| VailDaily.com

Restaurant deals, concert deals, gear deals and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 10/4/19

Underground Sound Concert Series

It’s deal season this time of year and the discounts aren’t just reserved for restaurants, spa treatments and hotel stays. Add concerts at the Vilar Performing Arts Center to that list of off-season specials.

The Underground Sound Concert Series returns to Beaver Creek this weekend and lasts until Nov. 11. This annual fall event has been dubbed “love for the locals” and is a way for the Vilar Performing Arts Center to provide some great acts at an affordable price this time of year.

For 10 years, the Vilar has been hosting a variety of musical genres ranging from bluegrass to funk, blues, indie folk rock, soul and country. Past performers have included Brandi Carlile, Jerry Douglas, Elephant Revival, Lukas Nelson, Gregory Alan Isakov and Chris Thile.

Concert tickets are affordably priced between $28 and $38 for individual shows, but the real deal is in the Underground Sound Pass. For $125 you get seven shows, a drink at each show and it’s transferable, so you can share it with co-workers, friends or neighbors. Maybe trade out baby-sitting with your neighbors and enjoy a few shows this autumn.

Dates of the concerts range from weekends to weeknights so you can enjoy a concert experience as a date night to celebrate the end of the week or take a break from the daily grind and squeeze in a show during the workweek.

Discover new music this weekend. Ranky Tanky will kick off the season on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Ranky Tanky hails out of Charleston, SC and is known for its jazz, funk, gospel and R&B sounds. For information on all of the artists, the Underground Sound Pass or individual tickets, go to www.vilarpac.org.

Vail Beaver Creek Restaurant Week

Vail Beaver Creek Restaurant Week continues through Sunday. Take advantage of the $20.19 specials at over 40 restaurants in Vail and Beaver Creek along with deals on hotels and spa treatments.

Last week, I had an opportunity to try the four-course meal at Tavern on the Square at the Arrabelle. It was a delicious deal that started out with an Italian white bean soup, followed by a baked burrata with Pomodoro sauce. For the third course, I got to choose my entrée. It was hard to pick between seafood cacciatore, lamb T-bone or beef bourguignon, so the chef let me try all three. For dessert, I saved room for autumn spice churros and the sugary spice and texture were a great way to complete the meal.

The menu changes nightly, so see what they are cooking up at the Tavern. The chefs have been having a lot of fun trying out new dishes and some of them may remain on the menu for the winter.

I also stopped into La Nonna Ristorante, which is offering its house-made pasta dishes for $20.19. Chef-owner Simone Reatti and his staff have been busy cranking out the same wonderful menu at discount prices as a thank you to the locals and visitors who have supported them since they opened La Nonna last winter.

I tried a few dishes on the menu, including spaghettini crostacei, ravioli tre funghi, and malfatti di ricotta. They’re so tasty, you may want to order two.

I can’t eat at all the restaurants during Vail Beaver Creek Restaurant Week, so I enlisted the help of Casey Russell, our arts and entertainment editor at the Vail Daily. Casey dined at Gessner at the new Grand Hyatt Vail (formerly Hotel Talisa) and tried sourdough toast with charred peppers, local honeycomb and local goat cheese-which used milk taken in both the morning and the afternoon for two different flavor profiles.

Casey loved the vegan butternut squash soup and the tomato and foraged mushroom tagliatelle with basil cream sauce, which in the winter, becomes a truffle sauce.

For an indulgent dessert, Casey said to try the peaches and cream cake with pistachio crust and mousse at Gessner. Its sweet flavor and light texture pairs well with fresh Palisade peaches and meringue kisses that decorate the slice.

Wherever you decide to dine, call for reservations in advance. These deals are very popular and you don’t want to be turned away if the restaurants can’t fit you in. For a full list of specials, go to www.diningwithaltitude.com.

Gear sales and swaps

Did you lose your gloves last year? Are you due for a new snowboard? Have your kids outgrown their snow pants? If you answered affirmatively to any of those questions now is the time to buy while area sports stores are having gear sales and swaps. Here are a few going on this weekend:

Sun & Ski Sports

Get the best deals of the year during the 3rd annual First Tracks Ski and Snowboard Blowout Sale. Ski and snowboard equipment and apparel will be discounted up to 50% off throughout the store through this Sunday. Make sure you ask them about how you can win a pair of Liberty Skis this weekend, too.

The junior ski and snowboard seasonal lease program is going on as well. You can lease skis, boots and poles or a snowboard, bindings and boots for $99. That price goes up to $119 after Nov. 29. Visit www.sunandski.com/avon-co for more information.

Charter Sports

The Empty the Warehouse Sale will be held at Charter Sports at the Christie Lodge location in Avon. They will be selling a lot of gear and that additional merchandise will spill out of the store and into the parking lot of the Christie Lodge, so be prepared to shop around to find everything you need.

Discounts start at 50% off on winter gear, outerwear and accessories. The discounts will increase as the weekend goes on, but keep in mind that sizes and brands and models of gear may be picked over. The event kicks off on Friday and runs through Sunday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Alpine Quest Sports

Thinking about getting into a new sport or upgrading your equipment? Now is the time to buy and sell new and used AT, Tele and Splitboard skis, boots and bindings. 

The Alpine Touring, Telemark and Splitboard Swap is this weekend at Alpine Quest Sports in Edwards. Drop off gear on Friday before 6 p.m. Sell your gear and get 100% of the selling price in store credit or 70% of the selling price in cash.

The annual sale and swap runs until Sunday. Call 970-926-3867 for more details or stop by their store in Edwards.

Oktoberfest in Gypsum

If you are considering buying a dirndl or lederhosen, I am going to encourage you to do so because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to wear the traditional grab. In Eagle County, we have had five, count ‘em, five Oktoberfest celebrations in the last six weeks (and that is not even counting the Oktoberfest celebrations in other mountain towns or in Denver). Things move down valley to Gypsum for this weekend’s Oktoberfest.

The Gypsum Chamber of Commerce, the town of Gypsum and a host of other sponsors are bringing out the traditional Bavarian costumes, games, brats and pastries. There is even a Bonfire Brewing beer named especially for the event: Gyptoberfest.

The Lundgren Theater will play host to the festival, which is free and open to the public on Saturday from 1-5 p.m. There will be music by A Band Called Alexis. Free pumpkins will be available in the pumpkin patch. For more information, visit www.gypsumchamber.com.

If you want to bring a taste of Oktoberfest home with you, stop by West Vail Liquor Mart and take advantage of some seasonal brew sampling. West Vail Liquor Mart will have oompah music, tons of giveaways and plenty of Oktoberfest beers to try on Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. German-style pretzels with beer cheese and mustard options will also be served. Learn more at www.westvail.com.

Fire Department Open House

In honor of National Fire Prevention Week, Vail Fire and Emergency Services is inviting the community to visit the West Vail Station for an open house on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The West Vail Fire House has become quite the attraction for kids. During the open house, kids can view the fire engines and the station up close. There will also be a kid’s obstacle course. Free hot dogs and chips will be served as well.

In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, activities will center around fire safety information on smoke alarms, exit drills and carbon monoxide alarms presented by the Fire Prevention Division.

National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6 through 12 and this year’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape – Plan and Practice Your Escape.” This campaign encourages everyone to create a home escape plan and not only come up with the plan but also practice it.

Between the open house at the West Vail Fire Station and school visits, representatives from Vail Fire will educate students on the importance of drawing a map of their home and practicing fire drills with family members. During the sessions, firefighters will be teaching children about closing doors to slow the spread of smoke, flames and heat. Students will also learn about staying outside of a building and not going back inside to retrieve belongings.

Turn your donations into dollars

At Vail Valley Cares your donations equal dollars for area nonprofits. Anytime you shop or donate at the Vail Valley Cares Thrifty Shops the money goes back into the community to support well-needed programs. This year, Vail Valley Cares granted over $300,000 to 44 local nonprofits at the 19th annual grant breakfast on Aug. 28.

The event was hosted at Trinity Church in Edwards. Greg Osteen, executive director of Vail Valley Cares and Jeff Apps, one of the board members, handed out the checks and each recipient got to come up and say a heartfelt thank you and tell the audience how the money will be utilized. During the program, there were plenty of smiles, cheers and even some tears.

Many of the representatives for the nonprofits spoke about how humbled they were to be in a room filled with people doing so much good. It’s a reminder of how many nonprofits are in the Vail Valley and that there are so many needs. “Your existence does make a difference. You are the backbone of Eagle County,” said Pat Hamilton, of the Swift Eagle Foundation.

The Vail Valley Cares Thrifty Shops in Edwards and Eagle were closed for part of the day so the staff could attend and be recognized for their efforts. The audience gave them a standing ovation for their service to the community.

Vail Valley Cares has a grant application process each spring. The services the nonprofits provide range from literacy programs and senior citizens care to early childhood learning and mental health services. For many of these groups, the extra funding they receive from Vail Valley Cares is vital to their operations.

In addition to the grants given to nonprofits, Vail Valley Cares also gives scholarships to Colorado Mountain College students. Since 2000, Vail Valley Cares has given away over $4 million dollars.

Consider the lifecycle of your donations and support Vail Valley Cares. To learn more visit www.vailvalleycares.com.

Pro bike racing, live music, trail runs at 10k feet and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 8/23/19

Colorado Classic bike race in Avon

Professional bike racing returns to Colorado and this time it’s the ladies’ turn to take to the streets and steeps throughout a four-city tour that includes Avon this Friday. The Colorado Classic presented by VF Corporation will be the only UCI standalone women’s stage race in North America; raising the bar with quadrupled prize purse, team stipends, live streaming and longer, more challenging routes.

Avon represents Stage Two of the Colorado Classic and the women will complete seven laps that are five miles in length around the town of Avon before the final lap, which is 15 miles long and will take riders up and down some of the steepest roadways in Eagle County: Strawberry Park Road and Daybreak Ridge Road.

To add an extra element of suspense, there will be a Bonus Cash Lap where you can donate money and half of the donation will go to the winning rider and the other half will go to a different charity during each stage. The charity for the Avon stage is the locally-based Youth Initiative Project, created by local professional skier Chris Anthony. Anthony’s goal is to have the Avon Stage be the biggest moneymaker of all the Bonus Cash Laps held at the other stages. Stage One was held on Thursday in Steamboat Springs, Stage Three takes place in Golden on Saturday and Stage Four will be in Denver on Sunday. To donate, go to www.accelevents.com/e/avon.

Here are some tips on where to watch:

Start/Finish Line at Lake Street Nottingham Park:

Enjoy the Bike and Lifestyle Expo area in Nottingham Park while cheering on riders during the first seven laps from the start/finish line on Lake Street.

Main Street Mall and Benchmark Road: 

Catch the racers as they sprint through seven laps and, on the final lap, fight to the finish line. You can also pick up official Colorado Classic merchandise by Primal.

Village Road:

Line the sidewalk and make some noise for the final lap as the peloton begins their uphill battle towards Bachelor Gulch, they’ll fly by again on their descent as they race toward the finish line. 

Daybreak Ridge Road at Village to Village Trail:

Encourage racers as they battle it out for Queen of the Mountain while tackling one of Colorado’s most notorious climbs: Daybreak Ridge. This Fan Zone is accessible by foot only and offers a prime opportunity to hike or bike your way to the cheering section on this landmark.

For more details including the schedule of multiple road closures throughout Avon, Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch and how to watch the race if you can’t be there in person, go to www.avon.org/coclassic.

José González at the Vilar

The name may not be familiar – yet – but the music of José González will jog the memory of those who have heard his songs on shows like “The O.C.,” “One Tree Hill,” Parenthood,” and Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” over the past several years. This Argentinian-Swedish singer-songwriter takes the stage for the first time at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Saturday at 8 p.m. Here’s what the Vilar staff is saying about this Saturday’s concert:

“José González has a way of drawing in listeners with his beautiful voice. He’s known for the intimate nature of his performances which is one of the reasons we knew we had to have him on our stage,” said Ruthie Hamrick, marketing manager for the Vilar Performing Arts Center. “His lyrics are truly moving and if you don’t know him yet, he headlines festivals in Europe, so being able to host him for a stop on his U.S. tour is an honor.”

“We’re also happy about the addition of Colorado-based musician Covenhoven who will open the show. He has steadily been making a name for himself and we’re excited to see where his career will take him,” said Kim Hannold, programming director for the Vilar.

“He has been picking up momentum in the U.S. and filling venues across the front range,” added Duncan Horner, executive director of the Vilar. In fact, González’s show at the Denver Botanical Gardens is sold out on Sunday.

Get your tickets for Saturday’s show by visiting www.vilarPAC.org or call the box office at 970-845-8497.

Eagle Music Festival

With the school year upon us, many families will be staying in town this weekend. If you are looking for a fun way to gather and be entertained, then head on over to the Boneyard in Eagle for the Eagle Music Festival: We Are In This Together on Saturday. 

This family-friendly event is a fundraiser benefitting the Eagle River Youth Coalition and the Red Ribbon Project. The Eagle River Youth Coalition’s mission is to continuously and collaboratively improve the lives of youth in the most powerful ways possible. The Red Ribbon Project’s mission is to promote healthier lives by empowering the community to reduce teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other STIs. The two nonprofits teamed up formally in 2017 and they are excited to expand their collaboration efforts.

“We have seen our efforts grow tremendously and believe that together we are better serving the community,” said Mikayla Curtis of the Red Ribbon Project.

“Together we are stronger; we don’t duplicate services and we remain committed to providing high-quality services while being fiscally responsible,” added Heather Hower of the Eagle River Youth Coalition.

The event kicks off at 4 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m. During that time, enjoy a raffle, silent auction and music by First Chair, Mysterious Forces and Wave 2 youth band. The silent auction will have items from Vail Resorts, a one-night stay at The Sebastian Vail, stays at The Antlers, Marriott, along with spa, yoga and restaurant gift certificates. There is also a balloon pop where guests can pay $10 and select a balloon to pop and win a fun prize. And, it wouldn’t be family fun without a bounce house, so prepare to tire the kids out during this time.

“Working together we can now say that we’ve educated 4,568 youth in grades five through twelve during in-school prevention programs. We have increased the number of hours spent with children, helping create a positive, safe place for open conversations on sensitive youth issues,” Hower said.

All of the programs are offered free of charge. “There is only more and more of a need for social-emotional and prevention programs, so here we are, hoping to increase our offerings,” Hower said. 

For more information contact either organization at info@EagleYouth.org or info@redribbonproject.org. The Boneyard was formerly The Dusty Boot restaurant in Eagle Ranch near the movie theater.

Run a 10k at 10,000 feet

If you’ve been trail running all summer long, why not test your mettle and sign up for the Dynafit Vail Trail Running Series 10k at 10,000 Feet? Or, if you aren’t quite ready for a 10k at that altitude, there is a 5k as well. Both races are at 8 a.m. on Saturday on Vail Mountain.

The good news is that you don’t have to run all the way up Vail Mountain, both the 5k and 10k start at the top of Gondola One at Mid Vail, which is around 9,000 feet. Racers for both distances will be taken up to elevations around 11,000 feet above sea level before returning to Mid Vail. To keep minds off the pain the lungs and legs might feel, fantastic views of the Gore Range and Mount of the Holy Cross are all available to those who take their gazes off the trail below for a few moments.

All racers must ride up Gondola One. Ride time is estimated at around 12 minutes, so the Vail Rec District recommends runners load the gondola by 7:30 a.m. to get up to the starting line.

After the race, runners are treated to nutritious, local and tasty fuel from Northside Coffee and Kitchen and a custom-designed t-shirt.

Online pre-registration ends at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23. Day-of registration is available at the base of the gondola from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. Bib pick up and registration is also available at the Lululemon store in Vail Village from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.

This is the sixth race of the Dynafit Vail Trail Running Series and the last race is Meadow Gold 5k and 10k race on Sept. 14. For more information about the race and how spectators can view friends and family, visit www.vailrec.com.

Riverwalk Jazz and Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraiser

Labor Day Weekend marks the big Vail Jazz Party with days of musical acts lined up, but all summer long we’ve received a taste of the musical flavor of jazz with various concerts at venues throughout the Vail Valley and Jazz at Riverwalk has been one of those venues. Friday marks the last concert of the Vail Jazz series. Don’t miss Eef & the Blues Express at 6 p.m. at the outdoor stage along the Eagle River.

Eef & the Blues Express celebrates its 10th year of making music with a Vail Jazz debut. One of Colorado’s premier blues bands, this dynamic five-piece sonic party has seen its popularity increase throughout the U.S. but enjoys particular popularity for its many gigs around the state. They bring a feel-good drive to blues, soul, Motown, New Orleans and a variety of original and cover tunes. Come celebrate Riverwalk’s fifth season of summer parties down by the river at this free show. For more info, go to www.vailjazz.org.

Also at the Riverwalk on Friday, look for the Alzheimer’s Association folks who will be “Painting Riverwalk Purple” for a special fundraiser. Purchase a $25 Purple Value Card in front of Village Market, Riverwalk Theater or Slifer Designs and take advantage of special offers all day and evening from participating Riverwalk merchants. How about 15% off your bill at Main Street Grill, 15% off furnishings at Slifer Designs or 25% off in-stock cycling shorts and short-sleeve cycling tops at The Kind Bikes and Skis? It’s a special sale just for Purple Value Cardholders that day only.

Proceeds from the Purple Value Cards benefit the Vail Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 28th at Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle. To learn more about the walk, visit www.act.alz.org.

Steve Martin, “Tosca”, art shows and more: Tricia’s weekend picks for 7/12/19

Steve Martin and Martin Short at Whistle Pig Vail

Whistle Pig Vail returns this weekend for its second year, and will kick it off with a little comedy and music with Steve Martin and Martin Short.

The show is titled, “Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t,” and comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short will present new material in a variety of musical sketches as only those two can do, along with insights about their amazing careers in show business. Joining the comedic duo will be Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers. The tour also features renowned pianist and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” band member Jeff Babko.

Whistle Pig Vail is a summer-long music series that brings a new era of headliner music to the iconic Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail. Some of the other acts lined up to perform at Whistle Pig Vail include Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Bon Iver and The Steve Miller Band. The series is booked in collaboration with AEG Presents, one of the largest live music companies in the world, and will bring well-known rock, pop, country and bluegrass icons to Vail for shows throughout the summer.

Expect to be fully entertained during this first show of the Whistle Pig Vail series. Tickets are $65 for lawn seating and range from $179.50-$299.50 for reserved seating. Go to www.grfavail.com for more information.

Bravo! Vail presents “Tosca”

The Philadelphia Orchestra is quickly winding down its stay in Vail, but before it goes, it has a big weekend that includes a premier opera production of Puccini’s “Tosca”.

In addition to the opera, which opens on Thursday and also runs on Saturday, Friday’s Bravo! Vail performance will feature the sounds of Mozart and Rachmaninoff. With conductor Yannick Nezet-Sequin conducting and Seong-Jin Cho on piano, listen to Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor” and learn why Cho feels playing the piano is like singing and why he thinks Mozart is a genius. Read the program notes to get special insights on the performers and the pieces that are performed throughout the season.

Saturday night, sit back and be treated to Bravo! Vail’s most ambitious project to date. The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater will be transformed as a fully staged production of Puccini’s “Tosca” debuts in Vail. “Tosca” is a thrilling melodrama set in Rome during the Napoleonic wars. Follow the twists and turns around this fatal love triangle in this must-see event.

There’s been a lot of attention surrounding this event. To get the audiences ready for this performance Bravo! Vail along with the Vail Symposium have hosted various talks including a conductor’s guide and an immersive look at this opera earlier this week. Take advantage of opportunities to meet the director and cast on Friday or attend the pre-performance talk on Saturday. For more information, visit www.bravovail.org.

FAC at Beaver Creek

Friday’s mean FAC (Friday Afternoon Club) and Beaver Creek invites you to wind down after a day of activities at Village Plaza. From 4:30-7:00 each Friday through Aug. 23, sip on an ice cold Stella Artois or Breckenridge Brewery beer, or cheers to the day’s events with a glass of wine with friends and family while enjoying live music.

While you sit back and relax, the kids can keep going with lawn games like giant Jenga, Connect Four and ice skating from 6 to 10 p.m. Local caricaturist Ken Carpenter will be on hand as well if you want a comical portrait created of your family through his eyes.

Jade Vases, a 5-person indie band out of Denver, will be playing tunes under the pergola and will fill the Plaza Pavilion with music to get your weekend started.

For more information and the musical line up for the rest of the summer, check out www.beavercreek.com/events.

Art on the Rockies

For nearly a decade, Art on the Rockies has brought in talented artists for a 3-day event showcasing their craft in Edwards. Art on the Rockies is an opportunity to see new art, talk to artists and attain artwork at all price points.

This juried show brings in artistic styles ranging from sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics, mixed metal, glass, jewelry and more. Over 130 artists from around the country converge near the Colorado Mountain College campus surrounded by a gorgeous backdrop of scenic views around Edwards.

Many of the participating artists also are known from renowned shows such as La Quinta Arts Festival in Palm Springs, CA, and Celebration for the Arts in Scottsdale, AZ.

On Friday, enjoy a little champagne during the opening reception at 4 p.m. On Sunday, the silent auction fundraiser closes at 3 p.m. All proceeds benefit free art programming for local youth.

In addition to meeting the artists and viewing the art, food and beverages will be available for purchase and a kids zone will be set up for aspiring youngsters who want to create some art at the event. For more information, visit www.artontherockies.org.

Eagle’s 2nd Friday ARTwalks and Sidewalk Sale

Speaking of art, Eagle has embraced the second Friday ARTwalks since they began in November, the event is growing to two days this weekend. Eagle’s 2nd Friday ARTwalk and Sidewalk Sale brings in local fine artist’s tents and exhibits, interactive art activities, plein air painters, food vendors, Quiet Kat demo rides, and a chance to meet local alpacas and goats.

There will also be live music at various businesses on Broadway including ARTSPaCE, Bonfire Brewery, Everyday Outfitters, and Petals of Provence.

“July’s ARTwalk will be our ninth consecutive 2nd Friday event. We started with three art gallery venues, including ARTSPaCE workshop+gallery, Vail Valley Art Guild gallery and Red Canyon Cafe,” said Tara Novak, artist and owner of ARTSPaCE workshop+gallery and founder of the event.

“This weekend we will have nine galleries and business venues exhibiting our talented local artists plus an Art Market Zone on Broadway with over a dozen local artists showcasing their work in tents on the street.”

It all starts on Friday at 4 p.m. and continues Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more details, please visit the Facebook page @eagleartscolorado.

Cotton & Co. Street Boutique brings fashions to you

It’s a beautiful thing when your talents and passion can lead you to a job you love. That’s what happened to Kailey Cotton Gorbold, the driving force –literally – behind Cotton & Co. Street Boutique, a mobile clothing store that brings styles to you.

You’ve probably seen the big pink truck parked outside the busy intersection at the Gashouse along Highway 6 in Edwards on Wednesdays or in downtown Eagle Ranch during lunchtime on Fridays. This new business allows Gorbold, who has been an assistant buyer at Base Mountain Sports and assistant manager at Beaver Creek Sports and a Sales Associate at Loro Piana in Vail, a chance to sell clothing while also managing a household with her husband and two small children.

“My husband and I brainstormed my passions and how I could incorporate that into our lives, allowing my time to be flexible with the kids and our lifestyle. He came up with a traveling boutique,” Gorbold said.

First Chair Designs created the bright look for this former linen truck while Gorbold’s husband and in-laws built out the inside of the truck. “My husband’s parents traveled from upstate New York and they all worked all day, every day for a month to get most of it completed. It turned out way better than I ever imagined,” Gorbold said.  

“When we designed it, I wanted it to be loud on the outside and light and airy on the inside. I didn’t want customers to feel like they were walking into a cave,” Gorbold said.

This small store packs in the goods. Gorbold carries about eight different lines of women’s clothing, handbags and jewelry. She’s proud to offer variety at a good price. “Most of us have many hobbies around here, and our dollars are spread thin, so it’s meant to be fun, bright and budget-friendly,” Gorbold said. 

Follow this traveling boutique on Instagram, Facebook or www.cottoncosb.com for a complete and updated schedule of where the truck will be. Cotton & Co. is also available for private parties and events.

Vail Valley commercial property is in pretty short supply

EAGLE COUNTY — We all know Vail is an economic powerhouse. If you need proof, just look at the retail vacancy rate in town: .45 percent.

That’s right, less than .5 percent of Vail’s retail space was vacant in 2018, according to a report from NAI Mountain Commercial. Vacancies are low in the rest of the valley as well: 2.6 percent for Eagle-Vail, Avon, Beaver Creek and Edwards and 2.2 percent for Eagle and Gypsum.

The rate in Denver was 5.2 percent in 2018.

The Vail vacancy rate is also driving rent increases in town. While commercial rent in the rest of the valley is still lower than the peaks seen in 2007, for the past few years rent in Vail has surpassed that high-water mark from the previous decade.

‘No vacancy’

“There’s virtually no vacancy (in Vail),” NAI Mountain Commercial Vice President and managing broker Erich Schmidt said.

In fact, he said, businesses rarely move out of prime spots in Vail. When that happens, someone new often comes in before anyone can hang a “for rent” sign.

Rental rates for prime space in Vail Village can approach $120 per square foot. In Lionshead Village, prime space can be as high as $65 per square foot.

The story is different in the rest of the valley. While vacancy rates are low, there are spaces lingering on the market.

Avon, in particular, has some significant spaces available, including the site of the former Montana’s and Outback restaurants, as well as the space formerly occupied by Office Depot.

Schmidt said those larger spaces will be hard to fill.

“When we get above 2,000 to 2,500 square feet … national retailers aren’t really expanding, and when they are, they’re expanding in metropolitan areas,” Schmidt said.

Smaller spaces are also difficult, due to factors including the changing retail environment, the cost of space and difficulty finding employees.

Vail Valley Partnership CEO Chris Romer said members of the regional chamber of commerce are telling him that they’re mostly standing pat in the spaces they have now.

Leasing’s picking up

But, Schmidt said, his firm has seen an uptick in leasing interest and activity in the past few weeks.

“Leasing always picks up as we go to spring — especially in a strong ski year,” Schmidt said. “We’ve seen a pickup in activity, especially in Traer Creek Plaza (in Avon), both for retail and office space.”

Interest in Edwards continues to be strong, but Schmidt said there isn’t a lot of space available.

The other side of the retail coin is that UPS has expanded its operation in Gypsum, and now holds about 40,000 square feet of warehouse space near the Eagle County Regional Airport.

Other warehouse and commercial space is also being leased or sold in the western part of the valley.

Those businesses are often looking for space with tall garage doors. Some new building is taking place in those areas, but not a lot, Schmidt said.

The relative lack of available space, as well as the high cost of construction, also seems to be driving prices when a commercial property comes up for sale. Schmidt said another driver is businesses relocating from Denver or the Front Range to the Western Slope.

The biggest of those sales in 2018 was the sale of the West Vail Mall. That sale — for $14 million — closed in the fourth quarter of the year. A pair of sales — of the separately-sold A and B buildings of the Northstar Center in Edwards, also topped $14 million. Another sale, of a roughly 500 square foot retail space in the Lodge at Vail, topped $1 million. That’s about $2,000 per square foot. According to data from Land Title Guarantee Co., 2018’s highest price per square foot for residential property was a unit in Solaris that sold for $3,095 per square foot.

The cost to rent, buy or build, combined with an employee shortage, is crimping potential economic growth in the valley, Romer said.

“It’s a perfect storm of challenges in an economy that’s overall doing pretty well,” he said.

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

Vail Health buys two Edwards commercial buildings

EDWARDS — Vail Health spent more than $14 million to buy a pair of commercial buildings where it plans to make some of its vision a reality.

The local hospital bought both buildings that comprise the Northstar Center in Edwards — $8.85 million for one and $5.5 million for the other. In those buildings are several local businesses, including The Pet Spot, Inyodo Martial Arts, Subway, AT&T, Edwards Liquors, Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co. and others.

The plan is to let those businesses’ leases run their course, along with any extensions to which they’re entitled, said Craig Cohn, Vail Health’s director of real estate development.

Since some of those businesses renewed the five-year options in their leases in the last couple of months, meaning it could be nine or 10 years before Vail Health makes any significant changes in the buildings.

“The leases of existing tenants will be honored in full. Our hope over time is to meet the complex health care needs of the people in our community through the investment in this site,” Cohn said.

The first change will see Inyodo Martial Arts move to a new location, said owner “Bobcat” Smith. Smith said he’ll announce the new location soon.

Vail Health was also a renter

Before buying the building, Vail Health was one of the Northstar Center’s tenants, renting the parking lot and storage space.

“For the past few years, we have been a substantial tenant of the Edwards Northstar Center to meet employee parking and storage needs,” Cohn said. “When the property was listed for sale, it was an opportunity to ensure ongoing access.”

Some of the Northstar Center is already vacant, especially after Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. was evicted. That may mean that the hospital can begin offering services before those tenant leases expire, Cohn said.

“A large portion of the north building is vacant, which may allow near-term opportunities for enhanced medical services in the middle of the valley,” Cohn said.

Subway looking to move, too

Carrington Pinner bought the Edwards Subway in January 2017 and extended the lease, but when this lease is done, so is the location’s Subway. Pinner said he hopes to buy space elsewhere.

“We are not up for a renewal after the five-year period,” Pinner said.

The Edwards store generates a half million a year in sales taxes for Eagle County, Pinner said.

The two buildings generate a total of $133,494.08 annual in property taxes, according to the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder office.

Vail Health did the deal through its Eagle Valley Real Estate Holdings.

The hospital is also expanding east and acquired a vacant site in Dillon for a surgery center and urgent care in Summit County.

Tibetan refugee family landed in Vail and launched Blossom custom rug company

VAIL — Samten and Dechen Aungae look around their home, smile about their three beautiful children and recall briefly their childhood as Tibetan refugees.

Now they live in the Vail Valley and own Blossom Rug, where they make custom designed and hand-woven area rugs. Life is good; their children’s lives will be better.

Why Blossom blossoms

Samten and Dechen Aungae opened Blossom in the summer of 2009. Dechen’s family in Nepal has run a rug manufacturing company for 50 years.

Send them artwork, photographs or just about anything and they can make a high quality hand-woven rug from it.

“You can imagine the range of possibilities,” Samten Aungae said.

There’s one that depicts the aerial view of the Bahamas from Reed Design Group. Then there’s Up In the Air, based on a photo that local professional photographer Carla Aparicio took through her airplane window. A German customer threw a glass of water into the air, photographed it and ordered a rug based on that picture. It’s titled “Splash!” There’s “Folding The Sky,” for which a customer took a picture of the sky, folded it tightly and sent it to them to create a rug.

They take whatever the customer wants and send it to Nepal. Before long, a rug returns, hand-woven from silk, wool, cashmere … anything you want, even the occasional metal. Leftover yarn is used to make what they call Eco Rugs. Dechen Aungae’s sister in Nepal is a dye master and can create 1,200 colors.

They can do any rug, any size no matter how big, Samten Aungae said. Depending on the size, four or five people work on one rug, sometimes in two shifts. Music is playing, food and drink keeps coming and the conversation is lively as they work, Dechen Aungae says. It’s a cross between a job and a family reunion.

Because people in Colorado’s resort region, the U.S. and Europe keep buying these rugs, hundreds of people in Nepal have pretty good jobs. Samten and Dechen Aungae’s family facility employs 250 people. Other facilities around Nepal employ similar numbers.

Along with rugs, Blossom carries handmade jewelry, arts and crafts from Nepal, India and Tibet.

“We feel confident working directly with designers,” Samten Aungae said. “That creates direct communication. No middleman. Because we are a direct source, that also keeps our pricing competitive.”

Because they’re a family-owned business they also control the quality of the materials they use, Samten Aungae said.

From refugees to Americans

Samten and Dechen Aungae did not know each other growing up. Their families fled Tibet when the Chinese invaded in 1959, seeking refuge in Nepal. The Red Cross was one of the only agencies in Nepal at the time, and convinced refugee families to weave some rugs to sell to Europeans and Americans.

So they did.

“They lived for six months on the money they made from that rug,” Dechen Aungae said.

They taught some others to weave, and those people taught some others. Now it’s an international industry.

Dechen Aungae proudly says she was the first day care teacher in first child care centers her sister Dolma opened, teaching English.

Samten Aungae’s brother runs an orphanage, Phende Children’s Home in Nepal, home to 47 kids. For $35 a month, you can keep a kid safe, warm, fed and in school.

Buy a rug from them and help save some kids. Samten and Dechen Aungae are active supporters.

Samten and Dechen are the proud parents of three children, aged 11, 8 and 5.

Their 8-year old daughter did a slide presentation for her class’s Around The World Day, and trotted her parents out — sort of like smiling visual aids.

The Vail Mountain School is a far cry from the refugee schools Samten and Dechen Aungae attended for Tibetan refugee children. The goal was to educate kids and preserve Tibetan culture. The schools accomplished both. Along with Tibetan, students learned Hindi, English and Nepali.

Escape from Tibet

“So many sad stories,” Dechen said.

Escape means traversing rugged 17,000-foot mountain passes without the kind of gear they need to survive. Many don’t. When Dechen Aungae’s family escaped, two babies died.

Generally escapees make their run at night so Chinese soldiers won’t see them. The bodies of those who did not survive lie along the trails where they died. These days, improvements in surveillance technology make it easier for the Chinese to capture escapees, even at night.

Samten and Dechen Aungae have roots in Tibet, India, Nepal and the United States.

“Now we’re American citizens,” they said smiling.

They met in New York. Samten was living in Southern California and Dechen in Cape Cod. Dechen’s aunt knew him and told her that he’d be well advised to call her, so he did. They landed in Steamboat Springs together and soon migrated to Vail.

Every Sunday they drive their children to Boulder for Tibetan school, because it’s not only important to know where they are, but also where they’re from … and why so much in their lives is blossoming.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.