Business boomed for holidays
VAIL – Jarid Bortz, manager at Charter Sports in Beaver Creek, described the Christmas-New Year’s week at the store very succinctly: “Record-breaking.”The store rented more skis in a week than it has ever rented before, and more than any Charter Sports store has ever rented in a week, he said. A big reason was the record snowfall, he said.”The snow has been amazing,” he said.Retailers, restaurateurs and hoteliers from across the valley said the holiday week was busier than it normally is. Many attributed the increase to the valley’s near-record snowfall.As of Wednesday, Vail Mountain reported 220 inches of snowfall for the season at the top of the mountain, the second-best after the 1983-84 season.
There was a lot of last-minute demand for hotel rooms last week and into this week, said Ian Anderson, director of sales and marketing for the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau. The chamber handles about 10 percent of reservations for the valley.”There was some concern that the week between the holidays would be busy, but by (Jan. 3) things would clear out,” he said.But reservations remain strong through this weekend, with limited availability at area hotels, he said.Heather Neighbarger, soft goods manager at Double Diamond Ski Shop in Lionshead, said the shop was packed during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.”We were incredibly busy,” she said.Her department’s sales were up about 10 percent over last year, she said.
Slow New Year’sThe average daily number of Vail bus riders was up slightly over last year, according to numbers from Vail Transit.On New Year’s Eve day, Vail buses carried 26,175 people. That’s about the same as a normal winter weekend day, said Mike Rose, Vail Transit transportation manager. Vail’s New Year’s Eve curfew may have curtailed those numbers, he said.”We were kind of scratching our heads on New Year’s Eve,” Rose said. “We didn’t fill the (Lionshead) structure.”But cars on the frontage road for Dec. 25 through Monday were double last year’s total. On Monday, the village structure filled at 9:50 a.m., and Lionshead filled less than an hour later, Rose said.
Brian Hayslip, assistant manager at Gore Range Brewery in Edwards, said because Christmas and New Year’s fell on a weekend, the week between the two holidays was extraordinarily busy.”It was an absolute zoo for us,” he said.The crowd was mostly tourists, and locals were staying away from the crowds, he said.Janine Glennon, owner of Vista Restaurant in Avon, said business was up every day during the week over last year, except for Christmas Day itself.The week “was definitely better than last year,” she said.Vail Marriott General Manager Dave Pease said Christmas this year was the same as it always is for his hotel – completely booked. The difference this year is that for the week after New Year’s, the hotel is 90 percent full. It’s usually less occupied during the week after the holiday, he said.
Steve Lincks, manager at Ptarmagin Sports in Edwards, said business was “significantly better” this year. He attributed the difference to the quality stores that are now in Edwards. And Jeff Forbes, owner of Coyote Cafe in Beaver Creek, said this year was better than last year, which itself was a great year.”It’s hard to be up much more than I was last year,” he said.He said the reason for the good business was both the good snow and the good economy.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado