Big crowds in Vail for spring break |

Big crowds in Vail for spring break

Daily file photoBusiness owners say they saw huge crowds over the Easter weekend. This photo was taken at Vail Mountain on March 21, when almost 400 cars overflowed from the parking garaged onto the frontage road in Vail.

VAIL, Colorado ” Just how many skis did Buzz Schleper rent out over the last couple of weeks? Well, here’s a clue: he had to resort to loaning his wife’s and son’s skis.

“I thought it was the busiest two weeks of the entire year, and probably the busiest two weeks of the last 10 to 12 years,” Schleper said.

With an early Easter coinciding with Spring Break season, retailers were expecting an onslaught of customers in March.

For some, like Schleper, the last couple of weeks lived up to those expectations.

“It was absolutely packed,” said Dmitri Souvorin, an owner of Montauk Seafood Grill. “It was a great Easter.”

The Lionshead restaurant saw tons of Europeans, Latin Americans and other foreigners, Souvorin said.

“More of everyone from outside the country,” he said.

Vail Mountain had said it would ask employees to work overtime during the Easter Week because of the crowds it expected. The company also expected to deal with a labor shortage due to the exodus of international workers.

The company will not release skier numbers until June.

However, the amount of wastewater that’s treated by local plants can indicate how many people were in the valley. Those numbers show there was an average of 54,700 people a day between Vail and Edwards between March 18 and March 25.

For the same time last year ” a period that didn’t include Easter ” that number was 52,110, according to the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.

In Vail, cars parked on the frontage road ” which happens when both of the town’s 1,150-space parking garage fill ” for seven of nine days between March 18 and March 26.

But others said the crowds were not extraordinary.

“We were busy, but I don’t think it was record-setting, personally,” said Mike Brumbaugh, owner of Venture Sports in Avon.

Rayla Kundolf, manager of Masters Gallery in Vail, said she saw a lot of customers from Mexico City and South America over Easter week.

“It was a customary Easter,” she said.

It seemed that many spring breakers waited until after Easter to come to town, Kundolf said.

Still, Joe Liefer, manager of Christy Sports in Beaver Creek, said it was one of the busiest weeks of the winter.

“We got the Easter traffic mixed with spring break traffic,” he said.

And, with the busy Easter holiday come and gone, the season’s end is in sight, he said.

Vail and Beaver Creek close April 13.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

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