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 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/.

Top Ten Reasons to Stay at the Antlers at Vail

As Vail’s opening day for the 2018-2019 Ski Season is quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about booking your next ski vacation! Imagine bluebird days, fresh powder, après at your favorite Vail eatery, and your lovely home-away-from-home at Antlers just steps away from all the fun. Here are the Top Ten Reasons to stay at the Antlers at Vail this winter as curated by the friendly Antlers staff:

10. Your furry friends will LOVE it

Even our pets need a little R&R sometimes. We encourage you to bring them along on your family vacation! Just let us know ahead of time as we have a limited number of Pet-Friendly Condos available.

9. Enjoy all the comforts of home in your Antlers Condo

Relax with a mug of hot chocolate by the crackling fireplace in your living room or enjoy the breathtaking views from your private balcony.

8. Free Courtesy Shuttle

Don’t have a car? Don’t worry. Our front desk staff will gladly take you to the supermarket or anywhere else around Vail. Antlers’ shuttle service is a seasonal amenity. 

7. Weekly Complimentary Guest Receptions

Who doesn’t like free wine and cheese? Join other Antlers guests and our staff each week for a glass of wine and light appetizers January through March.

6. Spectacular Pool and Hot Tubs 

What better way to unwind after a long day of skiing? Our two outdoor hot tubs and pool are the place to be after hitting the slopes. The views of Vail Mountain and Gore Creek are hard to beat!

5. Fully-Equipped Kitchens

Each of our condominiums whether it’s a Studio Suite or a Four-Bedroom Penthouse has a fully equipped kitchen complete with pots, pans, plates, and everything needed to prepare a culinary masterpiece. Just BYOF (Bring Your Own Food).

4. Our Friendly and Informative Staff

From our front desk team to our housekeeping team, everyone is here to ensure you have a great vacation!

3. Daily Housekeeping Service

These days, it’s hard to find a condominium-hotel that doesn’t charge outrageous housekeeping fees. The Antlers at Vail still provides complimentary daily housekeeping services to help you have more time for fun and enjoying Vail.

2. Free Parking When You Book Directly

When you book directly with us via our website or by calling our reservations team, we do not charge for parking! So, say goodbye to parking fees and to scraping snow and ice off your car. Help yourself to our heated, underground garage located just beneath our property.

1. Location, Location, Location

 

The Antlers is located only 150 yards from the Eagle Bahn Gondola, bringing you closer to the slopes, ski school, and all the shops and restaurants that Lionshead Village has to offer. With Ski Butlers Complimentary Valet Service, your commute just got easier! Ski Butlers will even store and transport your skis to the gondola – just wear your boots and bring your poles. Didn’t feel like bringing your skis along? No Problem! Ski Butlers will even fit you in the comfort of your condo with top-of-the-line skis and equipment rentals, then store and transport your skis to the Eagle Bahn Gondola daily.

Ready to book? Give us a call at 1-800-843-8245 or choose your arrival and departure dates below to check availability.

Thanksgiving in Vail | Leave the Cooking to Us

 

Chef Barry Robinson’s Delicious Thanksgiving Feast

Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner this year at the Antlers, catered by Chef Barry Robinson.

This Thanksgiving, leave the cooking to us! Enjoy Chef Barry Robinson’s delicious thanksgiving feast. Ideal for those who’d rather spend Thanksgiving in Vail on the slopes rather than in the kitchen. Chef Barry’s classic Thanksgiving feast lets guests enjoy the excitement of a Vail ski vacation, while still relishing the comforts of a home-cooked meal. Add Chef Barry’s Thanksgiving Dinner to your lodging reservation by Tuesday, November 20th, 2018. We will deliver it to your condo in recyclable, oven-proof containers in time for Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 22nd, 2018. 

Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner this year at the Antlers, catered by Chef Barry Robinson.

Vail Chef Barry Robinson will prepare Thanksgiving dishes he’s cooked for his own family for years. Dishes include roasted turkey breast and slow-cooked giblet gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans with toasted almonds, caramelized butternut squash, savory stuffing, tart cranberry sauce and mixed greens with herb dressing. And dinner wouldn’t be complete without the Chef’s classic pumpkin pie with vanilla bean ice cream. Chef will deliver the meal to your condo in ovenproof, recyclable containers for heating and serving at your convenience on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving dinner is $40 per person (plus 8.4% tax).

Home-Away-From-Home Antlers at Vail Thanksgiving

Relax in the Antlers platinum-rated Condo Suites.

With our friendly staff and comfortable condominiums, we strive to provide a “home away from home” experience for our guests. Antlers condos are comfortable for families, groups of friends and even pets. All Antlers’ suites feature a fully equipped kitchen making leftovers easy to reheat. A spacious dining and living area, cozy bedrooms and gas fireplaces make relaxing easy. Book your Thanksgiving lodging reservation with us today. Enjoy Vail, a delicious thanksgiving meal, and all the comforts of home at the Antlers. 

Simply add dinner to your reservation when you book your Antlers lodging, or call 970.476.2471 to add it on to an existing reservation.

An Antlers at Vail lodging & Thanksgiving dinner package is also available.

 

Relax this Thanksgiving in Vail. This Thanksgiving leave the cooking to us and enjoy Chef Barry Robinson's delicious thanksgiving feast, and bake-your-own sugar cookies.

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Blind Date with a Book

This spring the Antlers at Vail housekeeping department participated in a fun book club, Blind Date with a Book. They had ten books to read. All books were from several different genres, some in English, some in Spanish. These included titles such as Romeo & Juliet and Selena’s Story. Everyone chose different books to read and discuss. They then traded books. Myrna and Carolina each read three books, tying for most books read. Congratulations, Myrna & Carolina!

Next up they will participate in One Book One Valley and read Like Water for Chocolate.

A Farewell and A Welcome

We recently featured our Controller, Randi Davis, here on the blog. She was celebrating her 30th anniversary with the Antlers. Happily for her, this milestone also meant that she started thinking a bit more seriously about retirement. Randi has announced that she will be retiring at the end of May. We are excited for her and her future adventures — traveling the country in an RV. Randi is not one to sit still and we are sure she’ll make the most of and enjoy this next chapter.

We are glad to have found an enthusiastic replacement for Randi who has an entire month to work alongside her. Welcome to Chase Simmons, our new Controller!

Chase Simmons is from Peachtree City, Georgia, which sounds like an interesting place. It is a golf cart community outside of Atlanta where instead of parking lots full of cars you will find parking lots full of golf carts. He graduated from the University of Georgia and in his own words is a HUGE sports fan. Going to Georgia sporting events continues to be an active hobby. Since his father is a pilot he has managed to make it in person to six games in the past year, all while living here in Colorado.

Chase originally moved out to Breckenridge to be a ski bum for a year. He soon realized that he didn’t want to leave but also didn’t want to give up his career aspirations. He proceeded to find a job at the Vail Marriott where he quickly moved up the ladder, being promoted to Assistant Director of Finance within 16 months.

He is a whitewater kayaker, having attended a traveling kayaking boarding school for his last semester of high school. So he loves to kayak, bike and ski. Chase is also a lover of Golden Doodles and Labs, and is getting his daily fix now in the sales and marketing office.

Also somewhat new to the department is Elena, handling accounts payable. Elena is originally from Moldova and has been in the US for 10 years.  She is married and has 2 children, in preschool and elementary school.  She is currently studying accounting at Colorado Mountain College.  She loves to travel.  

Welcome to both Chase and Elena!

BIG Improvements in 2019

With all of the many improvements that the Antlers has made over the years, we know that our real Achilles’ Heel is the south (original) elevator. Clearly it does not begin to match the Platinum quality that we have worked so hard to achieve in the condominiums, and all around the property. Although we have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to make that elevator acceptable, the handwriting is on the wall that it just needs to be completely replaced.

While it would seem logical to replace the elevator in its current location (and as much as we’d like to), due to current code issues and a myriad of physical constraints, it’s just not feasible.  Fortunately, local architect Henry Pratt has helped us to identify a new, alternative location in the southeast corner of the courtyard.  It’s next to the area that we currently use as bicycle storage in the summer. We’ll still have to cut through the post tension slabs that comprise the garage and parking deck.  That isn’t cheap or easy, but at least it’s viable. With that new location comes the opportunity to make some much needed improvements to the lobby, front desk, reception area and associated office spaces. If we’re going to be considered a Platinum rated property, those spaces also need to be upgraded to that level of quality, just as the condominiums have been. 

A much more welcoming entrance will give our guests and owners a far better first impression.  For anyone who has visited grand hotels or five-star resorts and observed how much gets invested in the arrival experience, it’s easy to understand the importance of that concept … particularly in the hospitality business.  A two story structure with vaulted ceilings will replace the Antlers current one-level front desk “shoe box”, offering much more efficiency in addition to the radically improved aesthetics.

Fortunately, at a recent special meeting of the Antlers owners, there was overwhelming consensus to do what needs to be done, even if it is quite expensive. The total cost of the project is around four million dollars! We’re lucky that our ownership understands and appreciates the need to provide a great product for our guests … throughout the building.  Those that have been around for awhile also remember that similar investments they’ve made in the past, have been more than offset by the increased value of their property.

The plan now is to break ground in April 2019, at the end of ski season. Look for some good lodging deals during the summer! Then we should be 100% complete and ship shape in time for the 2019-2020 ski season.  Stay tuned for more information!