Vail Pass Bike Tours with Charter Sports

Our staff recently rode along the Gore Valley Trail and enjoyed this view of East Vail while on a Charter Sports led bike tour.

Have you ridden a bike on Vail Pass before?

This summer Charter Sports was kind enough to take several of our employees on a guided tour of Vail Pass.

Charter Sports offers several tours each day in the summer that will shuttle you and your family up to the top of Vail Pass to enjoy an exhilarating coast down 3,000 vertical feet along the Gore Valley Trail paved bike path. On our recent tour we passed by a bride and groom taking photos in Vail Village, cascading waterfalls in East Vail, and radiant wildflowers along the trail. We enjoyed conversation with our guide Kris along the way and listened to his stories about living in the mountains for many years working as a ski instructor in the winter and leading adventure activities in the summer.

The tour was great fun and we would highly recommend this unique experience to our guests. 

We paused at the Black Lakes at Vail Pass and took in the view before descending Vail Pass.

In addition to tours of Vail Pass, Charter Sports now offers E-Bike rentals. E-Bikes are a really fun way to zip around town. You can still pedal freely whenever you would like to, but let’s face it, cycling around the mountains is not the easiest activity. With the help of electronic assistance you can climb hills using half the effort of riding a standard bike. I must admit that while I was a little skeptical at first, after my first climb up a hill using very minimal effort on my part it I was sold. It was an absolute blast. Charter Sports E-Bikes are locally manufactured by QuietKat in Eagle. We think it’s really great to not only experience riding a bike around Vail, but to also have a truly local experience by riding a bike that was assembled near Vail. Charter Sports E-Bike Rentals are $65 for a 4-hour rental and can be booked by calling 888-295-9797 or 970-476-0202. They say their E-Bikes are most comfortable for people 5′ 3″ and taller as their E-Bikes are a bit heavy and limited in terms of being adjustable. 

Our crew made a quick stop halfway down Vail Pass before continuing our journey.

The nearest Charter Sports location to Antlers is just around the corner in Lion Square Lodge North – so feel free to stop by during your next stay at the Antlers at Vail to see which tours are available that day, inquire about E-Bike rentals, and have an awesome time riding around Vail. 

Changes Underway and on Schedule at the Antlers

When people learn how long we’ve lived in the Vail Valley (whether that’s 5 years or 45 years) they often say, “You must have seen a lot of changes during that time.”  One of our favorite responses is, “Hey, we’ve seen a lot of changes since Tuesday!”
 
That’s never been more true than right now, right here.  The changes that we envisioned a year ago are happening, and happening fast!  During our last big renovation in 2001, we built a new lobby which seemed like such an enormous improvement over the previous pillbox. Well, that reception area has now been completely demo’d.  And the replacement is going to be AWESOME.

Much less visible, but equally important, is the extensive foundation work that has taken place in preparation for the new elevator. That, after all, was the impetus for this whole project.  The renovated front desk area, offices and one brand new condominium were all afterthoughts (and good ones) to the main motivation of improving the weakest link in our guests’ experience … the 1972 elevator.
 
The past two months have seen an awful lot of noise and dust, but most of the worst of that is behind us now.  Sure, there will be some more noisy days, but the concrete saw cutting is almost done, as is the jack-hammering of the stone pillars.  Throughout it all, our staff and our guests have survived and even often said, “It wasn’t as bad as I expected.”  
 
There have been a lot of parallels between this $5 million project and the Antlers 2000 project twenty years ago.  One of them has been the number of owners in residence, and guests as well, who are actually entertained by watching the construction!  Although the courtyard is off-limits, and packed with equipment and materials staging, most of the walkways have a birdseye view of the whole operation and it tends to bring out the wide-eyed little kid in all of us.
 
Another similarity between the two projects has been the participation of an “owner’s rep”.  In the construction world, that’s they guy you hire to keep an objective eye on the contractor as well as the architect.  Someone who has a lot more construction expertise than the person actually writing the checks.  Never has that been more relevant and necessary than here at the Antlers.  In 2000 we hired Jack Berga to fill that role.  He was beyond wonderful and absolutely instrumental in making the whole project successful.  As great as Jack was, Dave Collins is even better.  And the best part is that Dave has been on the Antlers staff for five years now, acting as our construction coordinator for the dozens of condominium remodels we’ve completed during that time.  He has an extensive background in large-scale construction projects, but also the pleasant demeanor that is often missing from those in the world of hardhats.

Despite Dave’s generally easy-going attitude, don’t let that fool you.  He can quickly “get in your face” when he sees something that isn’t right, or that could be done better.  And that’s EXACTLY what we need.  Our general contractor, Hyder Construction, has been a delight to work with.  Nevertheless, not a day goes by that the Antlers board and management don’t thank their lucky stars for the presence of Dave Collins.
 
Although the construction impacts have been, and will continue to be manageable, we don’t want to risk any of our guests having a bad experience.  So as we approach the halfway mark in the construction schedule we’ll continue to limit our occupancy to about 50% – 60% of our normal capacity, and we’ll continue to bend over backwards to inform those guests (and owners) what to expect.  In a twist on the old customer service adage, we are trying to over-promise and under-deliver on the negative impacts from the construction.  So far, so good.
 
And we sure look forward to showing off the finished product this coming ski season!

3 Reasons to Ski Vail 2019 – 2020 Ski Season

We may be biased but we think that Vail’s 2019-2020 ski season is going to be the best yet. There are three reasons for this. One has to do with the Antlers, and the other with a snowmaking upgrades and a new product offering from Vail Resorts, “Epic for Everyone”.

Antlers Breaks Ground April 2019 on $5M Elevator & Lobby Project

In 2013 the Antlers implemented a Unit Quality Improvement plan, a property-wide project with the objective of bringing our Lodging Quality Assurance ranking up to Vail’s highest possible status. In July of 2015, thanks to the commitment of Antlers condominium owners, this goal of platinum status was achieved. But improvements to individual condominiums continue. There are now only a handful of units left that are not platinum rated.

Exterior rendering of Antlers new lobby and elevator.

Now, with the goal of bringing common areas to the same standard as individual condos, Antlers at Vail has broken ground on a $5 million renovation. This project will transform the hotel’s lobby, front desk, reception area and associated office spaces. Perhaps most importantly, it will provide a new relocated elevator to speed guests to upper levels. The project will be completed by December 12, 2019, just in time to greet winter guests with a new warm welcome.

Antlers at Vail new lobby

Rendering of Antlers new light-filled spacious lobby.

As Always, the earlier guests book, the better the pricing will be. Booking early also gives us the most opportunity to accommodate specific requests. While we do not guarantee condo numbers, we do typically honor requests for specific bedding, location and more. These can only be honored as long as we have availability. So the early bird gets the worm. And, did you know that you can book now with no deposit due until August?!

Vail Resorts Offers Epic for Everyone

Another exciting development that guests can take advantage of this winter is advance day lift ticket purchases for a more reasonable price. There will be no more of $200 plus lift ticket prices for guests who plan ahead. 

“Epic for Everyone,” from Vail Resorts is a customizable pass for those skiers and riders who may not need the unlimited skiing offered by traditional season passes. Guests can create their own pass by selecting the number of days they plan to ski or ride – from one day to seven days – and whether or not to add holiday access. Guests can use their customized Epic Day Pass anytime throughout the season at any of the Company’s North American owned resorts, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Whistler Blackcomb, Keystone, Crested Butte, Park City, and more. Those purchasing four or more days will also get access to Telluride, Sun Valley, Snowbasin, and Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.

Don't miss out on another epic ski season at Vail. You can purchase yuor lift tickets now for incredible savings!

Don’t miss out on another epic ski season at Vail. You can purchase your lift tickets now for incredible savings!

With the Epic Day Pass, guests can ski world-class resorts for an unmatched price. Offering a discount of up to 50 percent off of lift ticket window prices, the Epic Day Pass starts as low as $106 for one day of skiing at any of the Company’s North American resorts. Guests can also lower their cost per day by adding more days and can lock in the lowest prices by purchasing this spring. The catch is that these passes must be purchased by the fall at whichever date Vail Resorts cuts off season pass sales.

Because Epic is for everyone, guests who purchase a day lift ticket this season also have the opportunity to apply the value of their ticket toward the price of an eligible 2019-20 pass, including an Epic Day Pass with four or more days. Guests can visit www.epicpass.com for more details on this offer and other incentives.

Vail Resorts Snowmaking Upgrades Ensure Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Opening

Vail’s extensive snowmaking upgrades and expansion taking place this summer will ensure a pre-Thanksgiving opening day each year. Nearly 200 acres of new and enhanced snowmaking terrain will provide guests with earlier access to higher elevation terrain, top-to-bottom skiing and snowboarding, access from two base areas, and improved early season ski school terrain. Vail will be open November 15, 2019 to April 19, 2020.

From the GM: 12 Years Ago Today

Today 12 years ago in Antlers at Vail history…

A piece of Antlers at Vail history: GM hiried 15 years ago as Conference Services Manager

I was 28 years old, and it was the first day of my second job in this country.

To earn this job, I had to convince the General Manager (Rob) that I was a great candidate for the Conference Services Manager position. When I described my previous work experiences, I had told Rob that my mom was a Chef. I worked under her wing for numerous events.

As you can imagine, when your mother is your boss, you can take anything! From very little pay to carrying a heavy tray with 10 dinner plates from point A to point B. While managing the bar. Lighting up the sternos in the chafing dishes. Accepting the blame for anything that went wrong. Rob laughed wondering if I was exaggerating — I was not.

I also told Rob that I was very loyal, and I promised him that in this -so-ever-changing-valley-, I would stay with the property for 5 years. After that, I would have to move on for my own professional growth. But that while I was working for him, he would have my all: my work ethic, my integrity, my five languages, and my honest opinion on how to make our property better. I’m so glad he hired me.

I’ve loved the Antlers since the beginning. My co-workers have always had the best hearts, the greatest sense of humor and gratitude. I think that these traits are the ones that our guests sense when they arrive. It’s not only that our housekeepers are proud of their impeccable rooms. Or that the maintenance department is always eager to avoid any technical issues and address a problem. Or that our Front Desk Staff is diligently looking for ways to make your stay more enjoyable. It is the combination of all of our talents that make us different than anybody else in the valley. And I truly think, in the country.

In a marketing workshop which I recently participated, the speaker asked us to write the vision that we have for our business. This is what I wrote: The Antlers is the place where the owners, employees, and guests alike feel truly at home. By home, I mean: loved, respected, embraced, nurtured, rested and important. Where anybody is welcome and with each interaction, they will experience the true meaning of service and how this simple act of kindness can change the world.

There hasn’t been one day in these 12 years that the Antlers hasn’t given me the wonderful gift of serving others and give the best of myself. I am forever grateful for this place! And if you haven’t experienced it yet, I welcome you. I promise you that we will love you, respect you, embrace you, nurture you and warmly make you feel at home….

Magda King-
(12 years later) General Manager

Summer 2019 Lobby

 

The ski season ended with a flurry of a different kind than we usually see. The Antlers staff worked tirelessly to move out of their offices and from the main lobby. The lobby has now been temporarily relocated to the ski locker area on the west side of the building. Guests will now pull directly into the garage and follow signs to the new front desk.

New lobby on the east side of the Antlers building.

The ski lockers have been converted into a smaller but comfortable lobby and reception desk. The area can be accessed from the garage or from the exterior of the building. We look forward to welcoming you on the east side of the building this summer!

New reception area in the Antlers new temporary front desk space.

We are looking forward to welcoming back many return guests this summer. Our team appreciates everyone’s patience as we work diligently to make the Antlers guest experience even better than ever.

We look forward to welcoming back members of our Antlers family this summer!

From the Antlers at Vail to Cornell University

Hannah Hervert at Cornell University where she will attend this fall.

Hannah Hervert is an ambitious, aspiring hotelier and marketing professional. Over the past few years, we at the Antlers at Vail have had the privilege of working with her. She started with us as an intern, assisting with our conference, and housekeeping departments. She also helped come up with some fun, new amenities that we have since added to our ongoing list of excellent amenities. Since her internship and graduating from high school, we had an open position on our guest services team that we offered to her. Hannah excelled at this – providing our guests with top-notch service, and attention to detail. We are proud to share that her hard work has truly paid off. She has officially been accepted to Cornell University’s Hospitality Management program where she will begin studying this fall. We are simply ecstatic for her to attend Cornell and begin her collegiate journey. I asked Hannah how she felt about her experience here at the Antlers, and here’s what she had to say: 

“My experience at the Antlers has been one that I will never forget. Every single person here has opened up their arms to me, and I have never felt out of place. During the first year of being an intern, I learned so much about how each department works, and ultimately how all of the departments blend together to make up the amazing hotel that we have today. Through moving up to working the front desk, I have learned the importance of guest relations, kindness, and putting others needs before myself. This is knowledge that I will take with me throughout my schooling and future career. The Antlers has given me vast opportunities, and I feel so fortunate to be able to say that I have worked here.

As I am moving on to the next phase of my life at Cornell University, I am confident that the teachings that I have learned at the Antlers will help me in pursuing my Hospitality Management degree. I plan to seek two minors in real estate and communications, and I would like to go into marketing in the hospitality industry. Cornell has always been my dream school, and I am so excited to be able to learn from some of the greatest professors in the country, and to be able to share my hospitality passion with my classmates. I will be sitting in the same classrooms and walking on the same paths that many of my idols have (Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bill Nye to name a couple). I am beyond excited to leave for Cornell, and I will always remember my time here at the Antlers.”

Our feelings are mutual. We feel very fortunate to have worked with Hannah. Our Assistant General Manager, Kim Rediker, also wanted to share her experience in working with Hannah:

“Two years ago, we hired Hannah as an intern at our property, with the expectation that she would serve as sort of just an extra set of hands. We intended to introduce her to the hospitality business, giving her insight into all aspects of operations, but without an overwhelming list of responsibilities. Well, Hannah soon proved herself to be way more than “just an extra set of hands”. She is an outstanding young woman with a strong sense of responsibility and an extremely strong work ethic.

After the initial summer internship with us, we invited Hannah to stay with us through the very busy ski season and gave her additional responsibilities in the Front Desk & Administration departments. She again made it through the season with flying colors, and upon graduation from high school, we offered her a permanent position as a Front Desk Agent. As a resort condominium-hotel property, we rely heavily on our Front Desk Agents to provide incomparable customer service. Hannah has been, without a doubt, one of our best. She has a wonderful demeanor, she is kind and welcoming to our guests, and she always handles problems and complaints with a calm and helpful attitude.”

All in all, we couldn’t be more thrilled for Hannah and the journey she is about to embark on. We wish her all the best in her bright future ahead! 

Antlers Staff Lend a Helping Hand to Restore Gore Creek

Newly planted willow cuttings along Gore Creek. These will establish roots throughout the summer, and if they survive through the winter, will continue to grow for years to come.

Gore Creek is a special part of Vail. Residents and tourists alike appreciate the natural beauty it brings to our town. One of the features our guests and homeowners enjoy most about the Antlers at Vail is our creek-side location. But due to urbanization, Gore Creek is in trouble. In 2012, after numerous assessments of the health of the macro-invertebrate community, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) listed Gore Creek on the Clean Water Act’s Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters. Since then, the Town of Vail and other stakeholders have put programs in place to restore Gore Creek. We know that our town’s local businesses affect Gore Creek, so at the Antlers at Vail, we make environmentally-conscious decisions everyday. This past weekend, our team went a little further and partnered with Love Vail, a Town of Vail program committed to keeping our footprint small, our resources plentiful, and our contribution to sustainability top of mind.

Peter Wadden shows the Antlers staff what to look for and how to collect willow cuttings.

If you have stayed at the Antlers at Vail in the past few years, you have probably met Gabe Kossman who was previously one of our all-star front desk agents. Gabe is now our Conference Services Coordinator, and recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability at Colorado Mountain College. In addition to conference services, Gabe is also now leading our sustainability efforts. Gabe organized a volunteer session for our team with Peter Wadden at Love Vail to harvest and replant willows along sections of Gore Creek that are lacking in natural flora.

Gabe Kossman collects willow cuttings.

Our team had a great time learning about the importance of Gore Creek and doing our part to revitalize the area. By removing willow cuttings from surrounding areas where willows are well established and replanting willows along areas of the creek where they are lacking, we helped reestablish a vital part of the local ecosystem. Willows provide shade to streams and critical habitats for a large number of terrestrial and aquatic species. They slow water flow and allow the ground to absorb water and nutrients, stabilize stream banks, and provide food and construction material for beavers and their dams.

Previous General Manager, Rob LeVine, and General Manager, Magda King, plant willow cuttings along the banks of Gore Creek.

For more information about Love Vail, the Gore Creek program, and to find out how you can preserve and restore Gore Creek, please visit their website at lovevail.org/programs/gore-creek/.

Featured Antlers Team Member: Ramon Torres

Ramon Torres with fiancee Athena Marquez.

Ramon Torres joined the Antlers at Vail team October of 2013 as a key member of the maintenance department.

Ramon is originally from Havana, Cuba. He first moved to California where he was an electrician apprentice, carpentry apprentice and worked in the construction industry for about three years. He then made his way to the Vail area where he worked for a variety of other hotel properties in maintenance, as well as a short stint in taxidermy.

Ramon loves Vail and is happy to make this his home and the place where he will raise his family. He currently lives on site at the Antlers with his fiancee, Athena Marquez and two-year old son Roman. He is looking forward to buying a home for his happy family here in the Vail valley.

Ramon’s parents and two brothers also live here in the U.S. and they manage to get together at least once a year. He is always glad for that time with them.

He loves snowmobiling, spending times outdoors in our beautiful mountains, and most importantly spending time with his family.

General Manager, Magdalena King adds ,”We are very lucky to have Ramon in our maintenance department, and we are very grateful for his knowledge and expertise. Ramon is a favorite among owners and guests alike. He is always willing to help. His Caribbean charisma and enthusiasm makes him the perfect fit for our industry. To see his family grow within the Antlers family has been wonderful too.”

What happened to the baby Moose?

One early summer day in 2014 there was a bit of excitement at the Antlers at Vail. This excitement garnered national news coverage, but it also made us a bit sad. A baby Moose was separated from Mama and wandered into our lobby.

The Antlers is located next to national forest land and we have the privilege of seeing all kind of wildlife, typically from a distance. For very obvious reasons we’d prefer they stay on the mountain and not enter our lobby. But this little guy did just that.

Wildlife officials searched for mama and came up empty handed. They ended up transporting him to a new home at the Wildlife Research Center in Ft. Collins. And, now 5 years later we just learned, thanks to The Coloradoan, a few things about him. He is no longer a little guy. He is now an educator. He sings. And he is named after us — Antlers the Moose!

Welcome Keaton Luke, Front Desk Manager!

The Antlers is so happy to have Keaton Luke as our new Front Desk Manager!

Just a couple of short months ago the Antlers hired Keaton Luke as our new front desk manager. His friendliness combined with professionalism has made him a fantastic addition to the Antlers team.

Keaton lived in Southern California until he was eleven-years-old. His father was the General Manager of the Hilton Pasadena, across from the Rose Bowl. He grew up surfing, and skiing. He’s been skiing since he was two-years-old, starting at Mammoth Mountain. In 2003 his father took the position of General Manager at the Minneapolis Hilton and moved the family to the Midwest. There he became a Vikings fan as he had the opportunity to meet many of the players when they stayed at the Hilton. Around this time his family started taking their ski trips to Colorado. 

Clearly Keaton’s father’s career had influence over Keaton’s own career path. Keaton went to Iowa State university and earned a major in Business Management with a minor in Hotel Management, during which time he interned at the Minneapolis Hilton for his father. When his parents retired and moved to Florida he decided it was time to move out to Colorado.

He came to us from the Marriott where he started at the front desk, moving up to supervisor and then manager.

Keaton is obsessed with travel after spending five months on his own in Italy. He loves being active. His favorite activities include skiing, golfing, paddleboarding, and hiking. He also loves music, having attended over 100 concerts of just about every genre. He’s always happy to show friends around the mountain, talk sports or enjoy a craft beer. Make sure to stop in and introduce yourselves when you are visiting!