Fall in Vail. Photo courtesy of VLMD & Jack Affleck.
I always get a bit sad when summer starts to wind down, until I remember that the end of summer means the beginning of fall, one of the most beautiful times of year in Vail.
This year summer seemed to come to a close with rains, low hanging clouds and fog. Then this morning blue skies emerged along with a crispness in the air and of course the glorious golden colors of the Aspen leaves up high on the mountains.
Golden Aspens from horseback. Photo courtesy Beaver Creek Stables.
There are fewer events going on now that it is fall and town is a little quieter with kids back in school. Vail specials begin. The Antlers at Vail is offering up to 50% off Vail lodging, and we continue our free late Sunday check-out. Restaurants begin to offer specials, and the first annual Vail Restaurant Week will kick off September 27, and run through October 6.
Have you enjoyed Jazz at Vail Square yet this summer? There is still time! Today’s performance is the perfect kick off to the Pro Challenge coming through Vail tomorrow.
Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers Perform Thursday at Jazz @ Vail Square
Today’s performance promises to be a toe-tingling time with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers.
Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers heat up the Jazz Tent with high-energy jazz and blues that will make anyone and everyone’s body itch to swing. Those who are so inclined are welcomed to take their moves to an open dance floor below the stage.
Hailing from California, Lavay Smith and her band have become a highly revered staple of the San Francisco jazz scene. Of their many awards and accolades, they earned the San Francisco Chronicle’s reader’s choice poll for best band. Nationally, they have been heralded by everyone from actor Dan Akroyd to Bill Clinton for their talent and feel-good dynamic.
The Seattle Times have deemed them “the best thing to come out of the jump/swing revival … the gal can sing her tail off,” and the Boston Globe has commented that the band is “a notable exception to the retro-swing norm. The saucy vocalist and her crew actually know the difference between jump music and bland R&B in corny suits.”
Snapping her fingers and shaking her hips, Smith belts out her very own, “ruby red lip” and “daddy”-filled tunes and also adds a fresh level of richness to numbers by such icons as Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith.
When asked in a recent podcast about how enjoyable it must be to woo younger generations into the realm of classic jazz and swing, Smith said, “What I really love is when an old guy who may not be a musician comes to the show and loves the music and says, ‘they’re playing my music. You guys are doing it right,’”
The seven-piece Skillet Lickers in and of themselves are star-studded. Founded and led by pianist Chris Siebert, who writes most of the band’s original arrangements, every Skillet Licker (Mike Olmos, Danny Armstrong, Jules Broussard, Robert Stewart, Nat Johnson and Howard Wiley) has an A-list track record of Lincoln Jazz Center performances and recordings with everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Qunicy Jones.
“One thing we’ve set out to do in this band is to have some of the power of a big band but the looseness of a small band,” Siebert said. “To play with this horn section, I think, man if I wasn’t playing with them tonight, I’d be paying to see them. I get to play with my heroes and listen to them solo. How did I get to be so lucky?”
What: Jazz @ Vail Square with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22
Where: The weatherproof Jazz Tent at The Arrabelle in Lionshead
Tickets: Preferred seats are $20 in advance, $25 day of show and general admission is FREE on a first-come basis. Visit vailjazz.org.
Antlers’ owners and guests enjoy the Fourth of July parade in Vail.
There is never a void of things to do in Vail for the Fourth of July, and this year is no exception. Vail America Days returns to Vail Village and continues throughout the Fourth of July weekend, July 4 – July 7. The celebration has been expanded to a four-day festival featuring spectacular fireworks, a classic town parade through the heart of Vail Village, live music, children’s entertainment and an open-air street festival atmosphere.
Entertainment will include Vail’s celebrated 4th of July parade this year with a nostalgic theme, fireworks by the world-famous Zambelli Fireworks (conditions permitting), live musical entertainment throughout the weekend featuring family music, Jazz, and our annual Patriotic Music from Bravo! Vail featuring the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. For the family, there will be an array of children’s activities, and multi-day festival style attractions with Americana style food and drink – as always complimented by all that Vail summer has to offer on and off the mountain.
The Vail 50th themed parade will begin at Golden Peak at 10 a.m. on Thursday July 4 and will wind its way through the villages, ending in Lionshead. Vail’s parade is one of the most popular events during the Independence Day holiday, attracting thousands of spectators. This year’s theme is “Vail’s 50th Anniversary Celebration” and will set the tone for the rest of the day’s celebrations featuring musical entertainment, a patriotic concert and a fireworks display at dusk.
Fourth of July celebrations continue at noon and throughout the remainder of the day with free entertainment in Vail Village at the main Vail America Days Stage at Solaris Plaza. The live music and beer garden will be open to the public through 10 p.m. on and stay open from noon – 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 5 and Sunday, July 6 to keep the celebration going. Another new addition to Vail America Days, is the Stars and Stripes zones, which offer an array of games and activities for the whole family to enjoy, The Stars and Stripes zones are complimentary and will be located in Lionshead and Gore Creek Promenade on Thursday, July 4 – Saturday July 6 from 12 – 4 p.m. each day.
“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)
Dock Dogs competition at the 2013 GoPro Mountain Games.
We love the variety of friends who make the Antlers their home while here in Vail. As the official pet-friendly hotel of the Go Pro Mountain Games, we enjoyed many furry friends visiting over the weekend. Those furry friends included a skateboarding bulldog and competitors in the 2013 Dock Dogs competition at the GoPro Mountain Games. Most of those friends have checked out now, and our friends at the Colorado Children’s Chorale have checked in. Our condo arrangements (from studios to four-bedroom condos, all with full kitchens) make us an ideal home for families, or anyone coming for an extended stay.
The Colorado Children’s Chorale during their annual visit at the Antlers at Vail.
The Colorado Children’s Chorale is at the Antlers for their annual visit. They are in town for a workshop designed to develop performance skills such as singing, dancing, acting and stage movement. Professional conductors and Chorale members work with attendees to share music and theater skills plus elements of teamwork and self confidence. The workshop concludes with a performance, Voices in the Valley, featuring workshop participants on stage with the Colorado Children’s Chorale at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Friday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m.
Welcome to Future Business Leaders of America for Vail’s 50th anniversary!
The Antlers at Vail would like to extend a warm welcome to Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)! For more than 25 years, Future Business Leaders of America members have descended upon Vail for their state leadership conference and we are very happy to be able to host some of these young leaders here at the Antlers. The young leaders staying here at the Antlers come from all over Colorado. Though they are here to attend leadership workshops and to compete in business-related events in hopes of qualifying for the national conference in Orlando, we hope they manage to enjoy all of the fabulous amenities and activities that Vail has to offer. And, this year is the 50th annual Colorado FBLA State Leadership conference. It is apropos to be held here in Vail for Vail’s 50th anniversary.
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!
An athlete competes in the World Pond Skimming Championships. He takes to the air in the hopes of making it across a freezing pond before sinking. Photo Credit: Tom Green, Courtesy Vail Resorts
I’m the new marketing gal at the Antlers and am excited to have a platform here at the Antlers to share some of my favorite things about this unique community that I’ve chosen to call home.
Vail’s winter season boasts some pretty spectacular events from amazing concerts and fireworks to fabulously fun New Year’s parties. But ski season isn’t over yet and one of my most favorite events will be here next weekend: the legendary World Pond Skimming Championships, which returns to “Lake Golden Peak” on April 14.
The annual competition entails floatable (and sometimes sinkable) athletes launching themselves off an on-snow jump onto an icy pond in attempt to successfully exit the pond on both feet. There is no best costume trophy, but there should be. All of these very talented athletes also know how to have fun by dressing up in some pretty funny costumes.
Pond Skimming is a part of Spring Back to Vail, the biggest end of season bash in the Rocky Mountains. Most people probably come to Spring Back to Vail for the jam-packed schedule of headliner concerts, but I’d make the trip just for the Pond Skimming.
Also, another favorite is the Taste of Vail. New to this year’s extravaganza was the Nordic Wine Sampler (happening as I post this) where participants cross country ski or snowshoe around the Vail Nordic Center while stopping at various stations for wine and cheese. It is followed Thursday, by the 9th Annual Colorado Lamb Cook-off and Après Ski Tasting in the heart of Vail Village, which can be fun for the whole family. Taste of Vail continues with the Mountaintop Picnic Friday and concludes with the Grand Tasting Saturday and lots of specialty seminars in between.
Early Vail ski instructors line up for photo op (credit: Vail Resorts)
Celebrating Vail’s 50th remains the name of the game for the 2013 Vail ski season, right through its April spring skiing finale, with plenty of special late-season festivities – many of them free. The fun ranges from a new Nordic twist on the venerable Taste of Vail’s 22nd year through a tricky closing day event featuring “floatable athletes” launching from snow to icy pond. To keep all those good times company, the Antlers at Vail hotel is offering a 30-percent discount on its lodging rates for the month of April, bringing the rate for a studio suite below $200. The insider Vail travel experts at the Antlers also recommend these five reasons to enjoy their home resort this April:
1) Taste of Vail – the iconic spring food and wine festival turns 22 this year, showcasing the area’s finest chefs and nation’s top vintners. A new Nordic Wine Tour kicks off the Taste with cross-country ski/snowshoe wine and cheese stations on the Vail Golf Course. April 3 – 6. Event tickets start from $50.
2) Spring Back to Vail Celebration – a week-long end-of-season bash in honor of Vail’s 50th, featuring free live concerts including reggae legend and Grammy-winner Jimmy Cliff, performing April 14 at the Solaris Plaza in Vail Village. April 8 – 14.
3) 50th Anniversary Film Night – a look back at Vail’s 50 years in film from Roger Cotton Brown, who created the first ever promotional film about Vail in the early 60s. April 4 and 11. Show is free with ticket, available at Lionshead Vail Welcome Center from 9 a.m. on the day of the show only. Film starts at 5:30 p.m.
4) Skiing Heritage Week – a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame induction ceremony April 13 is a highlight in a week of events that also includes the Ishpeming International Film Festival of classic ski movies. April 8 – 14. $350 for the All-Access Pass.
5) Vail World Pond Skimming Championships – thousands watch as costumed skiers and snowboarders vie for fame and glory as they attempt to clear a 100-foot, ice cold pond in this wacky annual close-of-season event. April 14. Lake Golden Peak at Vail Mountain’s Golden Peak Base Area. Free to watch; $75 to participate.
Antlers at Vail’s April discount includes 30 percent off regular rates for the month, with a $285/night studio suite available for $199. Check the Antlers at Vail website calendar or chat with Antlers staff for additional events – from family snowshoeing to a Segovian pig roast – to accompany an April Vail visit.
If you are looking for something a little different to do this weekend and really like beer, the annual Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines festival is starting Thursday January 10th at the Vail Cascade hotel. In it’s 13th year here in Vail this festival is different from most mainly because the 2 main criteria for the beers is they must be Belgian style and must be more than 7% alcohol! It features a homebrewers competition, beer paring dinners, and tasting for the public on Saturday afternoon. For more information and to purchase tickets to events visit their website here. Want to be even more adventurous check out two of our local breweries Crazy Mountain Brewery located in Edwards Colorado has a tasting room. Bonfire Brewing CO located in Eagle Colorado has a bar and tasting room, they do have live music sometimes on the weekends.