Sundance Saloon closes its doors |

Sundance Saloon closes its doors

Daily Staff Report

VAIL ” Like high gas prices, ridiculous rents and expensive groceries, it’s been a part of life here in Vail for the last 24 years. And now … it’s coming to an end.

Yes, the sun will set March 31 on “the last of the real ski bars,” the Sundance Saloon in Lionshead, and they’ll be celebrating with a bash. That night will mark the end of an era in Vail, going back to the days when disco ruled, the untracked powder lasted at least half a day, and at the end of that day you could head down the mountain for a cold, cheap beer and something called a kamikaze in a classic, barnboard-covered apres ski bar.

Owners Ralph Dockery and Tom Olsen opened the bar shortly after arriving from Southern California in 1981. Lionshead was only 10 years old, just coming into its prime. Since that time, Vail and the ski industry as a whole have been reinvented many times over to appeal to changing demographics and markets, with local businesses ” bars in particular ” constantly repositioning themselves to cash in on the latest trend.

Throughout it all, the Sundance has remained as it started, a classic small, base-of-the-ski area bar, complete with barnboard walls, pool table in the corner, and the requisite collection of colorful local characters, including, but not limited to, lift operators, ski instructors, wayward tourists and authentic, unemployed ski-bums.

“We’ve pretty much seen it all over the last 24 years and had plenty of great times,” Dockery said. “And, we’ve made a lot of wonderful friends, from locals, to tourists, looking for a taste of ski town flavor. Some of our current customers have been coming here for their after-work beer since the first day we opened. We’re sure going to miss them.”

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