Vail 50th anniversary: Summer survival |

Vail 50th anniversary: Summer survival

Randy Wyrickrwyrick@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum | Special to theCharlie Gersbach headed up hotel sales and marketing during the early days of Vail

VAIL, Colorado – Charlie Gersbach believed in customer service, and they didn’t have to be his customers.In the summer of 1962, Vail business was so lean that pioneers were trying to figure out which part of a pine tree was edible.In his former corporate life, Gersbach was in hotel marketing and sales. In 1962 Vail’s Powers That Be hired him to do that for Vail.Compared to Vail these days, not that many people showed up for the winter of 1962. That summer you could throw rocks without hitting a paying customer.No one was here the summer after the inaugural winter, and no one was coming.Gersbach told the tale about the meeting he had with a few of the original investors who decided the place needed to be an active resort and not a private enclave. For that to happen, they had to put some butts in beds.So Gersbach pulled a suit and tie out of the back of his closet – a vestige of his corporate days – and drove to Colorado Springs. He walked into the Broadmoor’s sales department like he worked there. And he blended in with the suits.In those days a hotel’s group clients were listed on a chalkboard in the sales department – both those with signed contracts and prospects, Gersbach said.Gersbach strapped a studious look on his face, purposefully strode over to that chalkboard and started writing down the names of the Broadmoor’s prospects.That done, he drove back to Vail and started working the phones, convincing several of those Broadmoor prospects that they’d be better served with a trip to a quaint ski resort nestled in the middle of the Rockies.”Trying to market summer Vail is nothing new,” Gersbach said.We’re not saying that in 1966 that’s how Vail landed the 46th annual meeting of Rocky Mountain Society of Orthodontists, but they ended up here and not somewhere else.Gersbach, or course, was one of the partners who developed Manor Vail in the 1960s.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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