Plenty to do and great weather bringing guests to Vail Valley for July 4
Staying a while?
Here’s a small sample of what’s going on in the valley after the Fourth of July:
• July 5: Beaver Creek Concerts by the Creek, featuring Hazel Miller. Gates open at 5 p.m.
• July 6: Eagle ShowDown Town, Eagle Town Park. The Robby Peoples Band, 6:30 p.m. Free.
• July 7: Bravo! Vail Music Festival. The Philadelphia Orchestra plays its first concert of the season. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, 6 p.m.
• July 8: Vail Family Fun Fest. These free events are held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Lionshead Village. Activities include a tent filled with creative arts and crafts projects, a play town featuring hula hoops and a bounce house and other contests and group games.
For more things to do in the coming days, visit www.vaildaily.com/calendar.
EAGLE COUNTY — In a way, the Vail Valley’s Fourth of July is a little like Christmas, with plenty of visitors and few available rooms. But this year’s summer celebration is a little different.
Most local lodges are full, or nearly so, through at least Monday. But a number of visitors are coming on or after Tuesday, and that’s a new story.
The Vail Valley Partnership is the valley’s regional chamber of commerce. The group also has a reservations arm and tracks hotel occupancy throughout the valley. Partnership CEO Chris Romer wrote in an email that lodges are reporting large increases in bookings starting on Tuesday.
Romer wrote that reservations for Tuesday are up 20 percent from 2016 — when the holiday fell on a Monday. That boost is accompanied by double-digit reservations increases the rest of the week.
At the Comfort Inn in Avon, general manager Rich ten Braak said this past week that the hotel actually had more reservations for Saturday than Tuesday.
Plenty to do around town
The reason, ten Braak said, is that the annual Triple Bypass cycling event coming to Avon’s Nottingham Park that weekend.
Still, ten Braak expected the hotel to fill its 146 rooms for the weekend.
“Our brand is a little more last minute,” ten Braak said. “We don’t get concerned about filling up.”
At the Sitzmark Lodge in Vail, assistant general manager Jennifer Natbony said reservations before and after Tuesday are following an unusual pattern, with a number of people having come in Saturday and leaving on Wednesday.
Since the Sitzmark is right on the Vail America Days parade route, Natbony said that hotel is always bustling.
“Guests get a kick out of it,” Natbony said. “They’ll set up lawn chairs on the sidewalk, and you can see (the parade) from the balconies.”
At the nearby Sonnenalp Hotel, sales and marketing director Patricia McNamara said the hotel is full the first four days of July, with the rest of the week filling up, too.
The trend is also seen at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. There, general manager Kristen Pryor said reservations are picking up for the days after Tuesday.
“We have some guests who prefer to come in the next weekend (after July 4),” Pryor said. “They’re coming up to relax.”
People may be staying to avoid holiday traffic. While go-home, eastbound traffic is usually heaviest on Sundays, the Fourth of July is going to move that traffic around.
Megan Castle, of the Colorado Department of Transportation, said the Mountain Express Lane, the part-time toll lane on Interstate 70 through Clear Creek County, will be open as needed through the holiday.
Bravo! Vail Music Festival on-going
Pryor said besides holiday and other activities, guests are often driven by heat in the Denver area. Such as many summer guests, they tend to book much closer to their travel dates than ski-season guests. While ski-season bookings are usually made months in advance, summer travelers tend to book a few weeks to even days in advance of their travel dates.
Even without the holiday crowds, though, there’s plenty going on in the summer high season, from Bravo! Vail Music Festival concerts to on-mountain activities to the weekend’s Triple Bypass and more.
No matter why people visit, Bill Rey is happy to see the summer’s busy season in full swing.
Rey, owner of Vail’s Claggett-Rey Gallery, said when he sees the crowds pick up usually has more to do with Bravo! Vail than the Fourth of July.
“For us, it’s when the second-home owners come in,” Rey said.
With Bravo! starting a week early, the crowds came into Vail Village, too. While all holidays are good for business, Rey said he’s particularly fond of those that fall in the middle of the week.
“I love it,” he said. “People stay through the week; they aren’t just here for the weekend.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org or @scottnmiller.
Paul Cuthbertson set out by himself around 3 p.m. Friday from the trailhead that leads up to the Polar Star Inn, according to his father, Mike, but never made it to the popular backcountry hut as a late-spring snowstorm moved in.