Big game brings mixed business expectations
VAIL – Broncos fan and snowboarder Miles Chapin of Denver said he’ll be watching the Broncos game Sunday – in Denver.”I’d definitely be up (in Vail) otherwise,” he said.Local businesses are hoping there will still be a lot of people in town Sunday afternoon during the Broncos’ big AFC championship game. If the Broncos win, they’ll play for their third Super Bowl win on Feb. 5. Sports bars foresee big crowds, but other businesses are wondering if the game will prevent Front Rangers from coming to the mountains. Ski resorts remain optimistic that out-of-state visitors will keep the slopes busy.”I think at Beaver Creek it won’t have a significant impact,” said John Garnsey, chief operating officer for Beaver Creek Mountain. “We have a lot of destination guests who will be enjoying the great snow and having a good time.”Bill Jensen, chief operating officer for Vail Mountain, said he also expects no difference when it comes to out-of-town visitors. But there may be fewer in-state skiers on the mountain Sunday, he said.”I suspect we’ll see some people who may have normally skied on Sunday ski on Saturday,” he said.Chris Jarnot, vice president of sales and marketing for Vail Resorts, said the impact would be greater if the game were on a Saturday instead of a Sunday.Jarnot also said the last time the Broncos went this far in the playoffs, in 1999, was before the “discount pass phenomenon,” which has given season pass deals to Front Rangers at resorts in Summit and Eagle counties. As a result, the company is less dependent on Front Rangers walking up to lift ticket windows every week, Jarnot said.
A few out-of-state visitors might slip off the mountain early, he said.”But Pittsburgh isn’t a big market for us,” he said.’Everybody’s interested’Phil Long, co-owner of the Red Lion, said he’s “psyched” about business during the Broncos game Sunday afternoon. The Red Lion shows football games on multiple TVs.There may be fewer day trippers, but out-of-state visitors will make up for that, Long said.”There is a group of people who (stay home), but there are more people who are destination visitors in Vail that we service who are coming no matter what,” he said.Steve Kaufman, an owner of the Tap Room bar in Vail Village, also said the game is great for his business.”Any time your home team is doing well, it’s good for business,” he said.He also cited the good snow as a draw for Front Rangers.
“I think that everybody on the Front Range that doesn’t have a Broncos ticket will go skiing,” he said.But Mick Warth, assistant manager at Los Amigos a bar at the top of Bridge Street, said it will probably be slow there.”It’s not somewhere where people come to watch the game,” he said.He’s also the general manager at Russell’s restaurant. He said that restaurant probably won’t be affected because it serves dinner, after the game will be over.But if the Broncos make the Super Bowl, he said, he anticipates a very slow night at Russell’s. The Super Bowl – late in the afternoon – is traditionally a slow night there, he said. “We might as well close the doors” if the Broncos make the Super Bowl, he joked.Juan Fregoso, general manager of the Roost Lodge, a hotel that attracts Front Range guests, said reservations are slow for Sunday – although Saturday is booked.”Everybody’s interested in the watching the game,” he said.Sheika Gramshammer of Pepi’s Restaurant and Bar said they don’t see much of a difference during a big game. People still come to see singer Rod Powell while the game plays in the background, she said.”They scream for Rod and for the Broncos,” she said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, ColoradoGame timeAFC championship gamePittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos1 p.m. Sunday, Invesco FieldTV: KCNC-4 (CBS)