soft, without browning. Add a pinch of salt.  Add the chopped carrots, stir and then add the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Purée the soup with a hand blender until smooth or mix carefully in a blender. Season the soup with salt, pinch of Chinese 5-Spice and finish with heavy cream.  Garnish with croutons and scallions.  Enjoy!!

Colorado Destination Weddings- 5 Most Asked Questions

Mountain and Meadows Wedding

JoAnn Moore-Mountain and Meadows Wedding

Destination Weddings- 5 Most Asked Questions


JoAnn Moore, CWC from Mountains and Meadows Weddings is a very good friend of the Antlers at Vail.  She wrote this article about destination weddings, we would love to share it with you!  We hope this information helps you with your wedding plans.

” Couples are choosing Destination Weddings for the reason of wanting a spectacular location, but also a different location than their hometown, to minimize their guest list and to give their family and friends an adventure – not just a wedding. As a Certified Professional Wedding Consultant I am often asked:

1. Is it more expensive to have a destination wedding?

Destination weddings can help couples decrease their overall cost through a subsequent reduction in the guest list Up to two-thirds of their guests won’t be able to travel for various reasons. A lower guest count can reflect a decrease in cost. Destination resort areas such as the Colorado Mountains have an array of venues to choose from, including spectacular outside ceremony locations and beautiful banquet facilities for the reception. Having such a huge selection of venues means you can shop around for a location that fits both your vision and budget.

2. Should I hire local vendors or bring my vendors with me to a destination location?

Definitely hire local vendors. They are wise to the changes in weather and they know secret locations for both venues and photo opportunities. They have experience working with the other vendors in the area, making for a great team. Local vendors also save you money by requiring little or no travel or accommodation fees.

3. Outside ceremonies, do I really need a back up plan?

Yes you do! The Colorado weather is very unpredictable and can change within minutes. You need to be able to take care of your guests in the event of lightning; having a back up plan is a must. You will be glad you didn’t scramble at the last minute to make a decision of where to go. Your back up plan location should be easily accessible from the original ceremony site and be ready to walk into for as little of a delay in your ceremony time line as possible.

4. Colorado Marriage Licenses, what do I need to know?

It’s not difficult to obtain a marriage license in Colorado. You may obtain the license from most County offices in Colorado. You will both need to be present with photo identifications; both of you will need to sign the license. You must be at lease eighteen years of age and if either of you have been married previously, you will need to provide the county with a copy of the divorce decree with the date and county court the divorce was finalized. Any ordained minister, judge or rabbi may perform your ceremony. A couple may choose to solemnize their vows without an officiant, but no other person may perform the ceremony and sign the marriage license. Once the license is obtained, your marriage must occur within 30 days of issue. There is a fee which various from county to county ranging from $30 to $80. Following the wedding the license must be mailed back to the county where it was obtained to be recorded. A blood test is not required.

5. Should I hire a Wedding Planner?

Absolutely! You will appreciate a wedding planner familiar with the venues and their expertise in finding the best vendors for you and your budget.  A local wedding planner is also experienced dealing with the Colorado weather and is someone who takes the stress off of you so that your special day runs smoothly, allowing you to enjoy every moment. Your wedding planner is your destination point person when you can’t be at your venues. Your wedding planner can assist you with your budget and negotiate fees with vendors and venues. Your wedding planner works behind the scenes as the team leader to give all vendors their timeline and troubleshoots any and all problems that may come up. Your wedding planner is the go to person that resolves any last minute changes and vendor issues. They oversee set up and break down of the venues, keep track of all your personal items you brought, pack up your gifts and cards and assist the guests with any thing they may need. Wedding Planners are detailed, multi-taskers, creative and resourceful. You absolutely will want the assistance of a professional Wedding Planner with any destination wedding!”

Contributor: JoAnn Moore, CWC

JoAnn Moore, CWC is the owner and founder of Mountains and Meadows Weddings based in Vail, Colorado. JoAnn’s 30 years in the Vail Valley gives her an unsurpassed knowledge of the local landscape which brings her clients a wide range of design options for either indoor or outdoor venues. JoAnn is currently the only Certified Professional Wedding Consultant in the state of Colorado, a member of ACPWC and ABC. To find out more about JoAnn and her work, visit