| VailDaily.com

Best of Vail Valley 2021: It’s time to recognize those who make the valley special


The Vail Daily for several years has asked readers to pick the Vail Valley’s best in an annual readers’ poll. That poll is a big deal for the winners.

Recognition in the readers’ poll is a boost for business owners, managers and employees. An award “tells you your community likes you,” Yeti’s Grind owner Larry Leith said.

And the community response is impressive. Vail Daily Publisher Mark Wurzer noted that this year’s poll drew more than 74,000 votes cast by roughly 5,600 people.

The Vail Daily poll, run by a firm called Second Street, is one of many similar reader polls throughout the country. In the Vail Valley, votes are cast in four broad categories: retail, food and beverage, arts and activities and services.

Wurzer said Best of Vail Valley ties in well with “Vail Daily Live,” the Vail Daily’s streaming TV show, which focuses on dining, activities and cultural events.

“Vail Daily Live” will be the host of the Tuesday live-streaming announcement of winners at 6 p.m. Winners will also be published Nov. 10 at VailDaily.com on a Best of Vail Valley page.

The Best of Vail Valley 2021 magazine will be inserted into the Nov. 12 print edition, just in time for Opening Day at Vail Mountain. The magazine will also be distributed independently on publication racks throughout the valley.

Wurzer noted that the content, which has proven popular among locals, second-home owners and visitors, will be used through the year.

“One of our missions is to help visitors, second-home owners and locals with a really good source of information,” Wurzer said.

“What it means to us is reassurance we’re continuing to do a good job,” Ptarmigan Sports store manager Mike Sayers said.

With the retail world changing dramatically over the past several years, physical stores have ever-increasing competition, particularly from online outlets.

But readers have said Ptarmigan Sports is a place they actually want to visit while they shop.

What brings customers back is “knowledge and customer service,” Sayers said. “We like to be here for the customer to build relationships.”

BWP Motorsports founder Hunter Schleper grew up in Vail. He said the shop’s recognition as the valley’s best mechanical shop in last year’s edition “means the world.”

Hunter Schleper is the son of Buzz’s Boards founder Buzz Schleper. That shop has also received numerous Best of Vail Valley awards in the past.

Hunter Schleper said growing up in and around the retail business has taught him to take pride in taking care of local residents.

Winning the award in 2020 helped bring more people to BWP Motorsports, but a readers’ choice recognition also means “people have trust in what we’re doing.” It’s also gratifying to see that “people are recognizing us as the premier motorsports store in the valley.”

Yeti’s Grind has for years been at or near the top of Best of Vail Valley polls.

Leith is a fan of the project.

“I love it — the whole thing’s fun,” Leith said. This year’s format, which recognizes the top three finishers as winners, is “a great idea,” Leith said, adding, “We all have multiple places we love.”

Join the party!

Winners of the 2021 Best of Vail Valley readers’ choice awards will be announced Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. Join the virtual party at VailDaily.com, Vail Daily Live, Facebook or YouTube.