Lackluster snow keeps people shopping, dining
EAGLE COUNTY – The Vail Valley’s resorts are buzzing every Christmas holiday. But with lackluster snow on the slopes, many of those people found themselves spending more time in the resorts’ villages.”We were really busy,” Michael Hand of the Bag & Pack Shop in Vail. “I think the conditions might have been forcing people to shop more.”That was particularly true Dec. 31, when high winds closed down the ski resorts. “That was a great day for shopping,” Hand said.At Transition Sports in downtown Avon, co-owner Stafford Turner said that new shop saw plenty of walk-in customers over the holiday seasons, too.”It’s really exceeded our expectations as a new store,” Turner said. “We’ve actually had a steady flow of traffic all through December. And the town was very busy over the holidays.”Hand said he saw plenty of international travelers over the holiday weeks, and plenty of activity in the village, something he attributed to concerts and other activities associated with the Vail Holidaze events.”The concerts really helped get people into this area,” Hand said. At Solaris, Yeti’s Grind co-owner Nate Picklo said that business’s second holiday season far surpassed its first.You never know what to attribute it to,” Picklo said. “But with Solaris (leased out) it’s more of a draw now.” That was especially true during the evening skating shows at the Solaris ice rink.”We really had people in the area en masse,” Picklo said. “That’s when it was crazy.”Yeti’s draws a combination of local residents and tourists, especially this time of year. But Picklo said most of the people coming through his doors were in a festive mood.”You have some people who come here every year no matter what, to just enjoy being here,” Picklo said. But, he acknowledged, the people who’d come to ski seemed a bit more disappointed. “But most people found other things to do.”Kirsten Texler, head of marketing for the Cascade Village Resort & Spa, said that property was bustling over the holidays, too. The rooms were booked solid, of course, but people were also spending plenty of time at the Cascade’s spa and athletic club. That was especially true as gale-force winds buffeted the valley Dec. 31. “The place was just buzzing that day,” Texler said. All the club’s indoor tennis courts were busy all day, she said, as were all the other indoor racquet courts.”I think a lot of people were at the club taking out the energy they’d planned for the slopes,” Texler said. While skiing isn’t great right now, Texler said Vail and Vail Resorts have done good work at creating other events and activities.”There’s just so much to do now,” she said. “These days you can come here in the spring and have something to do.”
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