Some in Vail Valley report better holiday
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Those looking for business trends from the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Colorado’s Vail Valley will find a mixed bag, ranging from “solid” to just “OK.”Cabal Yarne, owner of the Arriesgado clothing store in Lionshead, threw a good-sized sale over the weekend, and reported strong traffic.”We had a great weekend – much better than last year,” Yarne said. “It seemed like there were more people in town this year.”Nearby, business at Tom Ludwig’s Montauk restaurant was quite busy the night before Thanksgiving and solid for Friday and Saturday nights.”It was definitely better than last year,” Ludwig said. “The people who are usually here were here. It was nice to see – it made me feel like winter’s really arrived.”But we could use some snow.” In fact, the need for a couple of solid snowstorms was the one constant among the business owners and managers interviewed for this story. And there’s at least a little snow in the National Weather Service forecast for Vail for the rest of the week.But the big dump isn’t in the forecast yet.Longtime valley residents aren’t worried – yet. And those who have been in town the longest remember the days when Thanksgiving wasn’t as important to the local economy as it is today.Frank Johnson thinks he knows why.Johnson, the general manager of the Vail Mountain Lodge, has been in the valley long enough to remember when a snowy Thanksgiving was a nice bonus. These days, though, Thanksgiving helps smooth out the peaks and valleys in the winter’s revenue picture.”At Thanksgiving you’re starting to staff up for the holidays,” Johnson said. “Thanksgiving is kind of a dry run for those busier periods, and it’s nice to have some revenue coming in to pay for the staff.”You’re always hoping you’ll sell some stuff over Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t always work that way,” he added.The Vail Mountain Lodge, which also includes the Terra Bistro restaurant and the Vail Athletic Club, was a one-stop example of Thanksgiving’s mixed bag. Johnson said the spa and restaurant did pretty well over the weekend, but the hotel’s occupancy was actually down from last year.Rick Colomitz, co-owner of Rick & Kelly’s American Bistro in Edwards and Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, said the Edwards location had a pretty busy Thanksgiving weekend, due in large part to the sale of take-out Thanksgiving dinners. The Vail restaurant, though, was about as busy as it had been last year.Dan Telleen has owned the Karats jewelry store in Vail for decades now. He didn’t want to talk about sales over the weekend, but said a big part of his business involves building relationships.”We made a lot of friends this weekend,” Telleen said. “A lot of people came in to look, and a lot of people were looking at wedding rings.”Bob Trotter, general manager of the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, said he was pleased with the weekend, reporting that rooms were about 80 percent rented, but the restaurant and spa were busy.The story might be a little better for this weekend’s Birds of Prey ski races.”We’re looking good for the world cup,” Trotter said. “We’ve got a decent start to the season. We’ve just got to get some snow.”Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.