Two Vails: We’re ready for recession |

Two Vails: We’re ready for recession

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” There is a game plan for surviving this winter’s economic storm, town of Vail and Vail Resorts officials told local homeowners Monday.

Vail homeowners were assured that the town and the resort are in good financial shape and are working hard to make sure Vail stays afloat in a bleak economic climate.

Vail Resorts officials also assured homeowners that while numbers will be down this season, the company is still financially secure and committed to investing in the town.

“Over the last four to five years, we’ve reinvested a tremendous amount of money on our existing resorts, restaurants, amenities and real estate,” Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said at a Vail Homeowner’s Association meeting. “We’ve also paid down our debt. That gives us options and abilities to survive this downturn.”

The 60,000 Epic Passes the company sold this season will also help bring visitors to the town, he said.

The company also plans to finish its current development projects in Vail, Katz said.

That’s good news, and it puts Vail ahead of many other economies, said Vail homeowner Tony McMunn.

“I’ve seen projects stop dead in their tracks in other places,” he said.

The town of Vail also has several backup plans for surviving the recession, officials said.

“We’re in good financial health as far as reserves go,” said Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler. “We’re on plan ‘A’ right now.”

The town is already considering revenue generating ideas for the future after the current slew of development is finished, Zemler said.

The town said it is trying to attract visitors to spend in Vail through a $550,000 marketing campaign designed to bring Front Range skiers to Vail. The campaign also organizes local businesses to offer deals and packages.

McMunn said he is encouraged that the town and the resort seem prepared for tough times.

“They said they have no idea how this is going to turn out, because nobody does,” he said. “But the fact that they have a plan A, B and C ” that tells me that they’re thinking.”

Katz said the resort is doing the same thing by offering lodging and ticket packages, as well as making sure that the visitors who do come continue to have the same “world-class experience.”

He told homeowners that the resort wants to help rejuvenate some of the older areas of town, too.

“Many people who come here don’t differentiate between the mountain and the town,” Katz said. “The complaint has been that we are catering to the ultra high-end guest, and we all know that’s not what’s at the base of the mountain.”

Vail business owner Bart Cuomo said he thinks both the town and the resorts are taking the right steps.

“The community, resort and town have done the best they can,” he said. “Based on what we’re seeing, people are coming, and people are going to come. Numbers are going to be down, but it won’t be like what we’ll see nationally.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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