Greg Gone Green

“Going Green” in the lodging industry is not a trend anymore; it’s a way to do business.  Since the early eighties, the Antlers have been committed to green practices.  Recently we have introduced even more initiatives.  Our Sustainability Coordinator believes the new innovations available to all of us not only save energy and reduce waste, but often save the other kind of green ($) at the same time.  “There truly is a balance, sacrificing comfort or quality is not part of the equation anymore.”

A few examples that are now in place, or soon to be in place are the refillable amenities containers that are in all the guest condominiums. Standard globe lighting is being replaced with more expensive but longer lasting L.E.D lighting. Energy management systems are being installed in some of our condominiums which recognize when a room is not occupied and activates a “sleep” mode for energy consumption. We are investigating and considering the idea of “staging” the energy consumption in our building in order to not reach peak demand periods as other properties do.

Some of these ideas and many more are unique to the Vail Valley.  We have taken the lead once again and hope to continue to set an example for all others to follow.

Vail’s Chair 5 High noon express opening Friday Dec 10th

Here is the latest press release:  Incredible news, Vail’s newest high-speed quad chairlift, the High Noon Express Lift (#5), also known as “Chair 5,” is set to officially open for the season on Friday, Dec. 10 at 9 a.m. The long-awaited lift boasts a ride time of six minutes, just half that of the fixed-grip triple chairlift it replaces. With the opening of the lift and surrounding terrain, Vail’s skiable acres will climb to 5,000 on Friday. 

To celebrate the lift’s debut, guests are invited to gather at the top of the lift for complimentary cookies, hot cocoa and commemorative lapel pins while supplies last. Long-time Vail local’s Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer’s inaugural ride up the High Noon Express Lift (#5) will kick off the opening of the High Noon Express Lift and surrounding terrain at 9 a.m.

 “There is nothing on earth like Vail’s Back Bowls on a powder day, and with 70 percent more capacity and half the ride time of the old lift, the new Chair 5, will allow our guests to move quicker up and around the mountain and get even more out of their days,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.

 The legendary Back Bowls have been part of the ski scene since Vail opened in 1962 with only a gondola out of the village and two chairlifts, including the original lift out of the bowls. The area surrounding the new High Noon Express Lift (#5) is made up of Sun Up Bowl on the east side and Sun Down Bowl on the west with High Noon Ridge standing between and sweeping vistas of the Colorado high country that made the Back Bowls famous amongst skiers and snowboarders worldwide. Pepi himself was amongst the first to ski the terrain prior to its public opening in December 1962 and will be eternally linked to the long and infamous trail “Forever,” which he skied with Vail pioneers Dick Hauserman, Bob Parker and Morrie Shepard before the lift was installed, remarking that he thought it would take them “forever” to hike back out.

 Manufactured by Leitner-Poma of America, the High Noon Express Lift (#5) will improve skier and rider circulation in the Sun Up and Sun Down areas and will also provide an alternate route for guests moving west from the top of the Teacup Express Lift (#36) at the end of the day. The new lift increases Vail’s uphill lift capacity to 59,092 people per hour.

Chair 5 rides up that ridge straight ahead, picture taken from Sun Down Bowl looking East towards High-noon Ridge

Vail Back Bowl drama Chair 5

Vail mountain’s new Chair 5 High Noon Express is still being worked on (photo from 11/22/10).  A sign nearby says that they’ll be opening in mid-December, so people are a bit worried and bummed.  With some of the best early season snow in the last 6-7 years, everyone is ready to get in the Vail Back Bowls to hit the powder.  Well, the lift isn’t ready yet, so what are we going to do !

It started me thinking what the old timers, such as Bert Farin (Antlers alumni) and our G.M. Rob LeVine would say.  Apparently years ago, Chair 5 was shut down for an entire winter due to a broken bull wheel!  I sent both of them an e-mail to see if they remembered the details.  

Bert responds:

“My first winter in Vail was 78-79.  The next season I had moved to Jackson Hole and that was the year Chair 5 was shut down.  So it was the winter of 79-80.  If I recall, it had to do with the cable.  I think they tried to add triple chairs to the old cable and it wasn’t safe, so the State shut down the lift for the whole season.  I was in JH so it didn’t affect me, but I was thinking it would suck to be in Vail and not have access to the b.b.  Ironically that was a poor snow season in both WY and CO, so maybe it wasn’t the end of the world.  I should get double credit for knowing the history even when I wasn’t in town.  Bummer about not having the lift ready to go.  At least you still have access to China Bowl and Category III (see I am an old dude).”

Rob LeVine responds:

“Proving once again that my memory ain’t so good … I thought it was around 82 or 83.  However, I totally trust Bert’s recollection.  I do remember how bummed (and pissed) everyone was when it was finally announced, but Bert’s right … it wasn’t a banner year for snow, so it could have been worse.

Not surprisingly, there were folks who would ski down and then either ski out Two Elk trail, or hike back up … similar to the old stories about Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton.  You know that “Forever” referred not to how long the run seemed, but to how long it took those pioneers to hike back out.   I’m afraid I don’t recall much else.”

Well, hopefully we don’t have much more of a wait…

Chris Ratzlaff

The Dogs of Winter, December 17th – Antlers at Vail

Come visit us for a casual, funfilled afternoon celebrating the wintery breeds.  Bring your Husky, Bernie, St. Bernard or Elkhound.

Interlopers like Cavalier Kings, Min-Pins and yes, even wiener dogs will be graciously tolerated.

Come one, come all.  Have a cup of hot wine and a dog biscuit.  You decide who gets what.

Pictures with Santa Paws, a prize drawing for a Vail dog sled trip, but mostly just some howling good conversation (who’s your vet?)

Friday, December 17th from  2:00-5:00pm in the Antlers at Vail hotel courtyard.  For those that need a room, we are offering a  special with a twist.  A mountain view Studio suite that night is $280.  Instead of the normal $15 extra for pets, if you bring your dog it’s $15 LESS … $265.  Free upgrade to a one-bedroom condo if requested.  You’ll have to call us direct at 888-268-5377 to book this special day.   Entry to event in the courtyard is free.

                                Maggie, the Antlers wonderdog

Vail family ski vacation

With the early snow opening a LOT of the mountain, families are already coming into town for a quick vail family ski vacation at the Antlers at Vail.  The kids are loving the fresh snow and groomed trails so early in the season.  They want to be in top shape for Thanksgiving week so as to add up as much vertical feet as possible.

Everyone is happy we have so much open.

Working on the “tuck”

Getting a boost across the flats

Vail ski season opener, Antlers at Vail lodging $168

Vail ski mountain opens with at least one run (we hope for more!) on Friday November 19th.  Snow is expected most of this week, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.  For opening weekend, the Antlers at Vail lodge is offering a Vail lodging special $168 rate on all Studio suites and One Bedrooms.  They all have mountain views and a full kitchen.  There will also be giveaways and a band, called the Big Gigantic, in Lionshead opening weekend.

Vail moose are on the loose

The Vail moose are roaming around Lionshead again.  Picture from today September 22.  Here they are by the Lionshead bus stop.  A few days ago they almost came in the Antlers at Vail courtyard!  Yikes.

Bigger "baby moose" in Lionshead Wednesday

Baby moose outside Antlers this past Spring

When it was a baby

Son of middle creek Vail mountain bike trail

Son of middle creek mountain bike trail is a fantastic Vail mountain bike ride. It is around 8 miles and only takes 1 to 1.5 hours for a wonderful loop from the Antlers at Vail hotel and conference center. Click on the link below to print out the map and read about the directions etc. It has about 40 minutes of climbing and 30 minutes of single track ascent/descent.


View Son of middle creek in a larger map


Great views over the valley.


The leaves are starting to change…


Winter arrives in 2-12 weeks depending on what happens… Get that hike and bike ride in soon.