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Edwards Riverwalk hotel signs skier Tess Johnson as its ‘Resident Olympian’

EDWARDS — The Inn at Riverwalk  and local Olympian and World Cup Moguls medalist Tess Johnson have announced that Johnson has been named the “Resident Olympian” for the hotel.

Johnson grew up in the Vail Valley and began skiing moguls when her mother, Carol, signed her up for the Bumps and Jumps class at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail in 2009.

“I thought it would be a lot of jumping in the park and that is what she loved to do at the time,” Carol said. “When I picked her up she told me she skied moguls all day and I said ‘Oh no, I’m sorry, did I sign you up for the wrong class?’ And she said ‘No! I loved it, mom, keep me in this program please.’  It’s been an honor and a privilege to be on this journey with her.”

At age 14, Johnson was the youngest competitor ever to be named to the United States Freestyle team. Now 18, Johnson recently completed her fourth season on the World Cup freestyle tour and was a participant in the 2018 Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, Korea. Her skiing accomplishments include:

  • 5th Place World Cup Overall, (2018-2019).
  • 3rd Place – World Championships Dual Moguls, Deer Valley, Utah (February 2019).
  • 1st Place – World Cup Duals Moguls, Tazawako, Japan (March 2018).
  • 1st Place – US National Championships Dual Moguls, Waterville, New Hampshire (March 2018).
  • 12th Place – Winter Olympic Games, Pyeongchang, South Korea (February 2018).
  • 3rd Place – US National Championships Dual Moguls, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, (March 2017).
  • 2nd place – Junior World Championships, Are, Sweden (April 2016).

Johnson graduated in 2018 from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy.  While at the school, she competed for and was captain of the girls’ soccer team at Vail Mountain School, which won two Colorado state championships. 

“More important than all of that is that Tess is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet” Inn at Riverwalk General Manager Matt Tabor said. “When we first met with Tess, we were so impressed with how thoughtful, gracious and grateful she is. We were immediately sold that she would be a great representative for the inn as our Resident Olympian.”

In her role as Resident Olympian, Johnson will be involved in a number of promotional efforts, including appearances (such as on-site Q&A sessions, or “hike with Tess” events). She will also be a regular blog contributor. The inn also will keep their guests informed as to Johnson’s latest activities and accomplishments.

“I am so impressed by the Inn and their staff,” Johnson said. The entire property was recently renovated and it’s so nice. I really like that they provide ‘loaner’ bikes and snowshoes for their guests and provide ski transportation to Beaver Creek. It’s the perfect place for your relatives and friends when they’re in town.”

Johnson is the fifth ranked women’s moguls skier in the world. Go to her website:  www.tessmogulskiing.com and follow her on Facebook or Instagram.  

Town of Vail seeks to sell commercial property in Vail Village

VAIL — The Vail Town Council has instructed staff to retain the services of a commercial real estate seller’s broker to assist in selling a town-owned commercial space, located at 100 East Meadow Drive in the Vail Village Inn, Phase V building. The 3,700 square foot unit was acquired by the town as part of a mitigation obligation when the Phase V building was constructed nearly 30 years ago.

NAI Mountain Commercial has been selected to assist in the sale of the commercial property. The property is being listed for sale at $1.6 million.

Over the years, the lower level space has been home to the Colorado Ski Museum, Plum TV, Vail Valley Partnership, the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and other temporary office uses. Most recently, the town leased the space to SoulCycle for a Vail pop-up event during the 2018-2019 holiday season. 

Prior to deciding to sell the commercial property, the council reviewed utilization of the space, evaluated the ongoing cost of ownership of the property and contracted for a commercial real estate property appraisal to be completed to determine an estimated fair market value. In the end, the council determined the space would likely see increased utilization and greater overall community benefits if sold to a private owner.

The space has been largely underutilized during the town’s ownership of the property, and, if sold, would result in increased property and sales tax collections for the town. In retaining a commercial real estate broker to represent the town’s interest, the broker has been instructed to ensure the future use of the property remains commercial in nature, and that the net proceeds from the sale are to be used to achieve the town’s housing goal. 

For more information, call Steve Sendor or Erich Schmidt at NAI Mountain Commercial, 970-476-6415

Four Seasons Resort Vail launches two-year renovation project

VAIL — A decade can be a long time in the luxury lodging business. That’s why Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail is getting an extensive upgrade.

Changes include a re-do of Flame restaurant and The Remedy Bar, as well as upgrades to the hotel’s 122 guest rooms and suites, as well as the lobby, corridors and meeting spaces.

The work will take this year and much of 2020. The hotel will remain open during the work.

Perhaps the biggest change is in the residences. Extell Development Co. in 2018 received town of Vail approval to change a number of the hotel’s fractional-fee condos to full-ownership units.

Six of the original 19 fractional units will be retained in the fractional pool. The remaining 12 units will be turned into 12 residences, eight new hotel rooms and 18 lock-off units.

Of the new condo units, one was finished in 2018. Only eight are still available for sale. Three of those units are sold “as you see them,” meaning they still have the fittings and furnishings that came with the fractional-fee units. The remaining five will be done with designer renovations.

Prices range from $4.5 million to $16.9 million.

Custom touches for owners

Dana Dennis Gumber, of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, is the listing broker for the new units. Gumber said the current fractional units all have the same fittings and furnishings. Buyers of the whole-ownership units will be able to add their own touches.

Owners of the whole-ownership units will also be able to put their units into the Four Seasons’ international rental program.

That’s a lot of outreach to potential renters, Gumber said.

Extell Vice President of Development Kurt Krieg said the sales of the new residences will help finance the rest of the changes at the property.

Those changes are going to be extensive, Krieg said, fitting with the Four Seasons brand.

Upgrades to restaurants

AvroKo, a design company with offices in New York, San Francisco, London and Bangkok, has worked at Union Station in Denver. That firm will do the work on the Flame and The Remedy Bar restaurants.

At The Remedy Bar, a kitchen will be installed at the bar level. Food currently comes from the Flame kitchen, two floors below the bar.

Renovations at Flame will include a new menu, as well as chefs tables and a closed, private room. Flame will also enclose some current outdoor space.

Krieg said the $40 million project will also include work to the hotel’s conference and banquet facilities. That work will include new colors and finishes in the meeting rooms.

The idea, Kreig said, is to get the work done with minimal disruptions to guests, employees and the rest of the town. And, he added, the improvements will “meet or exceed” the Four Seasons’ promises to those same groups.

“We’re excited and proud of this project,” Krieg said. “It’s been a well-received project.”

Vail Daily business editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.

Vail Valley hotels take five of top 10 spots on list of best hotels in Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY — The Vail Valley is already a well-established brand. But a recent list of the top hotels in the state may put a little more shine on that marketing halo.

A recent survey by U.S. News & World Report rated the state’s top hotels, and five Vail Valley hotels landed spots in the top 10.

The Sebastian in Vail was the top-rated local hotel, landing in the third spot on the list. The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail came in at No. 4, with the Sonnenalp at No. 6, The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch at No. 8  and the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa at No. 9.

The top rated hotel on the list was The Little Nell in Aspen, followed by The Broadmoor at No. 2.

Ivie Parker, of the sales and marketing team for The Sebastian, said people at the hotel are thrilled.

“It’s always an honor” to land on a best-of list, Parker said. “It puts us among some really great company.”

Landing on lists like this one can be a validation that people at a hotel are treating guests well and providing a great experience.

“It helps give it a little more credibility than if we say it ourselves,” Parker said.

Boosting brand awareness

That recognition can be important for an independent hotel, Parker said. Landing on a top 10 list can boost brand awareness for lodges that don’t have the cachet that international brands carry.

At the nearby Sonnenalp hotel, sales and marketing director Esmarie Faessler said holding a prominent place on a well-known best-of list can help beyond marketing to individuals.

The hotel will put its spot on the U.S. News & World Report list on its website and social media channels. But the sales team will also use the ranking when pitching the Sonnenalp to groups.

And, while the Vail brand is already strong, Faessler said having so many hotels on a best-of list could pique the interest of someone considering where to spend a winter or summer vacation.

“For someone who typically visits Aspen (the list) shows them there are places in Vail that are great,” Faessler said.

Good for everybody

In addition to its role as the regional chamber of commerce, the Vail Valley Partnership also works on group sales and other reservations to the valley. Partnership CEO Chris Romer agreed that being on a top 10-hotels list can be a boon for an independent lodge.

“The people who are loyal to brands are going to be loyal to those brands,” Romer said. “If you have points (with a major hotel brand), you’re going to stay there.” But Romer added, people who aren’t brand-loyal may use best-of lists to aid their decisions.

At the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, sales and marketing director Vince Vito said that even a hotel with a recognized brand can benefit from appearing on a best-of list.

“Recognition from independent sources … any kind of unsolicited feedback, adds credibility,” Vito said.

And, he added, that appearing on a top-hotels list might also help push the Vail Valley as a summer brand.

Having one area dominate a top 10 list can be good for the rest of that destination, too.

“It’s a big deal for the community,” Romer said. “It raises the tide for everybody.”

Romer noted there’s a kind of peer pressure element to best-of lists, with other properties looking to try to keep up.

“People will say: ‘We need to increase our levels,’” Romer said.

At the Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, marketing manager Stefanie Shirley said being on a top hotels list can reinforce buying decisions.

“It shows our guest they’re picking a great place,” she said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.

A Grand Event: Four hotels that work well for large groups

There’s truly no shortage of venues in which to say, “I do,” hold a corporate retreat or weekend of strategic planning. From intimate guest rooms to banquet rooms with jaw-dropping views of the mountain beyond, a staff of professionals to keep the day moving along, the challenge is deciding what hotel or lodge best fits your needs and vision.

The Inn at Riverwalk in Edwards just completed a full-scale remodel of the common areas and all guest rooms — complete with plush feather-bed mattress toppers and black-out curtains so guests can sleep in. The “mountain modern” feel works in the urban-esque area of Edwards. It’s ideally located mid-valley, 15 minutes from Vail and from the Eagle County Regional Airport. Insider tip: The hotel’s Gear Garage offers complimentary bikes and snow shoes — after all, all work and no play is a sin here in Eagle County.

Head east and check in to the Vail Racquet Club, where they hold only one wedding per weekend, ensuring special moments for the newly betrothed… and their friends and family. The 20-acre property surrounded in aspens and pines gives guests plenty of space to roam and the condo options (suites, 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms) work for most every size group. The banquet space can hold up to 130 people, with the accompanying Royal Elk Terrace a draw for its uninterrupted mountain views and serene feel. And the owners of Westside Café in West Vail have just signed a lease to open up a restaurant in the hotel. Vail Racquet Club feels more like a neighborhood than a hotel — and the price point gives wallets a bit of a break.

Hotel Talisa, just west of Lionshead, promises luxury with its recently completed $65-million renovation. The hotel has almost 300 guest rooms and offers more than 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. Other amenities include ski-in/ski-out access, nearby hiking and biking trails, fly fishing, dreamy outdoor pool and full-service spa and on-site restaurants.

Right in the heart of Vail Village sits Vail’s Mountain Haus. Accommodations range from a single hotel room to four-bedroom condominium. The hotel is pleased to offer free continental breakfast, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, outdoor heated pool, steam showers, an updated fitness facility … and even free movies. Vail’s Mountain Haus is on the town’s free bus system, so there’s no need to worry about driving.