Valley offers respite from heat
Ryan Summerlin July 20, 2012
EAGLE COUNTY – You’ll still see the signs sometimes, in the windows of old diners or movie theaters that had then-new air conditioners: “20 degrees cooler inside!”
That old promise of relief from the heat is driving some travelers to book rooms in the Vail Valley, where, at least for the next few days, people on the Front Range can get at least 20 degrees of relief from the heat.
“We’ve had a lot of last-minute reservations, and a lot of people are citing the heat,” Vail Racquet Club General Manager Matt Ivy said. “People have such easy access to us – you just hop off the highway at East Vail.”
Ivy said the Racquet Club has had a fairly busy summer. June was down a bit from the previous year, Ivy said – perhaps due to the wildfires that tore through other areas of the state. But July is on pace to set a new record for the month, he said.
And, when the temperature is pushing triple digits in Denver, East Vail is still cool and – at least for this summer – relatively lush.
“I’ve seen more people on the (East Vail) trails the last couple of weekends than I’ve seen all summer,” said Kristina Johnson of the Vail Valley Partnership.
A lot of those people are staying in shade along those trails, so they can get in a little exercise while staying cool, she said.
The Partnership runs the web-based Vail on Sale program, which offers last-minute deals on lodging, and Johnson said that site has been doing well this summer.
“People are seeing an opportunity to come up here for all kinds of activities and events,” Johnson said, adding that she’s seen big crowds this summer at both the Minturn and Vail markets.
In West Vail, people are getting off the highway to stay at the Holiday Inn Apex Lodge. General manager Jason Yeash said his place has been seeing between 20 and 25 walk-in customers every night for the past couple of weeks. A lot of those people are saying they’re in Vail for a little cool air.
“Denver people are running away from the heat,” Yeash said, adding that he’s seeing several customers from Grand Junction as well.
“My wife’s been down there for a few days now,” Yeash said. “She can’t wait to get back.”
Some lodges are sending out e-mails and other marketing materials with a beat-the-heat theme. Johnson said Simba Run in Vail recently sent out an e-mail blast encouraging people to beat the heat in the lodge’s big swimming pool.
The beat-the-heat crowd has flowed into one of the valley’s high-end lodges, too.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek General Manager Robert Purdy said that hotel has seen good traffic from “leisure” travelers this summer. Many of those people are getting out of the heat, he said.
Purdy still has a home in the Denver area, and said he’s used numerous calls, texts and e-mails to draw his neighbors to the High Country.
More business is always welcome in the summer, but Yeash, like many hosts, said it would be great to have a little more notice before guests show up.
“I’ll come into work and learn the hotel sold out the night before,” Yeash said. “That’s great, but it would be nice to know.”