No singing the blues for some Vail businesses |

No singing the blues for some Vail businesses

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” It’s been an economically scary ski season, but some Vail, Colorado businesses refuse to sing the blues.

For Buzz Schleper, the worst thing about the season just past is that he can’t get more days on the hill. Schleper, owner of the Vail Village ski shop that bears his name, said given recent snowfall, there’s no reason Vail Mountain couldn’t extend its season by a few days or weeks.

“I think we ought to be marketing ski-and-golf packages through Memorial Day,” Schleper said.

But for the last weekend of the season, once Vail Pass re-opened on Saturday, people came to ski.

Schleper’s business may actually end up slightly better than it was last season. He gives most of the credit for that small bump to Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass. And, Schleper said, not all Epic Pass holders came from the Front Range.

“Our regular customers came back, and came back more often,” Schleper said. “The Epic Pass wasn’t just for Denver people.”

In Lionshead, Cabal Yarne just finished his second ski season with the Arriesgado clothing store. And, after a slow March, Yarne said his store finished off the ski season with a bang.

“Our April was just amazing,” Yarne said. “We were really happy with it.”

Yarne said Arriesgado exceeded the goals he’d set for the store at the beginning of the season.

Now, he said, he’s trying to work on providing better customer service and more efficient operations for next season.

Yarne said his store didn’t see any extra business from the winter’s Vail All the Love program, but said he’s a fan of the marketing program, and is happy it’s being done for summer business, too.

And Arriesgado will stay open through the spring and summer, Yarne said.

So will a much older business, the Sitzmark Lodge in Vail Village.

“We’re open all year,” general manager Jeanne Fritch said. “We don’t get a lot of people, but if someone comes in and wants a room, we’re here.”

As the seasons change, Fritch said she’s looking forward to summer, and perhaps finding a way to get warm-weather guests to stay more than just a weekend. Looking ahead to next winter, Fritch said she’s going to look for new ways to keep up the Sitzmark’s traditional business model of seven-day stays.

For now, though, Fritch said she’s been “pretty pleased” at how this winter turned out.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

16 percent drop in Vail sales taxes in February from February 2008.

30 percent drop in Vail Village sales tax collections in February.

13 percent decrease in Lionshead February sales tax collections.

67 percent decline in Vail real estate transfer tax collections in February.

Source: Town of Vail February sales tax report, the last month for which figures are available.

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