Mexican spring break fuels Vail economy
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL ” Eloisa Campos and 12 others in her family travel from Mexico to Vail every year to ski and spend time together.
Many Latin American schools give time off for students during the two weeks around Easter, said Campos, of Monterey, Mexico.
“Lots of people from Monterey enjoy skiing, but there’s no snow out there.”
Like Campos’ family, every year Mexicans and other Latin Americans return to Vail for their “Semana Santa,” the week of Easter and the subsequent week, or both, and they fuel the local economy during an other wise slow time, local businessmen say.
Some are tourists who rent lodging for the week. Others own condominiums and homes in Vail. Either way, their wealth drives the local economy, said Ross Goldberg, Realtor for Vail Realty.
“They have to be our most important clientele,” said Goldberg, who has several Mexican clients.
Many Mexicans spent time in Aspen and as Vail began developing they begin traveling here and buying real estate in the 1960s and ’70s, he said.
From the wide range of difficulty of runs to Vail’s proximity to Mexico and the ease of traveling here, Mexicans have plenty of reasons to choose Vail as a destination, they say.
Jose Santos of Mexico likes the mountain because he can ski greens while his 10-year-old son skis black diamonds, he said.
Vail is the most popular destination for skiing in Mexico, Santos said.
Santos and his family like the convenience of flying to Denver, he said.
Mexicans also enjoy the nightlife in Vail.
La Bottega is a popular spot for food and drink after skiing and later at night, said 23-year-old Chris Ehrenberg of Mexico. Ehrenberg prefers going to places like La Bottega where other Mexicans go, she said.
Steve Virion has built strong relationships with his Mexican customers through the 10 years he has co-owned La Bottega, he said.
“They feel comfortable here and they travel a lot and know really good food,” Virion said.
He has watched the children of his customers grow up and plenty have invited him to visit Mexico, though he has yet to make the trip, Virion said.
When Easter falls in April, Vail Resorts aggressively markets itself in Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterey, said Bob Stinchcomb, corporate director of sales for Vail Resorts.
That makes up for a dearth of other skiers at season’s end, he said.
Vail Resorts markets its brand differently for each country, depending on what its residents value in a resort vacation, Stinchcomb said.
Germans, for instance, value skiing the most in their Vail vacations, he said.
In addition to skiing, Latin Americans enjoy the shops, restaurants and nightlife in Vail, he said.
Latin Americans make up about 10 percent to 12 percent of skier visits, he said.
Mexicans make up the majority of Latin Americans tourists, but Venezuelans, Argentineans and Brazilians also are regular visitors, Stinchcomb said.
The snow was good enough Sunday that Luis Rodriguez of Venezuela skipped church on Easter, he said.
“We prayed before we came up,” Rodriguez said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or email@example.com.