Vail aims to boost early-season visits; invents new word for town-wide apres
In addition to skating, music and markets, early season will kick off 'Revely Vail' — a town-wide apres
VAIL — Unless there’s heavy, sustained snow, there’s a week or so after Thanksgiving when the resort can be pretty quiet. To goose visitation, Vail this year will roll out “Thanksgiving Reimagined.”
Plans for the week or so between Nov. 22 and Nov. 30 include ice skating events in both Vail Village and Lionshead, as well as music and a sculpture lighting at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. The featured performers haven’t been named yet, but Yann Benjamin, director of marketing for Vail and Beaver Creek, said the group is a well-known bluegrass quartet.
Events will also include lighting up sculptures, trees and businesses in the days before the town’s annual tree lighting ceremony. The parade begun last season to honor the 10th Mountain Division will continue this season, and other events include cooking classes, a gingerbread house competition among local lodges and a European-style market.
A committee made up of representatives from the town, Vail Resorts and the Vail Chamber & Business Association has also been working on a season-long effort to put a spark into the town.
The biggest element in the early season activities is new and upgraded snowmaking on Vail Mountain. That work began this year. When complete, there will be snowmaking on much of the front side of Vail Mountain.
Benjamin noted that the new snowmaking system will move the resort’s early-season focus from Born Free at Lionshead to Mid-Vail. By Thanksgiving, there will be skiable conditions on all the portals to the mountain, Benjamin said.
Vail Resorts will also support marketing efforts for something called “Revely Vail: Vail’s welcome to the brilliance of winter.”
“Revely” is a made-up word. Benjamin said the word was taken from a French word for “commencement” or “start,” adding that the real word might be a little hard to pronounce. Hence, the need to create a sort-of similar word. In this case, Revely refers to a new effort to get the town, its guests and some workers into après ski mode at 3 p.m. every day.
To do that, bells will ring at the Austria Haus, the Vail Interfaith Chapel and Arrabelle at Vail Square. Bells will ring at numerous other locations across the mountain and the town — more than 60 so far.
Organizers hope to get others involved, and there are brass bells for sale, ranging from hand-held to big table-mounted models. All have the Vail logo, of course.
Councilwoman Jenn Bruno asked if there would be one large bell to signal the start of the town-wide après ski celebrations. Benjamin said that won’t happen this year, but there have been discussions about bringing in a big bell in 2020. There could be a mobile brass bell, or one mounted on a pedestal or arch. And, he added, that bell would be automated and shielded so random guests won’t just ring the thing — something sleeping guests might not appreciate in the wee hours of the morning.
Mayor Dave Chapin said the idea for a town-wide après ski celebration brings “a lot of opportunity.” Chapin, an owner of Vendetta’s restaurant in Vail Village, noted that many of his employees work shifts that end at 3 p.m. Those people, and other employees around town, might appreciate a drink or food specials, he said.
“Let’s have some fun with this,” Chapin said, adding that the idea of a town-wide bell-ringing reminds him of being at European ski resorts.
“I love the idea,” he said.
Communications Manager Liz Wood said “The Heart of the Valley” helps with her effort to have people recognize Avon’s geographic location, and she had not been using “Endless Possibilities” much in her recent branding efforts.