Now that we’ve put Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, it’s time to decorate the lobby!
Although we take issue (like many) with Christmas decorations going up too early, under the heading of “True Confessions”, ours were actually up by November 8 this year. However, we have a great excuse … Two of our MVO’s (Most Valuable Owners), Ron & Dawn Bobuk, were visiting from San Diego. When Dawn asked innocently, “Would you like me to help put up the decorations?”, we were NOT going to say no. On the contrary, we actually locked her and Amy in the lobby for three days with only bread and water. OK, that’s a stretch, but they DID work tirelessly.
This Vail Symposium poster hangs in our office and we at the Antlers try to live by those words. They help guide many of our decisions, including our efforts to be good corporate citizens. We are quite proud of our record in that regard, and frankly it just got a little better. A couple months ago, Bob Bandoni introduced us to Students Shoulder to Shoulder. Their tagline is “The International School of Global Citizenship”. Rather than try to explain what that entails, we just urge you to investigate their website. It’s meaningful.
Although the program is five or six years old, Bob explained that they were planning their first Global Solutions Forum here in Vail, in October. The idea was to bring representatives together from the various NGO’s around the world and the schools who now participate with Shoulder to Shoulder. The real purpose is simply to further their success and advance the mission. It took all of about two minutes to recognize the value and importance of this effort. In the context of our day to day preoccupation with our own lives and businesses, the opportunity to play some small part in something so meaningful was irresistible.
Last week, the Antlers was honored to host ten representatives from a number of the different schools that are now part of the Shoulder to Shoulder “alliance”. Like some of the other worthy causes that the Antlers has adopted over the years, this was all done at no charge to the participants or their schools. By helping making it affordable for them to participate in this conference, we like to think that the Antlers is playing a small part in the fulfillment of their mission.
Like all great ideas, Bob Bandoni and the others behind this effort see it as something much bigger. It’s not just personal growth for the students, but rather a significant step on the path to making this a better world. That’s a lofty goal, but one which the Antlers is really proud to be associated with.
Two things motivated this story. The first is a website sponsored by the Town of Vail called solepower.org (very cool). This should be a blogpost in itself, but as you can see if you visit the site, it’s a way to log miles walked or pedaled in lieu of driving. Check out the Team Leaderboard and you’ll see that the Antlers is kicking just about everyone’s butt, with the exception of our friends (ahem) over at the West Vail Liquor Mart. If you scroll the Solepower blog, you just might also see some smack talk between the two of us. It’s all good.
The second big driver was just the attraction of being one of the few people (to say the least) to ride a bike from Vail to Denver for a business meeting. Call me crazy … everyone does.
So Sunday afternoon at 2:00 (after walking 18 holes and shooting a million, by the way) I set out from home on my trusty Giant armed with rain gear, a couple fresh jerseys and a healthy supply of “vitamin i” in my backpack.
3:00 found me at the East Vail exit feeling great.
Shortly after passing our namesake signage on the way up, by 4:20 I was cresting Vail Pass and happy, happy, happy.
A mere thirty-five downhill minutes later it was hi and bye to Frisco.
Who knew that the bikepath across the Dillon Dam was painted bright pink … what’s that all about?
Forty-five minutes further up the road, I pedalled into Keystone. It was at this point that I started feeling less than 100%. When I realized that one of my original two water bottles was still half full, it dawned on me that I wasn’t drinking nearly enough and might be getting dehydrated. Duh. In retrospect, I was already well beyond what I could fix by simply drinking a bunch. In fact, although I didn’t know it yet, I was toast. More on that later.
After hanging at Keystone from 6:00 to about 6:30, eating power bars, drinking Gatorade, drinking Gatorade and eating power bars, I hit the road still foolish enough to think that Loveland Pass summit would be no sweat.
Notice that the sky is a bit dusky. Right. What should be an hour and change took me over two (with more than a couple catch-your-breath stops (piss me off). At that point I had been on the road for six and a half hours, it’s beyond “dusky” and I hadn’t pee’d once. Pardon me, but this isn’t good.
Nevertheless, the gratification of being at the top, combined with less than no alternatives of what to do next, made for an exciting (shall we say?) descent. Just me, my bike, my little headlight (thank you again, Evelyn) and an occasional eighteen wheeler. Yipee. By the time I rolled into Georgetown at 9:30 I was beyond pooped, and really, really happy to call it a day.
I posted a picture of my luxurious motel room on Facebook and quickly got a “Motel 3?” response from Boomer. I replied “two point five”. But who really cares?
I should back up and tell you that the destination for this (not ill advised, but poorly executed) adventure was a CACI Executive Committee meeting at the University Club, a block from the capitol building in Denver. Prior to being dim-witted enough to let myself dry out, I was sharp enough when I met with them the week before, to ask Darla and Eliza (our queens of PR) if they could deliver my suit to said destination. Brill, and thanks.
Day 2 -Rise and shine … 7:00, out the door, back on the steed and Ya-hoo … another 18 mile thrilling descent into Idaho Springs. And this time I can SEE WHERE I’M GOING! It just doesn’t get any better.
From there, it’s a not-too-tough climb up Floyd Hill. Now I’m no medic, but methinks that the dehydration screwed up my system beyond what guzzling water and one night’s fitfull sleep could fix. When it took me at least twice as long as it should have, to climb FH and everything else, I was sure of it.
Reminiscent of Loveland Pass, reaching the crest of the hill next to Lookout Mountain got me stoked, with those familiar great views both east and west.
Toasted or not, the E-ticket ride down Route 40 is a hoot. I confess to being a little preoccupied with the prospect of having to crawl back up that same path later in the day, but it was still really fun.
Once in Denver, I made my way east on Colfax (bad idea) and some side streets (slightly better) until I eventually reached my final resting place destination.
It was 10:30 and I had time to shower (thanks U Club), change, and get ready for our meeting. I did my best to not let on that I felt somewhat like badly overcooked spaghetti, and seemingly got away with it, as the meeting went well and we adjourned just prior to 2:00 like usual.
When it came time to head out, I shared my adventure with Dan, Ann and Chuck, but predictably left out the part that I felt like hell and should have been ever so much smarter about drinking an ample amount of water along the way. They were each more impressed than was deserved and Dan even went so far as to email out my undertaking to the entire CACI board. Slightly embarrassing, but okay.
True to form, Ann took a picture.
Once changed back into my bike gear, I texted Evelyn that all was well (although my pants were on fire), telling her that the meeting went fine, but I didn’t feel great and was starting to question my ability to make it all the way home. I presumed that we would communicate more and ultimately make arrangements to meet in Idaho Springs or similar. You have to know that Ev was never too fond of the whole idea in the first place. A short time later I got a return text telling me that she was passing Frisco and “on her way”. At that point I had mixed emotions, part of me unhappy with her rush to judgment (and action), doubting my abilities altogether. The other half of me was completely of the attitude, “OH THANK GOD!”. By the time she picked me up just as I was about to begin the long ascent up to Lookout Mountain, the latter feeling had won out completely.
In sum, I think I can claim to be one of the few people to ever ride from Vail to Denver for a business meeting, but it does still leave me with one more goal for the future … down AND back. And I’ll be a LOT smarter about how much water I drink!
The Vail Symposium (for which the Antlers is the OFFICIAL HOTEL), is hosting a presentation by Christo on July 19. Tickets to the presentation sold out in a matter of days, HOWEVER … there are still tickets available to a private reception with the man himself! Those tickets also include the otherwise sold out lecturem, “Chirsto Live in Vail”.
Even better … tickets are $250, but if you’re one of the next ten people to buy a ticket to the reception, the Antlers at Vail will throw in a FREE one-bedroom condominium for the night of the 19th. Call me directly (970-790-5200). Rob
My golfing buddy Allan Finney who plays the drums (among other things) with our friend and jazz great Tony Gulizia, sent me this new tune yesterday about local legend Lindsey Vonn. Allan’s wife, Nancy Gage, wrote the lyrics. It’s gonna be HUGE, but you heard it here first!
This is the same little ditty with Allan on the vocals instead of Tony (it takes a few seconds to load).
Here are the boys with Kathy Morrow in December on local channel TV8.
Tony, Kathy and Alan on TV8
Kathy played last year at the Learning Palooza of the Vail Symposium (for which the Antlers is the Official Hotel). Each of these great musicians play all over town … together and separately. You should come check them out.
From time to time I have conversations with young professionals in the hospitality industry (usually twenty-somethings). These days it’s not unusual for them to recount the six or eight different employers they’ve had in a similar number of years. Eventually they ask me how long I’ve been working at the Antlers. When I tell them it’s been thirty-one years they immediately form an “L” with their thumb and forefinger, plaster it to their forehead and proclaim loudly for all to hear, “What a Loser!”
After working at the Antlers since 1978, and the last twenty-two years as General Manager, even people who respect longevity often ask me, “Don’t you ever get bored?” My answer is always the same … The hospitality business is NEVER boring. The old cliché that “every day is different” could not be more true. However, I also have the fabulous good fortune to work for a very unique Homeowners Association. Unlike most HOA’s who operate almost entirely out of self-interest, the Antlers owners have always had a much more worldly view.
With a long history of good corporate citizenship, the Antlers HOA generously supports a plethora of local causes and non-profit organizations. Sometimes that’s a donation of cash or more frequently complimentary rooms as in-kind support. That good will alone makes this an incredibly rewarding place to hang my hat. Beyond that though, the condominium owners here not only give me the freedom to pursue outside interests, but encourage me to do so. While that generally serves the Antlers well in the long run, it takes people with real vision to recognize and understand it.
The local Chambers of Commerce, Bravo Music Festival, the Vail Symposium and others have all benefited (I’d like to think) from the Antlers willingness to participate in a somewhat modified form of executive loan. Needless to say, none of that would be possible if it weren’t for Chris Ratzlaff and the rest of our wonderful staff, picking up the slack. Ultimately the time and monetary commitment from the Antlers is significant. Of course it also provides for a serious amount of growth and reward for me personally.
Which brings us to this past Tuesday, when I had the honor of being named chair-elect for the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. CACI serves as the state chamber of commerce (www.cochamber.com). I’ve enjoyed being on that board for a number of years and on the executive committee for the past couple. I was surprised when they asked me if I’d serve as chair in 2011, since the majority of the board members represent large companies like Lockheed Martin, MillerCoors, Qwest, Wells Fargo, etc. I often feel like the country mouse in that arena, with my 40 employees and $5,000,000 in sales. Nevertheless, I guess the collective wisdom was that someone in tourism from the Western Slope, who truly represents small business, would be a healthy departure from the norm. I hope they’re right.
One way or the other, this … a boring job? You’ve GOT to be kidding.