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Games bring millions to Vail Valley

Preston Utley/Daily file photoBusinesses near the venues of the Teva Mountain Games are expected increased sales during the games. A study by the organizers of the event said the games brought $2.65 million in spending to the town last year.
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VAIL ” While Memorial Day traditionally starts the summer, you could say Vail’s summer really begins a week later with the Teva Mountain Games.

And for businesses, the games bring customers to town a good month before the masses come for the Fourth of July.

Steve Kaufman, owner of the Tap Room bar and restaurant in Vail Village, said he’s expecting more people for the games than were here for Memorial Day Weekend, when there were no big events in town.

“This last weekend, I was leaving town, and a guy came up to me and said, ‘What’s going on?’ and I said, ‘Nothing,'” Kaufman said.

The Tap Room usually does well while the games are in town, although last year’s weather put a damper on business.

“Up until last year we did really well off of it,” he said. “Six inches of snow really messed things up.”

J.T. Thompson, owner of the Bag and Pack Shop in Vail, an outdoors outfitter on East Meadow Drive, said he expects to be a lot busier than normal. The bouldering and kayaking will be nearby and vendors will set up booths along the street. The store’s wares also appeal to the adrenaline junkies.

“It’s moved the summer up a little bit,” Thompson said. “If not for Teva, June would be real quiet.”

Thompson also said he expects to be busier during the Teva games than the store was over Memorial Day Weekend.

The Teva games brought $2.65 million in spending to the town of Vail in 2005, according to a study produced by Untraditional Marketing, the organizers of the festival. The average participant spent $339 at the Teva games, the study found.

Based on the town’s $65,000 investment in 2005, the study calculates a return on investment of more than 40 to 1. The sales tax alone generated by the festival makes up for the investment, the study found.

The town has increased that funding to $78,750 this year.

“I think of that as seed money,” said Town Manager Stan Zemler.

The games also bring needed diversity to the town’s lineup of events, Zemler said.

“You need a balanced portfolio,” Zemler said. “We have incredible natural amenities for people come to use. This is one event that’s tailored in that direction.”

The Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau produced the event when it was the Jeep Whitewater Festival. It was always seen as the beginning of summer for Vail, said Ian Anderson, spokesman for the chamber.

“Even when it was a whitewater festival, this was the real kickoff of summer to Vail,” Anderson said. “It was an opportunity for us to generate some real exposure for Vail and get the message out that we are open for summer.”

The chamber moved the games from Memorial Day Weekend to the following week, so it wouldn’t conflict with other event such as the Boulder Bolder running race and family barbecues, Anderson said.

Water is also usually running at a higher level by the first week of June, which helps with kayaking and rafting events.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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