Pay me in lunches, Doll says |

Pay me in lunches, Doll says

Shirley Welch
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyFrank and Imogene Doll have met several famous people over the years, including President Gerald Ford.

As of 2007, Frank Doll has been the official storyteller of the Hyatt Hotel for the past 17 years. And Frank has seen it all. He has met wonderful people and charmed most of them. As Frank tells it, it is not unusual to see a woman in a floor-length fur coat next to man in ski sweater and stretch pants, next to a couple in matching white robes headed for the spa, next to a family with little kids running alongside, next to a tan-faced ski instructor charming a young thing in skin-tight pants. All types of people mingle in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel and Frank Doll feels right at home with any of them.

Although the Hyatt Hotel personal wanted to draft a lengthy contract of employment for Frank to sign, he would have none of it. “I will come to work for you on one condition.”

“What’s that?” Steve asked when the two men decided Frank was now the Hyatt storyteller.

“My condition is that I will come up here at four o’clock on those days you want me and I will stay until six o’clock or until I decide it’s time to come home, which may be nine o’clock, I don’t really know, and in exchange I can go into any of your restaurants, order what I want and just sign the ticket. I just want to tell stories and have something to eat. That’s it.”

That’s how Frank started as the Hyatt storyteller, and even in the summer of 2006, when the next general manager met with Frank to discuss his contract for the coming season, Frank was told: “The only problem we have with hiring you is trying to determine how much to pay you.”

With a sigh, Frank replied, “Well, you don’t have that problem.”

“What do you mean?

Frank reiterated his terms of employment, exactly as he stated them some 16 years earlier, that all the compensation he required was the ability to sign a food and beverage ticket. “And I won’t come up here under any other circumstances.”

So that’s how Frank negotiated his deal with the Hyatt for the past season, and he thinks that perhaps he has had two lunches and a couple of take home sandwiches from the Deli. Not a bad deal for the Hyatt Hotel.

During the winter months, most popular story Frank is asked to tell his how Beaver Creek was created.

“It started way back when,” Frank says with a twinkle in his eye. “First Earl Eaton wanted Pete Siebert to look at Beaver Creek Mountain for a place to build his ski resort, but there was 3 miles of privately owned land at the base that needed to be purchased before any Forest Service permits could be issued. So Earl took Pete to Vail Mountain, where there was not much privately owned land. The rest is history as far as Vail Mountain is concerned, Vail Mountain being just over the hill from Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division Trained for WWII. But Beaver Creek was never forgotten. Vail Resorts showed great interest in it late 1969, especially with the 1976 Olympics on the drawing board for Colorado. At that time, Willis Nottingham owned all the land and discussions were started with Vail Resorts. However, Willis was not in the mood to sell. He continued his ranching business but felt the influx of tourists and employees on his little valley west of Vail.

In the fall of 1971, Willis started rumors that he was selling out. Vail Resorts did not want the land ” all 3,440 acres- “to go to anyone else, so they sent a contingent of men to the Nottingham house and knocked on the door. Willis answered. One of the men said, ‘How much do you want?’ That was the way the deal was settled. Willis sold his ranch to Vail Resorts and moved away. No one ever knew how much he got for the ranch. An article in the paper about the sale mentioned a trade of some land and ‘other considerations.'”

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