Burton US Open next major event in valley
EAGLE COUNTY — Robert Purdy still hasn’t had time to catch his breath.
Purdy is the general manager of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. The hotel at the base of the Beaver Creek ski area saw a lot of business during the two weeks of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. That bustle continued through the week after the Championships, thanks to the Presidents Day holiday, a weeklong school break for many families.
The Park Hyatt won’t get much of a break going into March, either. Purdy said between group business and leisure travelers, his hotel’s booking lists are “just about bomb-proof” into April.
For the valley as a whole, and Vail in particular, the next two months or so will be a blend of events, traditional vacation periods and other factors that will bring people to the slopes.
From skis to snowboards
There are plenty of events, of course, including the next big one, the Burton U.S. Open Snowboard Championships from March 2-7.
“We’re going from a big international event to a big national event,” said Mark Herron, general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Vail.
Herron said room revenue at the Four Seasons will be up significantly for January, February, March and April, in large part due to the World Championships. Families and groups that would have booked in the first two weeks of February are still coming, but during different weeks, Herron said. Much of that is due to events and marketing, he said, but a big part of what brings people to the valley is our primary product — snow.
Mike Brumbaugh, owner of Venture Sports, said even during events, snow is the big draw. He said he’s excited that the new pavilion at Nottingham Park in Avon is bringing potential gear-renters to his store there, and events in Vail have long brought clients to the Venture Sports location in the village.
Like Herron, Brumbaugh was excited about Friday’s snowfall. And, although Brumbaugh’s a firm believer that snowfall is much easier to count when it’s on the ground, he’s encouraged by the forecast for the next few days. And spring is always a good time for Brumbaugh’s personal life.
“I can go to the desert and ride my bike, and then I can come home and ski powder,” he said.
Besides snow, the next couple of weeks will bring an added bonus — the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, set to begin March 8 this year. More afternoon daylight means longer hours on the lifts, and more time to frolic on still-sunny restaurant decks.
Purdy said more light in the afternoons is a boon for guests who want to enjoy the Hyatt’s deck, and helps extend the hotel’s food service business to a virtually all-day operation.
As for upcoming events, everyone has personal favorites.
Chris Romer, president of the Vail Valley Partnership, the valley’s regional chamber of commerce and booking agency, said he’s a particular fan of Pink Vail. The March 21 event is an awareness-builder and fundraiser for the Shaw Regional Cancer Center.
“That’s an incredible event for the Shaw Center,” Romer said. “That’s a place that maybe doesn’t get the attention it deserves, but what other community of 50,000 has a cancer treatment center like this?”
Sybill Navas is the town of Vail’s special events coordinator. She has a special place in her heart for the Vail International Film Festival.
“They always come up with such a creative list of films” Navas said.
And this year’s Taste of Vail food and wine event in April will also be pretty special, Navas said. That event last year added an event in which the latest of the world’s best rose wines had their debut in Vail. This year, even more of those wines will have their initial uncorking in Vail.
The sum of all those parts impresses Herron, a seasoned veteran of ski-resort lodging, but a relative newcomer to the Vail Valley.
“We’re just so fortunate to have all of this,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.