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Ski swap, Halloween fun, Loveland opens and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 10/25/19

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Ski Swap

For 50 years, outdoor enthusiasts have looked forward to the annual Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Swap held each fall in Vail. From Oct. 25 to 27, the Dobson Arena is converted into a department store-type of setting with gear like skis, snowboards, boots, poles, helmets, outwear and bindings taking over the entire place.

This is the spot to go if you just moved to town and need equipment in order to participate in outdoor activities this season. It’s also the place to go if your kids have outgrown their jackets and snow pants since last year. If you lost a pair of gloves at the end of the season those can be found here, too. Want to try a new sport? Get geared up at a discount while helping out a good cause.

A percentage of sales from the swap benefit Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, helping the organization fulfill its mission to inspire character growth and excellence in young athletes throughout the Vail community.

New and used gear is up for sale and you never know what you are going to find. There will be helpful and knowledgeable staff and volunteers on hand to answer questions about gear or accessories you are looking for.

Here’s how it works, on Friday there is a $15 admission fee for adults and teenagers from 5 to 7 p.m. Kids 12 and under are free. At 7 p.m. on Friday, the fee drops to $5. Shoppers can also get $5 off admission with a student ID. The venue will close at 10 p.m. The Swap will be open for business from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. There is no entry fee on those days, but keep in mind that the best selection and sizes will be available on Friday. Visit www.vailskiswap.com for more information.

Halloween happenings for kids

Halloween isn’t until next Thursday, but there are many events and activities that will get kids into the spooky spirit this weekend. 

13th annual Halloween lock-in at Gypsum Rec Center

  • Kids get the whole facility for one night and also get a haunted house, costume contest, Halloween movie, swimming, gymnastics and more.
  • Drop off kids by 6 p.m. Friday and pick up by 11:30 p.m. Friday or 8 a.m. on Saturday
  • Kids should bring a sleeping bag, pillow, Halloween costume and swimsuit
  • Boys and girls 5 to 12 years old, tickets are $45
  • www.mountainrec.org

Village Market Pumpkin Fest for Mountain Youth–Riverwalk-Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Trick-or-Treat Street at the various stores, face painting and $5 pumpkins courtesy of Village Market
  • Alpine Arts Center crafts and painting
  • www.mountainyouth.org

Fright at the Museum-Walking Mountains-Saturday 1 to 5 p.m.

  • Pumpkin chuckin’, petting zoo, pop-up corn maze
  • Apple cider demos and tastings, seasonal beer and wines for adults
  • Freaky farm haunted trail, pumpkin patch and carving
  • Learn about compost and freaky food and herbs
  • Snacks will be available
  • Please bring a reusable bottle for water and plan to carpool to the Elk Lot and take the free shuttle to Walking Mountains
  • Tickets are $15 and children 3-years-old and younger are free
  • www.walkingmountains.org

Alpine Arts Center-Halloween arts and crafts

  • Pumpkin carving event on Friday 4 to 7 p.m. Bring a pumpkin and snacks, stencils and tools to carve or paint a pumpkin will be available. The cost is $15 per person and all ages are welcome
  • Drop-in pumpkin carving during Pumpkin Fest on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Cocktails and Canvas guided painting event on Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • www.alpineartscenter.org

Beaver Creek Spooktacular – Sunday 4 to 8:30 p.m.

  • Spooky Stroll around Beaver Creek Village and the woods near the base area of Beaver Creek 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Trick or Treating in Beaver Creek Village, games and more 4 to 7 p.m.
  • “Hocus Pocus” movie showing outdoors in Beaver Creek Village 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • www.beavercreek.com/events

Halloween fun for adults

Kids aren’t the only ones having fun, adults can take part in the Halloween-themed events as well. Here are a few parties going on this weekend:

Maya Day of the Dead – Friday 5 to 10 p.m. 

  • Tickets are $20 in advance and that includes the all-you-can-eat taco bar and one margarita or $25 at the door includes an all-you-can-eat taco bar
  • Costume contest
  • Grateful Dead cover band
  • Pumpkin painting, s’mores station and more
  • Call Maya for tickets: 970-790-5500

Tricks for Treats Parents Night Out–Friday 7 to 9 p.m.

  • Drop the kids off at the Vail Gymnastics Center and go out and enjoy a date night
  • Activities for kids include a haunted house, costume contest, games and movie
  • Pizza will be served to the kids
  • $20 per child, for ages 5 years and older
  • www.vailrec.com

Dramaween- Friday at Route 6 Cafe at 7 p.m. to close

Halloween at the MAC-Mountain Art Collective–Friday from 9 p.m. to close

  • Music by Austin Gavlak and Chris Calderon, visuals by Mtn Man Lasers
  • $10 tickets at the door, $5 drinks, free keg from 9 to 10 p.m.
  • Costume contest
  • Visit Mountain Art Collective’s Facebook page for more info

Minturn Saloon – Saturday 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

  • Live music by Turntable Review
  • A free Coors Light to the first 100 people
  • $20 donation to the Minturn Community Fund
  • Theme: American horror story
  • Costume contest
  • www.minturncommunityfund.org

Opening day at Loveland Ski Area

We now have not one, not two, but three ski areas to choose from in Colorado. Loveland Ski Area announced earlier this week that opening day will be Friday. Other ski areas that are open include Arapahoe Basin, which opened last Friday and Keystone, which opened last Saturday.

The Chet’s Dream lift will start spinning at 9 a.m. on Friday and will offer access to one full top-to-bottom run. The trails Catwalk, Mambo and Home Run make up this run on opening day, which is over a mile in length and nearly 1,000 vertical feet.

“Our snowmaking team has been working around the clock to get the mountain ready and all of their hard work is about to pay off,” said COO Rob Goodell in a press release. “Mother Nature chipped in with almost a foot of snow during this last storm cycle and that was the boost we needed. Winter is officially here and we can’t wait to celebrate the start of another season.”

Loveland Ski Area will be open seven days a week until early May. Operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends and designated holidays. For more information, visit www.skiloveland.com.

Muscles for Mills fundraiser

Crosstraining Fitness of Vail is hosting an autumn fundraiser on Saturday and this year the proceeds will go toward Noah Mills, a 5-year-old who has been diagnosed with kidney cancer. Typically Crosstraining Fitness of Vail does Barbells for Boobs, a breast cancer fundraiser held annually during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They switched up the focus this year in order to help the Mills family as they go through this ordeal. Vail Brewing Company is also involved and will provide the beer for the after-party.

Muscles for Mills invites teams consisting of families and friends to come out to participate in the Fun Fitness Challenge. It’s geared toward all fitness levels and ages in order to welcome as many people as possible. Don’t have a team and want to participate? Don’t worry, they will be grouping people together that day to ensure that as many people who want to sweat for a cause can do so.

Noah Mills was recently diagnosed with late-stage bilateral renal (kidney) cancer, called Wilms tumor. The main goal of this fundraiser is to raise money for the Mills family as they go through this difficult time.

The big event happens on Saturday starting at 10:30 a.m. People can register teams for the Fun Fitness Challenge or donate items for the auction here: http://www.cfvcolorado.com/musclesformills2019.html

Celebrate and save at Squash Blossom

It was 1973 and John and Patti Cogswell had just graduated from college, gotten married and started what is now the Squash Blossom in Vail. After 46 wonderful years of developing relationships with artists and clients and curating a collection of high quality and handcrafted art and jewelry, the Cogswells are retiring.

John and Patty look back fondly at how this adventure all began. “It started in the trunk of Uncle Wilton Cogswell’s turquoise Cadillac,” John explains. “He had quite the collection of Native American jewelry and I helped him arrange an inventory system and get photographs of pieces and about a week later we opened a store in Colorado Springs and Vail.”

“Our honeymoon was spent on the Hopi, Navajo and Zuni reservations where John had $1,500 in his cowboy boot to spend on new inventory,” Patti added. “I learned all my early jewelry skills from the Native Americans. We’d sit at their kitchen table and sort through and always go for the highest quality. We were very particular and always represented jewelry that reflected a unique style,” Patti said.

In addition to the Native American jewelry, the Cogswells eventually added internationally renowned jewelers to their collection.

“Every jeweler that we’ve represented had their own unique and handcrafted style and we’d make sure that we didn’t pick jewelry that looked like someone else’s and a lot of our clients noticed that,” Patti said.

The Cogswell’s won’t be retiring completely, they will still have a 2,000 square foot gallery in Colorado Springs. But they are looking forward to spending more time with family. “We have four grandkids ranging in age from four to seven,” Patti said. “We haven’t had enough time for hiking, fishing, golfing and biking.”

Stop in and see the amazing curated collection of luxury jewelry at the Squash Blossom in Vail Village and enjoy amazing discounts on their exclusive jewelry collection and say farewell to a couple who grew up with Vail. The store is also for sale, in case someone wants to continue the legacy.

“I have no regrets,” Patti said. “I don’t know how you could have such an adventurous way of making a living. We were always traveling looking for artists, and Vail was a beautiful place to raise our children. But, it’s time.”

For more details, go to www.sqashblossom.com.

Vail businesses see boost from Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships

VAIL — It was a busy week at the Manor Vail Lodge, and General Manager Bob McCleary couldn’t be happier.

The Manor Vail is across the street from Golden Peak, the site of the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships, which wrapped Saturday. Therefore, it was home base for company officials, media, athletes and others.

“Burton is a good, strong bump in our business,” McCleary said, adding that bump goes from rooms to the bar to the restaurant to catering at the lodge.

Those guests are more than welcome.

“They’re good people; they bring good energy to the property,” McCleary said. “The (other) guests that are here love it.”

Just to the west of Vail Village, the Evergreen Lodge also welcomed a number of people associated with the event.

Evergreen General Manager Brian Butts said about half of that lodge’s rooms had been reserved by Burton employees, sales representatives and others. Between those guests and others coming into town, Butts said the Evergreen had one room available for Thursday, one for Friday and none for Saturday, the last day of the event.

Looking at his own reservations and the action already in Vail, Butts proclaimed it a big visitor weekend. And people who stay in Vail dine and shop in town, too.

Snowboarding royalty in town

The big crowds weren’t limited to the hotels and the halfpipe. The Colorado Snowsports Museum on Wednesday hosted the Chill fundraiser party hosted by Jake and Donna Burton.

Museum director Jen Mason said the party packed the museum. And, she added, she’s seen some younger people taking daytime strolls around the facility.

Mason said the US Open event has continued a busy winter for the museum. But, she added, “it feels like it’s busy” in Vail Village.

Across Meadow Drive from the museum, Buzz Schleper, of Buzz’s Boards, said this year’s US Open crowds seemed more substantial than the past couple of years, adding that a good snow year has put a lot of people into Vail throughout the winter.

“People are in town, people are shopping, and it’s great,” Schleper said.

The US Open is a big venture, and the town of Vail supports it financially. For the 2019 event, the town put $490,000 into the event.

Mason, who’s also a member of the Vail Town Council, said the town gets a good return on its money.

“(The US Open) isn’t just an event,” Mason said, adding that some of the industry’s top buyers and salespeople are in town this week. That helps Vail’s international reputation as a snowboarding destination, she said. She added, people in the next generation of snowsports enthusiasts often ride. The US Open is a good way to introduce those people to Vail.

While the US Open is good for business, not everyone sees a direct benefit.

At the Claggett/Rey Gallery in Vail Village, Maggie Rey said that business doesn’t see an uptick from the snowboard crowd.

While the US Open tends to bring more people to Vail, not many of those people are shopping for fine art while they’re here.

“In general, it’s really kind of status quo,” Rey said. “But we enjoy it, we like to participate … it’s very fun to have here.”

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

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.

Renowned artist Ron Hicks to display a new type of art in Vail

Ron Hicks will display his work at Vail International Gallery from Saturday, Feb. 16, to March 2.

Ron Hicks grew up in an artistic household. His mother attended art classes, and he’d spend time pouring over her textbooks, and once he got to school, his teacher took special note of his talent and encouraged him to enter contests, leading him to win scholarships to the Columbus College of Art and Design.

Hicks’ art would eventually become known for depicting realistic scenes, snapshots of everyday life — a couple kissing, chefs working in a kitchen, a conductor leading his orchestra.

However recently, Hicks has taken a more abstract approach to his art, which he’ll be displaying at Vail International Gallery beginning on Saturday, Feb. 16.

“I’m trying to sort of play with abstract, non-objective worlds and realism, to strike a harmonious balance between disciplines and place them on canvas or boards I paint on,” Hicks said. “I’m really concentrating on shape, texture and edges, more so than more tangible things in previous works.”

The new art style comes from Hicks’ desire to paint for himself. His previous work began as a collaboration, in which he’d pass a piece back and forth with another artist until they had a complete work of art. He continued to paint in the style of the project. Eventually, however, Hicks chose to take a turn and paint for himself.

Ron Hicks’ new body of work was inspired by his desire to create art for himself, rather than for the masses.

“I’m open and free to express myself in this way, and I hope to keep it as pure as I can,” Hicks said. “I’m doing it for myself as opposed the masses.”

Hicks has had a 12-year relationship with Vail International Gallery, displaying art since the gallery’s beginning, thanks to President and co-founder of the gallery Marc LeVarn’s affinity for his work.

“We knew going in that he was an artist that we wanted to feature,” LeVarn said.

Although the work that will be on display is different than what LeVarn has displayed before, he has no concern about the exhibit.

“We’re really excited about this new style for Ron,” said LeVarn. “He has succeeded in evolving in a way that’s really successful visually and artistically, the emotional content of the paintings is really powerful.”

Catch Hicks art at Vail International Gallery between Saturday, Feb. 16, and March 2. Hicks will be present to discuss his work from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. His pieces will be for sale throughout the exhibition.

Arts & Entertainment Editor Nate Day can be reached at nday@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2932.