| VailDaily.com

POC introduces helmets that can communicate

This is part seven of a seven-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver earlier this year. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.

The next time you are in the chair lift line, look around and see how many people are wearing helmets. Chances are, you’ll see a majority of skiers and snowboarders donning the brain bucket. Helmets are a common part of the winter sports equipment equation for all ages. POC Sports aims to develop products to possibly save lives and reduce the consequences of accidents for winter sports enthusiasts.

POC debuted its new OBEX Backcountry SPIN helmet for the 2019-2020 season at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver earlier this year. It contains a Near Field Communication (NFC) medical ID chip that can give rescuers the medical information they need at the scene of an injury in an instant, thereby assisting them in making the best judgments for treatment immediately after an accident.

When you get the helmet you also need to download the app that goes with the NFC chip. Medical information such as if you are on blood thinners or have epilepsy or allergies is stored in the app.

“Ski patrol or mountain rescue teams will have this app and be able to click “scan” on their phone, tap it on the helmet and it brings up all of your medical information,” said Kelley Fitzpatrick, territory manager in Colorado for POC.

The helmet also has POC’s patent-pending silicone pad technology system, SPIN (Shearing Pad INside). This allows the helmet to move relative to your head. “It’s kind of like the skin on the outside of your skull or the cerebral spinal fluid between your brain and your skull. It allows for shearing motion and by doing that it reduces the energy transfer to your brain after an impact,” Fitzpatrick said.

The new OBEX Backcountry SPIN helmet gained rave reviews from ski and snowboard shops at the Outdoor Retailer and SIA Snow Show and received the Best in Show award from “Freeskier” magazine and the Show Stopper award from “Skiing” magazine. To learn more about this technology from POC, visit www.pocsports.com.

Salomon S Pro ski boots a hit for consumers and boot fitters

Editor’s note: This is part six of a seven-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show, which took place in Denver earlier this year. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.

Ski boots are the most important part of the ski equipment equation, and the big buzz at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Snow in Denver among retailers earlier this year was the new Salomon S Pro ski boots.

Operating out of the French Alps, Salomon has been helping people get out on the slopes on the right equipment since 1947. The company is driven by innovation and craftsmanship, and Salomon is excited to release this new S Pro line of ski boots. More than 5,000 foot scans were involved in the development of this boot. “The goal here was to create the best-fitting initial out-of-the-box fit in the entire industry,” said Chris McKearin, country commercial manager at USA Salomon.

This has boot-fitters at ski shops extremely happy. You can still customize the boots by adding a footbed, heel lifts and punching out tight-fitting spots, but having a good foundation to start with is good for the boot fitter and the consumer. “It makes things a lot easier in the shop and it gives the consumer a much better first impression when they put the boot on.

“Many retailers who’ve stopped by today to see and try on the S Pro boot have said how comfortable it is; yet there’s still good compression around the heel and ankle,” McKearin said.

Salomon also made this boot easier to get into. “Making the boots easier to get on and off is always a hot topic in skiing. We redesigned the instep geometry with a softer insert over the instep. You just pull up on the tongue of the boot and slide the foot in and you’re ready to go,” McKearin said.

The Salomon S Pro boot is also lighter than ever before. “It’s about a half of a pound lighter per foot. It’s the most customizable boot we’ve ever made and the seamless liner and custom shell so if you do need to make adjustments it’s more efficient and accurate than ever before,” McKearin said. If you want to learn more, visit the website at www.salomon.com.

Squash Blossom jewelry boutique continues under new ownership

Sometimes the stars just align and things work out as they should. That’s the story behind the new owners of the Squash Blossom, Hilary and Kevin Magner.

The Squash Blossom was founded by John and Patty Cogswell and has been a landmark jewelry gallery for the past 46 years. Once the Cogswells decided to retire, they hoped what they had built would continue to live on in someone else’s caring hands.

The Magners are keeping that family-owned tradition going. In fact, the jewelry business runs in the family for Kevin Magner. His father was in that line of work for years and Kevin never really thought of following his dad’s profession until after college.

“I was introduced to some of my dad’s lifelong friends in the business and they were the most interesting people and I just kind of wanted to be part of that,” Kevin said.

Kevin cut his teeth while working for the Roberto Coin brand, traveling 50 out of the 52 weeks a year selling jewelry. About the time Kevin’s dad was going to retire from Neiman Marcus, he and Kevin thought about doing a venture together, so Kevin went to gemology school to learn more.

In 2013, Kevin’s father passed away. “That kind of made the jewelry industry rotten for me. I was sad, I was running into a lot of his old friends and I missed him,” Kevin said.  “That was kind of the reason we came out to Vail, to escape, get a change of pace in life.  But, the jewelry business was in my blood and it drew me back.”

Kevin got a call from John Cogswell saying they needed help because they were short-staffed. “In the first conversation, it went from ‘we need salespeople’ to ‘we need a manager’ to ‘we’re thinking about retiring, you ought to think about buying this store’ and that was October of 2018,” Kevin said.

The stars for Hilary were shifting as well. “I’d been in corporate jobs for a while and traveling all the time, which was hard to be away, especially with two young kids,” Hilary said. “I started retail when I was 16 and there’s always been a seed growing in the back of my mind to own my own store, but then life took me on a different path and it’s kind of jolted me back to be here and to be with my family and create something in Vail.”

Although the Magners will continue to carry artists like Todd Reed, Gurhan and Penny Preville at Squash Blossom, they also have many relationships in the jewelry business that will add something new to the store. “We’ve called in favors from designers that we know and everyone is just so excited for us. We’re doing this all on our own and we want to succeed at keeping this a family-owned business,” Kevin said.

“I just feel so honored, honestly, we were selected to continue the legacy of the Squash Blossom,” Hilary said. “It’s like the universe selected us out of all the people who could have gotten this store, it’s a dream come true.”

‘Slow fashion’ part of the dialogue at ski industry trade show

Editor’s note: This is part four of a seven-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver earlier this year. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.

When you think of fashion, you may think of the fast-paced runway style shows and how looks are ever-changing, but at Krimson Klover, they want to slow things down. Here, “slow fashion” is a primary part of their mission.

“We’ve been honoring ‘slow fashion’ long before it became a movement. We strongly believe that fashion, like food, is best when crafted ‘from scratch’, with intention. This means knitting a piece of our soul into everything we make,” said Rhonda Swenson, founder and creative director of Krimson Klover, a contemporary knitwear company specializing in eco-friendly, luxurious clothing for women based on Boulder, CO.

Slow Fashion is a movement of designing, creating and buying garments that stand the test of time. It’s a philosophy that encourages slowing down our consumption, owning fewer, but better things that are purchased thoughtfully from brands that consciously manufacture clothing without threatening natural resources or damaging the social and ecological environment.

Krimson Klover’s talented design team selects superior-quality, natural fibers from sustainable sources across the globe that respect animals, employees and the environment. The companies they partner with are certified for excellence in wastewater treatment, energy usage, absence of harmful substances, continual supply chain improvement and overall environmental sustainability. “This high standard is what we expect from all of our award-winning yarn suppliers.”

Eco-friendly can still mean stylish and staying current with trends. “This season, we introduced a seamless technology which means everything is knit on a tube, you don’t have any seams, no chaffing and we’re doing this in quite a few of our base layers. People just love the way it feels next to their skin,” Swenson said.

Check out today’s video to see their line of clothing for hitting the slopes or going out to dinner after a day on the hill. View the whole line at www.krimsonklover.com.

Santa visits, tree lighting ceremonies, Revely Vail and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 11/29/19

Beaver Creek Tree Lighting ceremony

Beaver Creek kicks off its 39th year with a Tree Lighting ceremony that has been happening for the same amount of time. It’s a tradition that families have grown up with to help welcome the holidays. Head to the Plaza level of Beaver Creek Village and help flip the switch of the seasons.  

New this year is the Holiday Market which will feature a variety of vendors on the Plaza level and beyond from 1-5 p.m. Vendors include:

  • Beaver Creek Sports
  • Craniology
  • Cowboys & Daisies
  • Rimini Gelato
  • Vilar Performing Arts Center
  • Avalon Clothing
  • Base Mountain Sports
  • Paderewski Fine Art
  • Qinti – The Peruvian Shop
  • LA Antler Company
  • Emmy Stained Glass
  • Belden Witch
  • Rocky Mountain Raclette

Santa will travel to Beaver Creek on Friday to visit with guests and stop by the Santa’s Workshop located at Powder 8 Kitchen and Tap from 3 to 5 p.m. Santa will also visit the Fountain Stage from 6:15-7:15 p.m. He will be available for photos at both locations.

At Santa’s Workshop, you can get crafty by decorating ornaments and cookies and making buttons and bows. Face painting will also be available.

The Tree Lighting ceremony will take place from 5-7 p.m. The ice skating show will feature live performances by the Denver Dolls, Helmut Ficker and an appearance from Santa.

Plan to spend the day up at Beaver Creek and ski or snowboard before the festivities begin. Bring some boots to change into after the slopes and wear your layers to stay warm once the sun goes down. For more information, visit www.beavercreek.com.

The Celtic Gift

Right after the tree lighting in Beaver Creek on Friday night, continue getting into the holiday spirit by heading down the escalator to the Vilar Performing Arts Center for the Celtic Gift, presented by Irish Dance Theatre on Friday at 8 p.m.

Open a magical world this Christmas with Irish Dance Theatre’s fourth annual holiday production. Irish Dance Theatre is based out of Denver and they strive to tell stories through Irish dance.  Riverdance and Lord of the Dance alumni Martin Percival and Ciara Sexton direct the Irish Dance Theatre Company for this spirited holiday dance show. 

“Irish Dance Theatre seeks to establish a foothold for professional Irish Dance in North America,” said Percival. “Through its fourth annual seasonal production, the Celtic Gift tells a holiday fairytale with a unique Celtic twist. It’s fun for all the family and is sure to become a new holiday tradition.”

The performance combines the powerful Irish dance form with stunningly beautiful music. Hear many of your holiday favorites while watching these amazing dancers on stage.

Tickets are still available and there is a 10% discount available for groups of 10 or more and for students, veterans, and seniors 65 and older. For more information, go to www.vilarPAC.org.

Revely Vail

New this year is Revely Vail, a weeklong event that kicks off the ski season and winter during Thanksgiving week.

Many schools across the nation have the entire week of Thanksgiving off and families have picked the Vail Valley as their holiday destination. Revely Vail offers family-friendly activities throughout Vail. Learn more at www.revelyvail.com. Welcome to the Brilliance of Winter with these events:

Friday

Kris Kringle Market 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • Come to this European-style market to find your special something for the holiday season
  • Shop local and enjoy gluhwein and beer in Vail during the market

Explosion of Lights Walk 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

  • Walk begins at Lionshead Plaza and ends at Slifer Square
  • View the brilliant lights businesses have on display
  • Grab a hot chocolate at the Hot Chocolate and More tent

Revely Vail Cooking Class Series 5 – 7 p.m.

  • Fun with Grilled Cheese and Mac Attack Mac N Cheese
  • Join executive chef David Sanchez Grill on the Gore at the Vail Clubhouse
  • Kids will be hands-on in the kitchen making their favorite cheese-filled meals
  • Adults welcome

Ice Skating Celebration – Solaris 3:30 – 4 p.m.

  • Enjoy skating exhibitions from the Vail Ice Skating Club at the Solaris outdoor skating rink.

10th Mountain Division Parade 6 p.m. at Gondola One

  • Torchlight Ski Down with skiers dressed in traditional 10th Mountain Division Ski Trooper uniforms
  •  Parade of military veterans, also in traditional uniform, marching from Gondola One down Bridge Street to the 10th Mountain Division soldier statue

Vail Astronomy Nights – 6 – 8 p.m.

  • A professional astronomer will lead guests through a fun exploration of the night sky using museum-grade, state-of-the-art telescopes for observing the universe.
  • International Bridge in Vail Village

Saturday

Kris Kringle Market 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • Come to this European-style market to find your special something for the holiday season
  • Shop local and enjoy gluhwein and beer in Vail during the market

Musical Duets at Express Lift at Gondola One 3 to 6 p.m.

  • Enjoy the music of Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band) and Nick Cassarino and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band) and Ian Faquini

Explosion of Lights Walk 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

  • Walk begins at Lionshead Plaza and ends at Slifer Square
  • View the brilliant lights businesses have on display
  • Grab a hot chocolate at the Hot Chocolate and More tent

Revely Vail Tree Lighting 6- 7 p.m.

  • Join longtime local Sheika Gramshammer, who will light the tree accompanied by the Town of Vail mayor
  • Music by The Turn Table Revue and other performers

Pancake Breakfast with Santa

Santa will be busy this weekend. Not only will he be at Beaver Creek on Friday, but rumor has it he will be starting a tour of Mountain Rec facilities starting Saturday in Gypsum.

Mountain Rec will host a free pancake breakfast with Santa Claus along with Neighborhood Navigators and the Gypsum Fire Protection District. Santa will be joined by Ralph, The World’s Tallest Elf. Bring your camera for some great photo opportunities.

Along with the pancakes, there will be holiday crafts for the entire family, including card decorating to pay tribute to the local first responders by making a card just for them. After the pancakes, settle in and get comfortable by bringing blankets, lawn chairs and pillows to use during the movie.

Schedule

810 a.m. – “Polar Express” movie on a giant inflatable screen (Spanish)
8 a.m.-12 p.m.– Pancake Breakfast
9 a.m.-12 p.m.– Santa & Ralph “the World’s Tallest Elf” appearance
10 a.m.-12 p.m. – “Polar Express” movie on a giant inflatable screen (English)

If you miss this holiday event, Mountain Rec will host an Open House with Santa on Dec. 8 in Edwards and a Winter Extravaganza on Dec. 15 at its Eagle location. For more information, visit www.mountainrec.org.

15 Days of Minturn

While Vail Mountain celebrates its 57th season this year and Beaver Creek its 39th, Minturn turns 115 years. To help celebrate, the town is kicking off the 15 Days of Minturn on Sunday.

Well before Vail and Beaver Creek ski areas were even a thought, Minturn was a bustling railroad town in the late 1800s. Early settlers farmed the land surrounding the town, mined silver in the mountains above the town or worked in the railroad industry in the heart of town. Minturn became incorporated on Nov. 15, 1904.

Today, Minturn still retains that character from its early days with architecture old and new reminiscent of the past. It’s such a gem in the Rockies and it’s appropriate that we recognize its history with a 15-day celebration.

On Sunday, ring in the holidays with the town of Minturn and Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company and the Vail Jazz Foundation, two businesses whose headquarters are in Minturn. The Kathy Morrow Trio will play while Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Company provides the treats. Local art by the Vail Valley Art Guild will be on display, also.

That’s just the beginning. The town will host an array of activities like exploring Meadow Mountain and Maloit Park, caroling, holiday tree lighting, a community dinner and the signature Winter Holiday Market throughout the first 15 days of December.

For a full schedule and to learn a bit more about this town that is well over 100 years old, visit www.minturn.org.

New boutique Lady Jones due to open in Vail Village Friday with Bubbles + Bites event

There’s a new boutique in town, and it’s bringing casual, affordable and quality fashion to the Vail Village.

Lady Jones is opening Friday with a Grand Opening Bubbles and Bites party from 5-9 p.m. Shop owner Nicole Schnitzlein spent years living in ski towns after college and wanted to bring a slice of her Denver boutique to the Vail Village. This second location of Lady Jones hopes to find a middle ground in the Vail Valley fashion industry.

“Gosh, there’s just such a divide between this luxury price point in retail in this small boutique world and this quantity-over-quality model. I really sought to fill that void,” she said. “Quality at an attainable price point is what we shoot for.”

To meet that end, all items in the shop are under $300. Many of the products are American-made, sustainably-made or ethically-sourced. Many of the styles are simple, clean and modern, “with a little bit of an edge,” Schnitzlein added. She also likes to carry a lot of basic, staple pieces that go well with anything.

Lady Jones hopes to offer quality staple pieces at an affordable price point, bridging the gap between high-end luxury and fast fashion.
Special to the Daily

Schnitzlein first opened the Denver boutique in 2016. After attending college at the University of Vermont, she moved to Vail, intending to take a break from school before taking her LSAT’s and going to law school. Like many others, one season turned into two, then five and on and on. After a few years of skiing in the morning and working retail in the afternoon, she moved to Denver.

“I lived up here for three years when I first moved out to Colorado, and I actually worked in the same space for a long time,” she said. Lady Jones is currently located in the retail space where she worked fresh out of college.

“I lived in ski towns for so long that I was excited to get somewhere where I could shop,” she said.

While working in ski towns, she discovered that she actually really liked the business side of running a store. She’s always been into fashion, and eventually was able to combine her growing curiosity and her longtime passion into a career as a small business owner.

She named the shop Lady Jones after her husband’s nickname for her and her grandmother’s last name – “her name was Joan Jones, she had the most jewelry out of anyone I’ve ever known before” – and got to work on starting her business. The Denver boutique celebrated three years in business this past October.

The Vail Village location marks the first time Schnitzlein’s taken Lady Jones to a new location. She stocks the store with slightly different items in Vail, especially because many Front Range residents come to ski in the mountains. The overall aesthetic is the same, and many of the brands she carries are the same, but she’s switched it up a little bit to provide some diversity in style between the two locations.

“When I think about opening the first shop, it was like, four months of whirlwind. And then once you open the doors, the next day is just work. I’m trying to slow down and enjoy this part of it, because come Saturday morning, we’re all on the shift,” she said.

Nicole Schnitzlein opened the Denver Lady Jones outpost in 2016.
Special to the Daily

The most rewarding part of the past three years in business with Lady Jones has been watching the shop connect to the community and bring people together. She recalls times of old friends running into each other at the shop, sourcing her wedding photographer from a friend who worked in the shop. The photographer had a photo of the Lady Jones logo on her website portfolio and Schnitzlein’s wedding date, Oct. 28, was the same day as the photographer’s birthday. The logo photo now greets customers behind the check-out desk at the Vail store.

“It’s an answer I didn’t expect to come out of it,” she said. “Just getting to know your neighbors: it’s become a really neat network of people.”

If you go …

What: Lady Jones Grand Opening

When: Friday, Nov. 22 5-9 p.m.

Where: Lady Jones, Vail Village

Cost: Free

More information: Giveaways for the first 20 customers, champagne and appetizers provided. For more information, visit ladyjonesdenver.com.

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.