“Friends are the Family you choose.” That quote is attributed to a lot of people but who said it first I have no idea. When you work for, stay with or visit the Antlers at Vail you become a part of a family much larger than you might realize. Being a relatively new employee here – only 4 years this August- I had no idea what I was really getting myself into. I say only 4 years because our current head housekeeper Lora Montez has been here at least 38 years her sister Millie Barela was on the original construction clean-up crew in 1972 before becoming head housekeeper for 32 years. Rob LeVine our General Manager has been here 35 this year. A few have been here between 20-25 years! Like Randi Davis our Controller has 26 years under her belt and Gladys Villeda one of our housekeeping supervisors is going 25 years strong! I really could go on but that is a blog for another time!
Millie, Gladys and Martha 2000
The great thing is when people leave, especially former employees, they tend to come back and you get to meet a lot of “family” members. And everyone always has a story to share whether it be reminicing about their days at the the Antlers or what has transpired since. I had the chance to meet, very briefly, a member of the Antlers family yesterday Polly Letofsky. Polly worked at the Antlers in the late 90’s doing the very job I do now, conference services. She left the Antlers to embark on a journey to walk around the world. More importantly I was able to hear her speak this morning. Polly is in town giving a presentation for one of the many Colorado Municipal League Conference sessions going on this week. She is very fun and has some great stories to tell about her adventure. I didn’t get to hear all of her presentation though because I was after all suppose to be working! (Shhh don’t tell anyone I played hooky for about 30 minutes).
“Polly left her home and headed west across 4 continents and over 14,000 miles – by foot – to become the first woman to walk around the world. As an awareness campaign for breast cancer, strangers welcomed her into their homes. But it was never an easy road; Polly struggled with earthquakes, muggings, languages, even religious riots”. This is one story worth hearing, knowing and sharing!
Polly at the Antlers Employee Party 1999
I guess I have some pretty big shoes to fill! I don’t have any currently plans to walk around the world but you never know, life can take you places you never saw coming. Listening to Polly talk about her adventure is inspirational to say the least, and very entertaining.
Conference Services Manager – (Future achievements currently unknown but unlimited)
After a visit from the Easter Bunny, kids enjoy a hunt for eggs in Lionshead.
Today I am marking my two and a half week anniversary here at the Antlers at Vail with my second blog post. This is my first experience working in the lodging industry and while I have had the fortune to work with the Antlers as the official condo hotel of both the Bravo! Vail music festival and Vail Symposium, there has still been a lot for me to take in.
I feel very fortunate to be working here as a part of the Antlers family, and to get to experience to some extent what our owners and guests get to experience. My first week here our Grand Poobah (aka Rob) shared an informal SWOT analysis with me. The top item on the strengths list was “location”. But I don’t think that does it justice. It is really more like the very best access to all that Vail has to offer, and that is a lot.
The antlers-bedecked cruiser bikes are free for guests. A fun way to tour the village!
Two weekends ago my family came into town for the Vail Rec District’s Easter egg hunt. We parked here at the Antlers, enjoyed the Easter activities and then stopped back in at the lobby to enjoy some conversation, coffee and hot chocolate for our daughter before heading home. Last weekend we took our daughter up skiing. Of course, everyone knows the convenient proximity of the Antlers to the gondola. Earlier this week I needed to run to the bank. Instead of getting in the car and driving, I grabbed one of the free antlers-bedecked cruiser bikes and enjoyed a refreshing ride through town. As a long-time Vail local, working here reminds me of all the reasons that I live here. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to bringing my hiking boots in and enjoying some impromptu Vail hikes this summer!
The Antlers welcomes new Director of Marketing Liana Moore
You’ve already heard from our new Director of Marketing Liana Moore here on the blog, expounding on the joys of Vail pond skimming, but we thought we’d share the official news release about this exciting new addition to our Antlers team as well…
Vail, Colorado – April 10, 2013 – The Antlers at Vail has named Liana Moore as director of marketing, announced Antlers General Manager Rob LeVine. In the position, Moore will oversee all aspects of marketing for the popular condo hotel in Vail’s Lionshead. “I’ve already had the pleasure of working with the Antlers in a different capacity for several years,” says Moore, who previously served with two local nonprofits – Bravo! Vail Music Festival and the Vail Symposium – for which the Antlers is official condo hotel. “I’m excited to get to don my marketing hat as a part of the Antlers team.”
“Liana brings an in-depth understanding of the Vail Valley to the Antlers,” says LeVine, “and her marketing experience includes everything from marketing research to public relations. We look forward to having her on our team and assisting us with the big picture as we continue to grow.”
In 1996, Moore began her work as a freelancer for Dallas public relations firms then moved to a financial company where she worked in marketing research. After earning a Master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University, Moore launched her own business in the travel industry. She moved to the Vail Valley in 2000 where she served as director of marketing and public relations for Bravo! Vail Music Festival before founding Kaleidos Marketing to provide marketing strategy and campaigns, public relations plans and social media campaigns for clients. She was elected to the Vail Symposium Board of Directors in 2007, becoming executive director in 2010. She resides in Eagle/Vail, Colorado with her husband and two children.
Since 1972, the Antlers at Vail hotel has offered a unique Vail lodging experience in a relaxed mountain setting. With condominiums ranging from studio suites to four bedrooms, the Antlers provides fully-equipped kitchens, fireplaces, outdoor balconies, free Internet and free parking, and is conveniently located in Vail’s Lionshead area, steps from restaurants, galleries, shops, the free Vail town shuttle and Vail’s Gondola. For more information, call 1-800-843-8245 or visit www.antlersvail.com.
The Antlers at Vail has promoted Magdalena King to the position of Assistant Manager. “We’re thrilled about Magda’s new role at the Antlers,” says General Manager Rob LeVine. “I recently heard Bob Vanourek, co-author of ‘Triple Crown Leadership,’ speak for the Vail Symposium, and he talked about the importance of choosing candidates with the right heart—that is, passion and enthusiasm for the business. It validated our decision, because Magda King has the right heart for hospitality in general, and specifically for managing the heart and soul of the Antlers.”
King, who became a U.S. citizen last year, is originally from Ecuador and speaks four languages fluently. “I’m honored and excited to accept this position, especially in light of the many other qualified candidates we had,” she says. King has been with the Antlers for five years and was previously Director of Sales. She has also served on the board for the local chapter of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).
The Antlers is a 90-room condominium hotel with 2600 square feet of meeting space located in the redeveloped Lionshead area near the Vail Gondola. Offering 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom condominiums with full kitchens, fireplaces, and outdoor balconies, the Green Star-rated property includes a heated-year-‘round outdoor pool, fitness room, two hot tubs, saunas and a heated indoor parking garage. The Antlers was named the Vail Valley Green Business of the Year and received the Platinum Service Award from the Vail Valley Partnership. For more information, call 1-800-843-8245 or visit the web site at www.antlersvail.com.
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!
One sheet, pillow case, towel, wash cloth...at a time.
It’s very busy around here.
The snow is “epic”. The atmosphere is festive. Grand-parents, parents, kids, cousins and friends are all having a thrill.
Un-noticed while the outside world spins is the quiet man. This particular person is working as hard as anyone at the Antlers this time of year. You need to know what goes on downstairs and what he does. A few facts and history.
One of the requirements on the original job description stated “individual must have the ability to work independently”. Aniceto Quinones was looking at the classifieds in 1994 and jumped out of his chair and ran to the kitchen where his wife was cooking his favorite meal. “Ilda, Ilda, I found the job I want. I’m going to the Antlers to tell them I’m their man.” Millie Barela hired him that week to take care of the overwhelming laundry situation we have here. Ever since, he’s been the first here in the morning, one of the last to leave at night and he takes his job very seriously. On average, Aniceto works 10 hours a day because he wants to and as Randi put it “we have to force him to take a vacation.”
He told me “I love my job and it is very important not to fall behind. If we miss one day it is very hard to catch up. Our guests would not like drying themselves after a shower with a wash cloth.”
“So how much laundry is there Aniceto?” He got out a scratch pad and started writing numbers down and then multiplying them by storage closets and whoa. “Many thousands every week and do not forget that I have to do bath mats, bedding and throw rugs.” He also tears and squares linens and towels that are not up to standards for guest use. Those are recycled for housekeepers to use as rags. He washes those as well.
The laundry facility that Aniceto calls his home away from home, is not what it was 15 years ago. With one washer and two dryers, he managed until our 2000 building expansion which incorporated 22 additional condominiums. It is now equipped with the newest and most efficient machines available.
Two commercial washers and three large capacity dryers are his co-workers for most of the day.
A few questions for the man.
“Do you and Ilda have any kids?” “Yes, four and one grandson.”
“When you do take vacation, any place special?” “Cancun or Durango, Mexico.”
“How about hobbies?” “Not really. But I do enjoy my walks along the creek everyday.”
“Football or Soccer?” “Football and not the kind that John Elway played.”
“Favorite Food?” “Chile Relenoes.”
“Beer or Wine?” “Beer.”
“Dog or Cat?” “Dog.”
Lunch is fun. Sometimes it’s nice to be out numbered.
(Honorable mentions need to go to Cristobal, Darwin, Macario, Calletano and Bryan who fill in when Aniceto sleeps, and who could forget Igor.)
Legend has it that rubbing Buddhas belly will bring you luck. Well I’m starting to think that being at Antlers Front desk area is luckier. So far in our towns ritualistic prize giveaway events the Antlers and friends have cleaned up. Even people just sitting at our table during the Red Lions bingo nights were luckier just from our presence. Just for the bingo night we had an Antlers associate win a limited edition Fat Tire bike (the grand prize of a bingo night) and a friend of ours at the table won a snowboard on a different night (also a grand prize). Also, a myriad of the smaller prizes have ended up in our groups possession (nerf footballs, hats, t-shirts etc.).
To make matters even better, during the pub crawls Vail PM throws every Tuesday night (last one is this coming Tuesday ending at Samana) our luck continues. One of our front desk associates came away with 2 Denver Nuggets tickets a few weeks ago at the George on Bridge St. Most recently I finally felt the love when I came away from this past Tuesdays pub crawl with the grand prize of an Epic Pass! Sadly I have already been provided one by my gracious employers so I either need to give it away or save it for next year. I guess I’m stuck here in Vail for another season. Drat…
It’s been great year and a half, but I’m sorry to say that I’m moving on from the Antlers. The greener (but only because of all the damn rain) pastures of Seattle await. Thank you to everyone who has made it such a pleasure working here, the owners, frequent guests, and most of all, the rest of our awesome staff. I’m going to miss you guys. But I’ll be back to visit, because who can really leave behind the gorgeous Vail Valley and the colorful cast of characters here at the Antlers? So until then it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later!