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Eagle Town Council approves major change to Haymeadow development

Land planner Rick Pylman gives a presentation to the Eagle Town Council on a request to amend the planned unit development of the Haymeadow project during a meeting on Oct. 12.
Kelli Duncan/Vail Daily

Eagle Town Council members approved a major change to the development plan of the Haymeadow project, which aims to construct 837 homes in the area just east of the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink.

The project’s developers have been pushing to swap a 6.5-acre plot of town-owned land near the heart of their planned development in exchange for 8 acres of land they own in another area. The swap will allow them to speed up the construction of much-needed affordable, multifamily housing, developers said.

The amendment was set for a vote last month, but Town Council members tabled the matter to give developers time to implement additional requests they made to sweeten the deal for the town.

The resolution presented to the Town Council on Tuesday satisfied all of these asks, which centered around a push to accelerate the timeline of the project’s first phase and increase the number of deed-restricted housing units completed in the first phase.

“I don’t think in all my years of doing this, I’ve ever been in this position,” Mayor Scott Turnipseed said in last month’s meeting. “It’s always been the developer begging the town to go faster so they can build, and now the town is wanting you to go faster to build.”

The first phase of the Haymeadow project already promises the construction of approximately 200 units over the next five to six years, according to a presentation given by Eagle town staff last month.

A design layout created by the Haymeadow development team shows the 6.5-acre plot (outlined in red) that developers would get from the town in the proposed land swap if the amendment to their planned unit development is approved.
Haymeadow/Courtesy photo

Town Council members also asked that language be added to the amended agreement around how soon developers can build up the necessary infrastructure around the 8 acres of land they are offering to the town in the proposed swap.

The 8-acre plot currently does not have full access to utilities like water and electricity, so council members asked for guarantees that this infrastructure will be completed in a timely manner.

Finally, the Town Council asked that housing be prioritized for Eagle residents. The resolution approved Tuesday stipulates that Haymeadow will set aside 30 units as “resident occupied deed-restricted units” in addition to Eagle’s local employee residency program, which requires that 10% of units in any residential development go to local employees.

These 30 units will be completed in the very first phase of construction on the 6.5 acres acquired in the land swap. If there are no pending applications from town residents, the units will then be made available to Eagle County residents, land planner Rick Pylman said last month.

The Town Council discussed the particulars of the amendment for nearly an hour and a half Tuesday evening, with a lot of input from impassioned residents. Some residents advocated for more affordable housing by any means necessary and others advocated against what they saw as an unbalanced swap set to benefit the developers more than the town.

Finally, Town Council member David Gaboury made a motion to approve the change. The motion passed by a vote of 5 to 1 with Council member Ellen Bodenhemier as the only dissenting vote.

The Haymeadow property in spring, as seen from the nearby Soleil neighborhood.
Bud Bartnik/Special to the Daily

“I just was hesitant to give away a parcel of town-owned land that was zoned for recreational purposes,” Bodenhemier said in an interview Thursday. “There was a lot of synergy with the location of that recreational parcel with it being adjacent to the Mountain Recreation campus.”

The 8-acre plot that will be annexed by the town as part of the trade will also be zoned for recreational use, according to Tuesday’s discussion.

The loss of “synergy” in giving up that 6.5-acre parcel near the Mountain Recreation facility was also on the minds of residents and other stakeholders. Developers have said that having multifamily housing near the Mountain Rec campus and the future school planned for the area would create its own synergy, allowing families easy access to school and after-school activities.

When all was said and done, Bodenhemier said she trusts the decision made by her fellow council members and is glad that the project will be able to move along more quickly.

“I am happy that the outcome will produce available housing inventory in Eagle quicker,” she said Thursday. “I think the best possible outcome for Eagle did prevail.”

Decision again delayed for Edwards RiverPark project

The Edwards RiverPark proposal was headed toward a final decision Thursday when the development team made a last-minute request to table the file for retooling.

If this sounds familiar, it’s exactly what happened the last time the project came to a vote by the Eagle County Commissioners in March.

However, this time the anticipated changes to the file will be more limited, as will the schedule. The commissioners are scheduled to resume the Edwards RiverPark review on Oct. 26.

During a nearly 90-minute discussion, as the commissioners debated the proposal, much of it centered around a central idea: Do the public benefits offered as part of the Edwards RiverPark plan outweigh the impacts of development?

When the tone of the discussion indicated that at least two of the commissioners believed the answer was “no,” project planner Dominic Mauriello suggested an additional enticement: an offer to place a requirement on 170 of the project’s proposed 340 free-market residential units that would mandate resident-only occupancy.

The commissioners noted that offer was worth consideration, but didn’t jump to accept it.

“What we don’t want to do is negotiate from the dais,” Commissioner Matt Scherr said.

But the commissioners noted that if they tabled the file and the developer came forward with the new proposal, public comment will be reopened. That sets the scene for another round of discussion in two weeks.

First amendments

Located west of the Edwards spur road and north of U.S. Highway 6 on a 55.27-acre former gravel pit site, the revised Edwards RiverPark plan proposes a total of 440 residential units and 11,500 square feet of commercial space. That plan represents the elimination of 100 residential units and 17,500 square feet of commercial space from the original proposal, which was tabled in March. The revised plan also nixes a proposed hotel, conference space and amphitheater from the original application.

But two of the big public benefits touted by the development team remained part of the plan: a new roundabout at U.S. Highway 6 and Lake Creek Road and a workforce housing plan.

During deliberations this week, the commissioners all applauded the development housing plan, which includes 90 deed-restricted rental units, nine price-capped rental units at 80% average median income (AMI), 72 price-capped rental units at 100% AMI and 10 resident-occupied, deed-restricted units for sale with no transfer fee exemption. Edwards RiverPark also has proposed a 1% real estate transfer fee on all free-market units, with the money earmarked for the county’s workforce housing program.

But during deliberations, the commissioners also voiced reservations about the proposal.

“This has not been a slam dunk for me to say, ‘check, check, check.’ This is how this should go,” Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney said. “But I do believe this is where density belongs.”

McQueeney noted that more density is a natural consequence as the county works to address its housing crisis.

“And if you want density, you are going to have traffic,” she said.

Scope and scale

The additional traffic that would result from the Edwards RiverPark development, as well as the general scope and scale of the project, are major concerns, Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry said.

“The issue for me is compatibility with the surrounding area,” she said.

She noted the Edwards Area Community Plan talks about having a small-town character, but that vision is difficult to reconcile with the large buildings and residential density proposed at Edwards RiverPark.

“I think that is a lot of the tension we are feeling,” she said.

She noted the housing plan proposed for the development exceeds what the county would require. Chandler-Henry said the developers’ estimated building costs of $650 per square foot at Edwards RiverPark resulted in a high-density request.

“As a community, we need to think about how do we get affordable housing,” she said. “We can’t say on one hand we want affordable housing, and on the other hand say we only want one house every five acres.”

Scherr noted that public benefit of the housing program, roundabout and a proposed child care center are all substantial factors working in favor of the plan. He also acknowledged the reality of creating affordable housing means increased density. But Scherr questioned if the Edwards RiverPark site was the appropriate location for the scope of development proposed.

“It just runs contrary to what that community is trying to be, regardless of how good these suggestions are for public benefit. It just doesn’t feel like it is meeting that need,” he said.

Chandler-Henry was more direct in her assessment.

“I am coming down on the side that it is not compatible and it doesn’t conform,” she said.

With that reaction from the commissioners, Mauriello mentioned adding residents-only deed restrictions, asking if that would help make the proposal more palatable.

“It could be a tipping point if we knew the people in the cars were people living here and working here,” Chandler-Henry said.

After a brief executive session with the county attorney, the commissioners announced they would not negotiate as part of deliberations but would be willing to table the proposal and allow the Edwards RiverPark team time to formalize the deed-restriction offer.

The proposal will be back before the commissioners at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 26. The hearing can be viewed at Reflect-Vod-EagleCounty.Cablecast.tv.

Eat this week: La Tour chef-owner Paul Ferzacca shares how to make an omelet like a pro

Vail — I was 8 when I decided I didn’t like omelets. I can no longer recall why, but I certainly avoided them for several decades. And then one day my dad whipped up omelets for the two of us — filling them with nothing more than grated Vella Dry Jack and lots of cracked black pepper. It was love at first bite.

Back in my own kitchen, I discovered omelets are one of those deceptively simple dishes: Seems easy enough until you’re standing at the stove, plating up an overcooked scramble. But since there’s no shame in asking for help, I decided to call Paul Ferzacca for some guidance. The chef-owner of La Tour is a natural at breaking down culinary techniques into a straightforward series of steps. It’s what helped his Pro Start high school culinary students take the gold in first the state and then the national culinary competitions. It also doesn’t hurt that he worked the omelet station during Sunday brunch at a fancy-schmancy hotel once upon a time.

LaTour owner and chef, Paul Frezacca, celebrates 20 years of outstanding cuisine creativity this year at his renowned Vail restaurant.
Dominique Taylor

He says the most important concept in omelet-making is mise in place, a French term that refers to having all the ingredients for a particular dish out and ready to go before starting. “An omelet is a 45-second dish,” said Ferzacca, referring to the actual cooking time. “If everything isn’t ready to go you’ll overcook it.”

And “everything” doesn’t just refer to the omelet fillings: there’s also the matter of what else is on the plate. Left to his druthers, Chef Ferzacca goes for applewood-smoked Neuske’s bacon and a fruit salad with fresh figs, oranges and a cinnamon-flavored crema.

The recipe is easy, but it’s all about technique.

Omelets for Two

  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fillings, such as cured meats, grated cheese and sautéed vegetables
Omelets can be as simple or as complicated as one likes, but nothing beats a few slices of fresh truffles.
Special to the Daily

1. Chef tip: When cracking eggs, use a flat surface like a plate. If you use the side of a bowl, you’ll force the shell into the egg. A flat surface allows the shell to simply crack. Whisk together 2.5 eggs, 1 teaspoon water, salt and pepper. The lesson here is you shouldn’t make an omelet for one since nobody wants to divide an egg. Lots of people add milk instead of water, but there’s no need. What you want is to add a little moisture to the egg so it doesn’t dry out. Chef Ferzacca uses white pepper because he’s classically trained and doesn’t like to see the specks of pepper. I am not bothered by peppery contrast. Use whatever you have on hand, as long as it’s freshly ground.

2. Take a look in the fridge and decide on your fillings. Nothing will actually cook with the eggs — there won’t be enough time — so pre-cook anything that needs it. Sauteed mushrooms, roasted and peeled peppers, chunks of ham and shredded cheese all make great fillings. You can do all your prep work the day before if you like, but make sure the fillings come to room temperature before you start using them. That way the egg mixture won’t cool, plus it gives the cheese a fighting chance to melt.

3. Grab a smallish nonstick pan. A really seasoned iron skillet will do, too, but a nonstick skillet is easy. Heat the pan on medium-high. You want it to almost smoke. If it starts smoking, just pull it off the heat for a few seconds.

4. Put a bit of butter or oil in the pan. It might start browning immediately and that’s fine. Just don’t let it scorch. Most restaurant kitchens have clarified butter, which has a higher smoking point than regular butter. That’s ideal, but nothing to fret about not using.

5. Ladle the egg mixture into the pan. If you have a 4-ounce ladle, now’s the time to bust it out. If you don’t have one (and really, why would you?) you can use a 1/2-cup measuring cup. The egg mixture will probably start to bubble a little immediately. Don’t worry, it’s not burning – but it is cooking, and fast. So don’t get distracted.

6. At this point you can go one of two ways, both of which utilize a rubber spatula. 1. You can pick up the pan and twist and turn it while scooping the more cooked egg to the center and letting the runny egg rush to the outside of the omelet. Or 2. You can gently stir the egg with the spatula as it cooks. Ferzacca prefers this method because it’s just plain easier.

7. When the egg starts to set but is still glossy on top (30 seconds or so), run the spatula around the edge of the omelet and give the pan a hard shake. You want to make sure the omelet isn’t sticking to the pan. It should slide across the pan easily.

8. Now the fun part: start adding your toppings. Put in whatever you want, but only put it on half of the egg. Fold the empty side over the full side, and with a mere flick of the wrist tip the omelet onto the plate. The cheese will start to melt as soon as the egg is folded.

9. It bears mentioning that the classic French omelet is a tri-fold affair. There’s no reason you should try to mangle a perfectly good omelet in the privacy of your own home. A half-moon omelet tastes just as good as a tri-fold, and is much easier.

The Left Bank celebrates 50 years in Vail

Jean Michel Chelain, who grew up in the French Alps in Grenoble, France, started his 35-year culinary career in his teens and came to the states at age 26. He found Vail in late 1998 after being in Florida, California and the Midwest. He took over the Left Bank in 2006. (The Left Bank
Special to the Daily)

Five decades in a mountain ski town is a long time for a business, especially for a restaurant.

The Left Bank celebrates its 50th anniversary this season. The French eatery opened up on Nov. 24, 1970 to then-owners Luc and Liz Meyer. The Meyer’s were not only new to Vail, but new to America. Liz had grown up in Europe and Africa and Luc was raised in France. They met in the Bahamas of all places, got married in the Virgin Islands and came to Colorado on the recommendation of a friend they met there.

“We came to Colorado and visited Steamboat, Aspen, Breckenridge, Crested Butte and nothing felt as right as Vail did to start a French restaurant,” Luc said.

Things moved fast for the Meyer’s once they got to Vail in September of 1970. The birth of their first son came a few weeks after their arrival and they signed a deal to open a new restaurant just weeks after that. Although Luc had a friend working with him as a chef at the beginning, that chef’s wife did not like it in Vail and they moved shortly after he started.

“Claude quit and I came home and told Liz, ‘Today, you start. You are in charge,’ and we had 107 dinners that night,” Luc said.

Luc and Liz Meyer came to Vail in September of 1970 and opened up the Left Bank on Nov. 24, 1970. Luc was the executive chef and Liz ran the front of the house, hand writing the dinner menus each night. (Liz Meyer
Special to the Daily)

The Left Bank’s name is a nod to the Left Bank of the Seine River that flows through Paris and is known for its restaurants, boutiques, Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower. The menu back then featured classic French dishes like onion soup, escargot and coq au vin.

The couple worked hard and their efforts were recognized, especially once President Gerald R. Ford started coming to Vail for vacations in the 1970s.

“He always came to the Left Bank for his birthday on July 14. He liked the liver and the trout and he loved dessert, especially my homemade ice cream,” Luc said.

Not only would the president dine at the Left Bank but so would American politicians and foreign dignitaries like Henry Kissinger, Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Thatcher. Celebrities and world-class athletes came in as well. Robert Redford, Natalie Wood, Andy Warhol, John Denver, Bob Hope and the cast from “Charlie’s Angels” all have signed the guest book.

There were decades of success for the Meyer’s at the Left Bank, but eventually they knew they would want to pass it along to someone who could continue the legacy of this French restaurant in Vail. Jean Michel Chelain eventually became the perfect person to carry the torch.

Chelain, who grew up in the French Alps in Grenoble, France, started his 35-year culinary career in his teens and came to the states at age 26. He found Vail in late 1998 after being in Florida, California and the Midwest.

“I literally picked this place on a map,” Chelain said about coming to Vail. “I found out about the Left Bank two days before I was driving here.” The two Frenchmen bonded and Chelain landed his dream job.

“It was almost like an apprenticeship, working underneath Luc and Liz and learning the business and all the nuances that go with a restaurant, it was so valuable,” Chelain said.

“The restaurant was like Liz and Luc’s ’baby’ and they’d built it up to the point that it was not just about cooking food, it was also about being a good interpreter and to keep that legacy going for them,” Chelain said.

In order to maintain the tradition, Chelain also had to make it his own.

“There were big shoes to fill so the important thing when I took over was not to change everything. It was the Left Bank and that’s what we were going to do and little by little we would change a few things, reinvent and try to make it even better and try to appeal to the next generation,” Chelain said. “I’d start by doing specials and if people liked the dish, we’d put it on the menu.”

Left Bank chef-owner Jean Michel Chelain’s Dover Sole Meunière is served tableside and has become a signature dish at the Vail restaurant. (Left Bank
Special to the Daily)

“We always had Black Angus beef before, but now I’ve added waygu New York strip, or waygu Beef Wellington from a filet, and I can tell you, that is a super popular dish now, the ‘waygu Wellington,’” Chelain said. “But, even though we add new things, we still carry out traditional French techniques in the kitchen.”

In 2014, Chelain did a complete renovation of the Left Bank’s decor and brought in world-renown interior designer Katia Bates of Innovative Creations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bates, an Italian native, was the designer for Versace’s mansion in 2000 and in 2004. Bates was able to update the Left Bank and give it a brand new, light, fresh look with the use of blue hues and white leather and iron chandeliers with tiered glass and crystal drops.

The wine cellar is prominently showcased in the dining room behind large glass doors and glass walls. The artwork exhibits an airy feeling and the deep blue velvet and leather detail on the booths and pillows brings in a cozy yet chic feel. The Left Bank’s updated look is in a class of its own in the Vail restaurant scene.

In 2014, chef-owner Jean Michel Chelain did a complete renovation of the Left Bank’s decor and brought in world-renown interior designer Katia Bates of Innovative Creations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bates, an Italian native, was the designer for Versace’s mansion in 2000 and in 2004. (Left Bank
Special to the Daily)

In addition to updating the restaurant and evolving the menu over the past 15 years, Chelain is also looking to the future. He wants more people to enjoy the Left Bank not only by dining in, but also by being able to bring a taste of the Left Bank home. Window by Left Bank is Chelain’s latest concept.

Window by Left Bank is a collection of ready-made menu items including the Left Bank’s legendary French onion soup and tomato soup. You can build the perfect meal by adding other favorites like escargot bourguignon in the shell or prime osetra caviar. There are also ready-made entrées that you can finish at home. Impress your dinner guests with Iberico bellota marinated pork lion or duck leg confit sous vide. You don’t have to let them know that chef Chelain did all the work.

Chelain, who is barely 50 years old himself, is still a bit in awe of this banner year for the Vail landmark.

“The Left Bank definitely didn’t achieve the 50-year mark alone. There have been many people involved over the decades. Tremendous dedication and understanding have gone into what this restaurant is all about. It’s the history, the quality and the special feeling people have the moment they dine with us. Our goal is to maintain the legacy while raising the bar of excellence in the 21st century,” Chelain said.

Left Bank is located on Gore Creek Drive in Vail. Visit www.leftbankvail.com for more information about the restaurant.

Krimson Klover achieves worldwide growth despite COVID-19

Krimson Klover’s seamless base layers are designed by Colorado artists and blend technology and high performance with luxurious knits. (Krimson Klover
Special to the Daily)

If you had told Rhonda Swenson last March that her company would be increasing sales and distribution worldwide, she would not have believed you.

“We had just been to two tradeshows, the Outdoor Retailer show in the states and the international trade show in Europe, had grown our business by 25% and then COVID-19 hit. It was an ‘oh-blank’ moment!” said Swenson, a Vail resident and founder, CEO and creative director of Krimson Klover, a clothing brand designed for women, by women, based in Boulder, CO.

The news about the coronavirus and uncertainty that surrounded it sprung the Kirmson Klover team into action. Swenson immediately got on the phone with her biggest dealers, knowing that everyone was going to try to cut back their orders and that the future was uncertain for all.

“Christy Sports, Vail Resorts’ retail shops, Title 9 and others all cut their orders back 30% and that enabled us to go back to our factories and cut our orders back 30%” Swenson said.

Then Krimson Klover called its factories, which are located in Portugal, Romania, Viet Nam, Indonesia and China.

“We work with really small, family-owned factories, not the big conglomerates, and our factories got behind us,” Swenson said. “They must have amazing relationships with their material suppliers because they were able to get us out of all of our raw material so we have no debt and neither do our factories, which was amazing,” Swenson said.

Krimson Klover founder, CEO and creative director poses with her dog, River, who is featured often in photo shoots. (Krimson Klover
Special to the Daily).

Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the clothing manufacturing and retail sector, the brand has achieved new growth targets by expanding to over 50 accounts across Europe and the Southeast Pacific in the first season. The 2020-21 collection can now be found in more than 10 countries worldwide, including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Russia, Czech Republic, Japan and Canada.

“To build our brand, we needed to build it on a world stage. So, I wanted to go into Europe because it just makes us more relevant in the ski world. Sking is such a heritage sport there,” Swenson said. “I actually think Krimson Klover will be bigger in Europe than in the U.S., it’s really taking off. They love what we’re doing,” Swenson said.

A fan of Krimson Klover wears the Peace, Love, Ski base layer in Switzerland in an Instagram post. (Krimson Klover
Special to the Daily).

Andreas Nägele, of Arnold Sports, Germany and is in charge of international sales for Krimson Klover. He explains why the brand translates so well overseas.

“When we first met with Krimson Klover, we knew the timing for retro graphics and bold color were ideal for Europe. As a signature mark, the designs and base layer weights are unique for our resort clients and they relish the energy that Krimson Klover brings to the market. Our buyers appreciate that these are products for women, inspired by women, no ‘shrink it and pink it” as they say,” Nägele said.

Krimson Klover’s vintage-inspired base layers have been very popular in European ski markets. (Krimson Klover
Special to the Daily)

Since its launch in 2010, Krimson Klover has established itself as a leader in Alpine sport style. The brand has spent the last decade building a best-in-class reputation throughout North America with more than 500 retail accounts and growing. For more information, follow Krimson Klover on their Instragram and Facebook accounts and visit krimsonklover.com.

Krimson Klover not only creates base layers, but also styles for on and off the slopes. (Krimson Klover
Special to the Daily)

Locals rally to help save Vail Valley eateries

Save Our Restaurants encourages people to order from a local restaurant at least once a week and share the experience and spread the word on social media.

At times, the year 2020 has brought out the worst in people, but it has also brought out the best in people. Save Our Restaurants is one example of locals doing what they can, where they live, right now to make things better.

Edwards residents Melinda Gladitsch and Beverly Freedman have been thinking about ways to help out local restaurants during the pandemic for quite some time and knew there were several individual efforts taking place in municipalities but no countywide efforts.

“We finally decided to make it happen by approaching key organizations across the county for buy-in, setting up social presences on Facebook and Instagram and launching the campaign,” Gladitsch said. Save Our Restaurants just launched this week.

The goal of Save Our Restaurants is simple: Order out at least once per week and share your experience on social media to spread the word.

Even with the vaccine coming to Colorado and Eagle County and hope on the horizon, there is still a long road ahead. State and county safety mandates are still in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Eagle County restaurants are currently operating at 25% of capacity, or at 50 people or less, whichever is fewer.

“Our restaurants are facing strict dine-in restrictions and a large part of our population may not feel comfortable dining in anyway. But everyone can do their part to help our restaurants survive by ordering out frequently,” Gladitsch said.

Save Our Restaurants reached out to several local organizations including the Vail Valley Partnership, the Vail Chamber & Business Association and Beaver Creek Merchant Association to help get the word out and they promptly backed this grassroots effort.

“I feel like we are a community of action-oriented people. When we see a need and feel passionate about it, we try to take action. Beverly Freedman is an excellent example of that. She pushes for what she believes in,” Gladitsch said about her friend and cofounder of Save Our Restaurants.

Eagle County restaurants do not need to do anything to participate in the program because this effort will be driven by local and visiting diners.

“We look forward to seeing this effort grow and make a difference,” Gladitsch said.

To join the cause simply order out, share your experience on social media and tag the restaurant as well at @saveourrestaurantsvailvalley on Facebook and @save_our_restaurants on Instagram. Bon appétit!

10 activities and events coming to Vail, Beaver Creek this winter: Tricia’s Winter Picks

2017 U.S. national champion and member of Team USA in the 2018 Olympics Karen Chen will be one of the ice skating professionals at this weekend’s show at Solaris on Saturday. (Special to the Daily)

The ski season looks a little different this year, but there are still glimpses of splendor, wonder and winter’s brilliance through events that are either socially distanced or virtual. Safety is a top priority this winter, while still enjoying the best time of year. Here are a few ideas on how to fill your days and nights while in the Vail Valley this winter.

Revely Vail – Nov. 28-Dec. 11 – Vail and Lionshead villages

Vail’s Welcome to the Brilliance of Winter features tree lightings, ice skating shows, astronomy nights and more. Free take-home crafts like an ornament painting kit from Alpine Arts Center can be found by visiting the Vail Welcome Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily on the top deck of the Vail Village parking structure.

The skating shows are just 15 minutes to promote people from gathering for too long. This week’s show will feature 2018 Olympian Karen Chen and one of the stars from Disney’s “World on Ice,” Alexe Gilles, who portrays Elsa in “Frozen on Ice.” The shows will be at 5 and 6 p.m. on Dec. 5, 12, 29 and 26. Astronomy Nights start next Saturday. See revelyvail.com for the entire schedule.

Vail Holidays – Dec. 11-Dec. 31

Kris Kringle Market – Dec. 11-12 – Vail Village

Shop local and support local businesses and artisans by visiting the Kris Kringle Market on Dec. 11 and 12 in Vail Village. Sip on a hot drink while shopping for wares to deck out your home or shopping for those on your holiday list. Check out facebook.com/VailKrisKringle for more details.

Holiday Sweater Run – Dec. 12 – Vail Village

Don your flashy-est jingle sweater and some fun tights and hit the streets of Vail for the annual Holiday Sweater Run on Dec. 12. The 5K run will start in waves beginning at 8:45 a.m. and will start and end at Bart & Yeti’s in Lionshead. Register in advance at vailrec.com.

Tree Lighting Ceremony – Vail Village

The official holiday tree in Lionshead Village was lit on Nov. 28 in a virtual ceremony on Facebook.com/discovervailco. Check the website or Facebook page to see when the tree lighting will be in Vail Village near the Covered Bridge.

New Years Eve Fireworks – Dec. 31 – over the skies of Vail

View fireworks from the base of Vail Mountain, from a snowshoe trail across the valley, from your hotel or condo window or from your car in the parking structures, ring in the New Year after viewing the Vail Holidays Fireworks display.

Magic of Lights: – Dec. 11-Jan. 24 — Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

New this season, Magic of Lights Vail is a one-of-a-kind celebration of lights offering a memorable, physically-distanced and safe activity for the entire family. Experience a half million lights that will be artfully displayed along a 0.5-mile area of the Lower Bench area of Ford Park and culminates in the beautiful Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. This is an area that most people don’t visit during the wintertime, so prepare to be wowed this season east of Vail Village.

This is a ticketed event with peak pricing (adults: $20; children ages 3 to 12: $10; Children 2 years and younger are free and do not require a ticket) and off-peak pricing (adults: $15; children ages 3 to 12: $5; Children 2 years and younger are free and do not require a ticket). For more information and to get tickets, visit magicoflightsvail.com.

Vail Winterfest – Dec. 20-End of January – Gore Creek, Vail Village

View artwork with ice as the medium in the illuminated Ice Sculpture Installation and Community Lantern Display as it comes to life on Dec. 20 and lasts until the end of January. These ice sculptures come to life on Gore Creek and make for great photos ops. The Community Lanterns offer a festive touch to Vail Village. Go to vailholidays.com for more information.

Vail Winterfest will reveal its illuminated ice sculptures along Gore Creek on Dec. 20. (Special to the Daily)

Vail Après Ski – 4 p.m. daily – Vail and Lionshead villages

Après is a French term that means “after” so après ski simply translated means “after skiing” and is the equivalent to happy hour. The town of Vail started a new tradition to kick off après ski last season with the ringing of the bells to herald the beginning of Vail Aprés, featuring strolling outdoor live music on select days and signature specials at shops and restaurants.

Vilar Performing Arts Center events

While most events and activities will be held outdoors, the Vilar Performing Arts Center hopes to host some in-person events along with virtual events. Here’s a look at the lineup as of press time. Check vilarpac.org for more information and updates to schedules.

Vilar Film Series

  • Teton Gravity Research “Roadless” – Dec. 17 – Tickets: $10 – 4:30 and 8 p.m.
  • Teton Gravity Research “Make Believe” – Dec. 22 and 23 – Tickets: $10– 4:30 and 8 p.m.
  • “S&M2: Metallica & San Francisco Symphony” – Dec. 28 and 29 – Tickets: $20 – 8 p.m.

The Residency Concerts – Check vilarpac.org for ticket details

With multi-day residencies in Beaver Creek, the Vilar Performing Arts Center is taking a unique approach to concerts during a pandemic. At press time, the following concerts are set to be small-attendance, socially-distanced shows in the theater.

  • Micaela Taylor’s All Star Band – Jan. 7-9, 7 p.m.
  • Robert Randolph featuring G. Love, Michael Kang & Special Guests – Jan. 14-16, 7 p.m.
  • Leftover Salmon – Jan. 21-23, 7 p.m.
  • Keller Williams – Jan. 28-30, 7 p.m. Some shows will feature the Keller Williams duo and special guest Greg Garrison of Leftover Salmon, and the Keller Williams Trio featuring special guests Garrett Sayers of Motet and Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic
  • Oteil Burbridge Trio and special guests – Feb. 4-6, 7 p.m.

A comedy show in set for Dec. 27. Straight from Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Standups of All Time,” Jim Breuer will present “The New Normal” at 6 and 9 p.m. I think we could all use some comedy as we close out 2020. See the Vilar’s protocols for how they are following Eagle County’s guidelines for holding events safely at this time.

The Vilar Performing Arts Center is also streaming many events. Look for wonderful performances from holiday shows to ballet to classical shows and more. The Vilar is also hosting Meet the Expert, which are streamed classes that are a part of a career-preparedness series. Here, viewers can learn about the entertainment industry and the different opportunities available to those who are inspired by the arts. Log on to vilarpac.org or follow social media platforms for more information.

Beaver Creek Wonder – all season

Get the cameras ready for when you head into Beaver Creek Village. Beaver Creek’s Wonder has several displays, like Frost Flowers, shown here, that will amaze and delight guests of all ages. (Beaver Creek Resort
Special to the Daily)

Beaver Creek has some surprises for you the next time you visit the village. Beaver Creek Wonder is not a pandemic project, but rather something that has been in the making for over three years and it’s coming to fruition this season, which is fitting since many attractions need to be outdoors due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Beaver Creek is calling this an artistic playground of photo-friendly, oversized sculptures that are placed throughout the plaza. Here’s a list of the new creations and for more information, go to Beavercreek.com or download the new and improved app.

  • CHIPS: Dreamy childhood memories come alive at CHIPS: the remodeled ice cream truck that’s been turned into a cookie truck.
  • Frost Flowers: Ever in bloom, Frost Flowers and their petals illuminate the village each night
  • Snowed In: Experience the magic of a Colorado winter day inside this life-size snow globe.
  • Reflections: Discover a new perspective with a peek into the ski mirrors.
  • Ice Bikes: Enjoy classic summer fun on the rink as you pedal an ice bike, no skates necessary.
  • Super G: View Beaver Creek through vibrant, larger-than-life goggles.

Colorado Snowsports Museum

One of the technical displays at the Colorado Snowsports Museum is a sliding device that can be pulled across the wall detailing Colorado’s involvement in all of the Winter Olympics, the four world championships hosted in Colorado and the World Cup races. (Daily file photo)

The Colorado Snowsports Museum is open for guests to learn more about the fascinating history of snowsports in Colorado. Located in the top Vail Village parking structure, the Colorado Snowsports Museum is a must see to and from the slopes and activities and shops of Vail Village. Speaking of shops, the Colorado Snowsports Museum has a wonderful gift shop right in the museum.

The Colorado Snowsports Museum underwent a multi-million dollar remodel and now showcases artifacts, equipment and information throughout six main exhibits These range from a section on the 10th Mountain Division, the famed winter warfare unit that trained just south of Vail at Camp Hale, to an interactive table display, an idea that came from the Smithsonian Institute, that shows the history of ski resorts throughout Colorado.

The Colorado Snowsports Museum’s offers programming as well. The popular Through the Lens presentation series is back for another winter. During the pandemic, the presentations will be virtual. Through the Lens presentations feature notable scientists, athletes and historians as they share stories and experiences that have helped shape Colorado’s rich snow sports heritage. All programs will be virtual this year and will go live from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Events are free with a suggested donation.

The Colorado Snowsports Museum also offers free Walking Tours on “everything you wanted to know about Vail in 60 minutes.” From how Vail was conceived and the crazy years of building the resort to the world-class resort it is today, learn more about this beloved mountain community. Tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, start at 11 a.m. and are $5 per person. Learn more about the Colorado Snowsports Museum at snowsportsmuseum.org.

Ice Skating

There are several ice rinks throughout Eagle County and at press time they were operating and hope to continue operating this winter. Let the kids burn off some energy while you grab a drink and enjoy the stars or snow while outdoors. Don’t forget, both Vail villages and Beaver Creek now allow those 21 and older to have adult beverages is designated areas. Ice rinks can be found at Solaris in Vail Village, the Arrabelle and Vail Square in Lionshead, the Dobson Ice Arena in Lionshead, the Black Family Ice Rink in Beaver Creek and the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink.

Skate rentals are available at many of these locations if you don’t have your own. Skating lessons are available at some locations, too. New this year at Beaver Creek: ice bikes. I have not seen these yet, but be on the lookout for them this season. Also, if the weather cooperates, there may be an ice rink set up on a part of Nottingham Lake this winter, so follow the town of Avon’s website or social media channels for more information.

Ice bumper cars

Ice Bumper Cars at Dobson Ice Arena were introduced last winter. This year, guests can come out for a socially-distanced bumper car ride on ice for $10. (Jessie Klehfoth
Special to the Daily)

Speaking of ice time, you can enjoy scooting around on the new ice bumper cars at the Dobson Ice Arena this year. The Vail Recreation District debuted these fun vehicles last spring and they offer adults and children over 48-inches tall the opportunity to zoom around, spin, skid and slide to a good time.

Rides are $10 per person for a 15-minute ride. There will be one trip per half-hour to allow for social distancing between groups. Up to 12 people at a time can go out on the bumper cars per session. Get your reservations and learn more by going to vailrec.com.

The Landing Mercantile in Beaver Creek features hundreds of unique gifts and housewares

The Landing Mercantile features 160 local artisans who have been curated for their unique and handcrafted wares from around the region.

The Vail Farmers Market and Art show has been a huge hit during the summers for almost two decades. This winter, Beaver Creek will get a taste of the Vail Farmers Market and Art Show with a new store, The Landing Mercantile.

The Landing Mercantile is in a prime spot in Beaver Creek. It right next to the Beaver Creek Children’s Ski and Snowboard School, the Park Hyatt, the Beaver Creek Ice Rink and all the shops on the plaza.

“For years I’ve been looking at what the markets in Denver do in the winter, which is find a location to house their vendors inside, like in a warehouse,” said Angela Mueller of the Vail Farmers Market and Art Show. “We don’t have a lot of large spaces to do something like that, and then this space became available. It’s a scaled-down Farmers Market concept, but indoors during the winter.”

The indoor market will feature artists curated for their unique and handcrafted wares from around the region. Expect to find products from 160 vendors ranging from art and photography, housewares, children’s books, clothing, dolls and baby blankets, to handbags, jewelry, accessories, specialty foods and more.

Items ranging from art and photography, housewares, children’s books, clothing, dolls and baby blankets, to handbags, jewelry, accessories and more can be found at The Landing Mercantile. (Tricia Swenson

“I think the vendors are a little nervous about the future with the pandemic, so to have someplace like this to show off and sell their products throughout more months of the year, they’re very excited about it,” Mueller said.

Bringing products from the Vail Farmers Market and Art Show to Beaver Creek provides an opportunity to reach a new audience.

Artist Jason Schneider does amazing things with cardboard as a medium.

“A lot of second home owners are staying longer and even those who are here for a shorter vacation may not be skiing as much. Shopping can help fill their days and nights,” Mueller said.

With the holidays upon us, consider shopping small to support these local artisans. If you don’t feel like coming into the store, all items are being featured on the website with delivery and shipping available.

“By shopping with us you support the people who live and create these unique items in Colorado. These items are made with quality and priced competitively,” Mueller said.

Stock up on specialty foods for yourself or buy them as gifts.

The store will also provide coffee and grab-and-go items along with take-home food and wine and beer for guests to purchase while they stroll through the village. Beaver Creek has a new Common Consumption Area throughout the village, designated as a legal place to drink alcohol if you are 21 or older.

Expect The Landing Mercantile to be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. once the season ramps up a bit more. For more information, to shop products and order delivery visit landingmercantile.com.


The slopes are open at both Vail and Beaver Creek with new reservation systems in place for lift access and on-mountain dining

Beaver Creek Open for the Season

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, reservations are required at on-mountain restaurants like Spruce Saddle in Beaver Creek. A temporary structure has been put in place to help skiers and riders dine during the pandemic.

Skiing has returned to Eagle County with Vail opening its lifts last Friday and Beaver Creek dropping the ropes on Wednesday. Beaver Creek welcomed skiers and riders with more than 130 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain accessible via Centennial Express Lift (No. 6) , Haymeadow Express Gondola (No. 1) and Bachelor Gulch Express Lift (No. 16).

Vail Resorts has been preparing for this season since the pandemic closed the resorts on March 14 and say the goal is to stay open all winter.

To stay open, Vail Resorts has implemented some changes in operations to keep guests and employees safe. The biggest changes you’ll notice are the need for an Epic Pass, reservations to get on the slopes, reservations for restaurants and parking. To help keep it all straight, Beaver Creek has put together a checklist:

Do you have your Epic Pass?

With exclusive access to the early season and the ability to reserve core season dates before lift tickets go on sale, as well as Epic Mountain Rewards, this is the year to have an Epic Pass. Vail Resorts will stop selling passes on Dec. 6.

Have you made a reservation?

Reservations can be made week-of on EpicPass.com, and pass holders have exclusive access to booking priority reservation days for the core season before lift tickets go on sale.

Do you have your mask?

Bring your face covering! They’re required throughout every aspect of the ski and ride experience, including when loading, riding, and unloading lifts. Face coverings are now required in all public indoor and outdoor spaces in Vail and Beaver Creek.

Have you booked your Time to Dine reservation?

Many quick service restaurants require advance planning this year. Guests can book their Time to Dine through the EpicMix app. This is important: Even if you aren’t planning on purchasing food or drinks, you’ll need to book your time to warm-up as capacity will be limited. Dining facilities will be configured differently, so please check out the Winter Experience page to get the latest information. Guests can log on to book at 7 a.m. for their ski day.

Did you plan your parking?

At Beaver Creek, village transportation will continue to shuttle guests between base areas and parking lots but will operate with limited capacity. The resorts asks that you please be patient and respectful of the policies and procedures in place and ensure you’re standing 6-feet away from others while in the queue. Additional transportation info will be available soon on beavercreek.com and EpicMix.

Beaver Creek Village App

Signature events like the Beaver Creek Tree Lighting, Thursday Night Lights and Cookie Time won’t be held this year, but Beaver Creek plans on hosting events in a new way due to the pandemic.

To keep track of all things Beaver Creek, and with the pandemic things may change often, stay connected with the new Beaver Creek Village app. Learn about events, activities, shopping, dining, and maps. There’s even a special section for those new to Beaver Creek.

Vail Resorts has updated EpicMix to include even more information about your ski day during these interesting times. Check the snow totals, use the interactive trail maps and book your dining experience all through the new EpicMix app. Many things like the annual Beaver Creek Tree Lighting Ceremony and Cookie Time, Thursday Night Lights and other iconic events won’t be happening this season, but there are a few innovative events and activities yet to be announced that you won’t want to miss and the app will be your best source for information.

New Shops in BC

The Landing Mercantile is a new store in Beaver Creek that features wares and handcrafted items from vendors from the Vail Farmers Market and Art Show.

Shopping has always been a big part of Beaver Village. Your favorites like Karin’s, BC Gear and Generation BC are still there along with Avalon, Siempre Viva, Gorsuch and many galleries throughout the village. You’ll be happy to hear that Rimini Cafe has your gelato, coffee drinks, and bites to eat, but it has expanded to offer guests more room this winter.

Speaking of coffee, there’s a new coffee shop in town. The Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company, based out of Minturn, has set up shop in the old Starbucks location. Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea Company will have European-style coffee drinks and sweet and savory pastries and other snacks baked on-site. Look for hot alcoholic drinks being served once they get their liquor license in a few weeks.

The Landing Mercantile is another new addition to Beaver Creek. Imagine a Vail Farmers Market and Art Show practically under one roof. That is what you will find at this beautiful location that overlooks the Beaver Creek Ice Rink. The store will feature regional artists curated for their unique and handmade wares. The store will also provide take-home food and wine and beer for guests to purchase for wondering around Beaver Creek Village.

Beaver Creek Wonder

Beaver Creek Wonder is a new artistic playground of photo-friendly, over-sized sculptures that are placed throughout the plaza.

Beaver Creek has some surprises for you the next time you visit the village. Beaver Creek Wonder is not a pandemic project, but rather something that has been in the making for over three years and it’s coming to fruition this season, which is fitting since many attractions need to be outdoors due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Beaver Creek is calling this an artistic playground of photo-friendly, over-sized sculptures that are placed throughout the plaza. Wynn Buzzell, a collaborative partner with Demiurge, has been working on the new Frost Flowers exhibit. “We’ve been trying to draw parallels between all the beauty that you see in the high country and the natural phenomenon of ice forms and snowflakes and combine that with the biology of flowers. We are creating an experience that we think will transform that part of the village,” Buzzell said. Each element is designed to draw families in, and provide a photo-worthy backdrop worth capturing and sharing. Get the cameras ready for when you head into the village. Here’s what the new creations will be called:

  • CHIPS: Dreamy childhood memories come alive at CHIPS: the remodeled ice cream truck that’s been turned into a cookie truck.
  • Frost Flowers: Ever in bloom, Frost Flowers and their petals illuminate the village each night
  • Snowed In: Experience the magic of a Colorado winter day inside this life-size snow globe.
  • Reflections: Discover a new perspective with a peek into the ski mirrors.
  • Ice Bikes: Enjoy classic summer fun on the rink as you pedal an ice bike, no skates necessary.
  • Super G: View Beaver Creek through vibrant, larger-than-life goggles.

Beaver Creek’s 40th Anniversary

Congratulations to Beaver Creek on the resort’s 40th anniversary this season. The resort opened on December 15, 1980 with 425 acres and 28 runs. Today, Beaver Creek boasts 1,832 acres, 150 trails and 23 lifts.

I remember my first trip to Beaver creek during the 1991-92 ski season. There were no escalators, heated sidewalks or free chocolate chip cookies handed out at 3 p.m., but Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Goofy were roaming around the village and Frank Doll would do fireside chats about those who settled the Eagle River Valley. Bachelor Gulch was not developed yet and the Vilar Performing Arts Center was just a thought, but I do remember the Coyote Cafe, the Beav’s original bar and restaurant, as the watering hole for locals and guests alike. And, rear-entry boots and neon were all the rage.

Vail Daily reporter Tricia Swenson, left, first traveled to Beaver Creek in 1992 when rear-entry ski boots and neon jackets were in style. Beaver Creek celebrates its 40th season this winter.

What a difference a few decades makes. Bachelor Gulch now completes the Village-to-Village experience, which was a concept Vail Resorts borrowed from European ski areas.

Beaver Creek had a temporary lodge when it first opened up, and now it houses hotels, condos, fractional ownership opportunities and single-family homes. Families have grown up here and now bring their kids to the world-class Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School, which boasts a gondola serving the beginner area and progressive terrain to aid in learning.

Beaver Creek has played host to U.S. presidents like Gerald R. Ford and other world leaders during the AEI World Forum and some of the most talented performers have graced the stage at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, which opened its doors in February of 1998. Some of the fastest ski racers in the world have wowed the crowd with their speed and skill at the FIS World Cup races and FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Beaver Creek also played host to the USA Pro Challenge cycling event, which brought the world’s fastest cyclists to the roads of Beaver Creek.

Due to COVID-19, big celebrations won’t mark Beaver Creek’s fourth decade, but take a moment to think about your journey through Beaver Creek’s history and how this little gem in the Rockies impacts your love of the mountains.


Vail Mountain Coffee and tea opens new Beaver Creek location

Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company has a 7,150-square-foot facility along with a cafe in Minturn. Its new location is housed in the old Starbucks in Beaver Creek Village near the Beaver Creek lift ticket office and Coyote Cafe. (Special to the Daily)

If you’re looking for a cup of Joe on your way to the lifts at Beaver Creek, stop by Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company’s new shop in the village. The old Starbucks location now houses the local coffee roaster, which is based out of Minturn.

Founders Chris Chantler and Craig Arseneau started Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company in 1989 with the Daily Grind on Bridge Street. They built up a successful wholesale business and now have a 7,150-square-foot facility in Minturn. They added a cafe a couple of years ago to that location.

“Our goal with the cafe in Minturn was to create an authentic coffee experience inviting our customers inside our roastery and sharing our story and passion for coffee and tea,” Chantler said. “The cafe caught the eye of Vail Resorts as a potential coffee partner at Beaver Creek. I think Beaver Creek is trying build on the guest experience by offering a unique local coffee concept.”

The teams at Arrigoni Woods and European Wood Concepts offered their design experience to create the new look and feel of the Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea Company in Beaver Creek Village. (Special to the Daily)

Things moved fast, even during a pandemic, and Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company and Vail Resorts inked the deal in mid-September and the remodel started on Oct. 2. They opened for business on Nov. 13.

“A rather stressful six weeks for sure,” Chantler said. “We are so grateful to the team at Arrigoni Woods and European Wood Concepts for their design experience and the professional way they executed the remodel. Timing is everything and we are very excited to join the Beaver Creek community.”

At the new location, look for drinks that are more European in style.

“Craig and I have always wanted to showcase the coffee in our espresso drinks and not mask the flavor with various sweet flavorings and copious volumes of steamed milk,” Chantler said.

The cappuccinos will be more of European size made with a double shot and just 5 ounces of velvety milk foam layered on top. The Cortado and Flat White drinks on the menu will be served with the same philosophy. Mochas and traditional lattes will be offered in traditional sizes with the opportunity to flavor with both regular syrups and sugar free options.

For tea lovers, the shop sells 55 different loose leaf teas at the Minturn location. In Beaver Creek, they have edited the list to 12 of their top selling teas. Pair any of these drinks with fresh sweet and savory items baked on-site for breakfast, lunch and grab-and-go snacks throughout the day.

Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company will serve European-style coffees and various flavors of teas along with fresh-baked sweet and savory items. Look for hot craft cocktails coming in December. (Special to the Daily)

In addition to coffee in the morning, Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company is planning on serving hot drinks with alcohol once they receive their liquor license in a few weeks. Chantler says they also plan to offer a weekly cocktail on tap, micro beers and wine. The hot craft cocktails will feature spirits from local distilleries paired with their coffee, teas and Ghirardelli hot chocolate. Some of the creative cocktails include:

  • The Ullr Hot Chocolate — Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate with Ullr Peppermint Cinnamon Schnapps — guaranteed to create a few snow angles at après ski
  • The Grind Irish Coffee — Rock & Rye whisky, Irish cream, coffee with a hint of vanilla
  • Rock n’ Chai — Rye whiskey, Kummel steamed with Sherpa Chai
  • London Calling — Earl Grey tea with Fernet, dry Curcao honey syrup and oat milk.

The new Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company in Beaver Creek plans to be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. this winter. For more information, visit vailcoffee.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.