The Antlers at Vail Condominiums were first built in 1972, at the same time that most of Lionshead was developed. It didn’t take long however, before the Antlers distinguished itself from the myriad of other condominium properties. Bud Benedict was the first general manager (there have only ever been three). Bud guided the homeowners association into an efficient operation, but more importantly one with a significant heart and soul.
It’s always been an important part of our culture that owners and employees alike feel like the Antlers is their family. A number of the Vail condominiums here have been handed down from parents to children, and about a third of the families who owned units in 1980 still call the Antlers home. Even many of the owners who have sold over the years, like Eric and Ruth Stromberg, Ken Hodgkinson and others, stay in touch and come visit us regularly. Past employees like Bert Farin, Millie Barela, Chris Ratzlaff and Lucy Valdez will all tell you that the Antlers was not just a place to work, but will always be a part of who they are.
The same warmth and caring attitude that permeates our owners and staff has created bonds with many of our guests that go far beyond the typical hotel guest relationship. After coming to the Antlers many times, the Thompson Family reunion told our director of sales at the time that they were making him an honorary Thompson. The McQuillen Mundus family has had 28 reunions here, and the Mouzon Biggs family holds the record with 40!
When Bill and Jane Volz decided to get married in Vail with a very small ceremony, our staff joined them at the top of the mountain on skis (Stephanie had to snowshoe up). Previous General Manager, Rob LeVine, presided and then announced them husband and wife. Randi and Bert pulled out a wedding cake (that’s right), and popped the champagne for everyone. Following that, everyone skied down together.
Central to the Antlers history is Millie Barela, who after working on the original construction cleanup crew back in 1972, remained our executive housekeeper until she retired in 2009. Shortly thereafter the newly added executive conference room was named the Millie Barela Board Room in her honor … and deservedly so.
Stories of a personal touch such as these are virtually endless at the Antlers. Annual homeowner meetings and seasonal employee parties are rife with them. But this heart and soul that we speak of is more than just a nicety. It is this deeper cooperative spirit that has made our business so successful. Indicative of that was the $22 million renovation accomplished in the years 2000 – 2002. While many other condominium properties in Vail have longed for and even tried to redevelop themselves, the Antlers at Vail Condominiums were the first that had what it takes to pull together and get it done. Most professional developers cannot believe that 70 individual homeowners came together, agreed on a plan, collectively assumed the risk and then successfully completed a project of this magnitude. That alone is a story for the ages, but at the Antlers, it was just another step along the road.
These tales and many others are indicative of why the Antlers was named Business of the Year at the Vail Valley’s first ever Excellence Awards banquet. We’re enormously proud of that and everything it represents about our extended family.
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