Vail businesses say they’re ready for Colorado Classic parking changes, crowds
Want to watch?
If you’re heading into Vail for the Colorado Classic, get into town early, take a bus or bike. You can find full parking and traffic information at www.vailgov.com.
If you don’t want to watch the Vail races in person, you have some options.
• The race will be carried live on Altitude Sports & Entertainment. That’s channel 27 on upper-valley cable systems.
The race will be broadcast from 1 to 3 p.m. Coverage will include replays and highlights.
• The Colorado Classic Tour Tracker presented by UnitedHealthcare. This free app will provide real-time coverage of both men’s and women’s races.
The app, available for both Apple and Android devices, also includes live news, details of every stage team and rider, GPS tracking and more.
• There’s a live stream at www.coloradoclassic.com/livecoverage.
VAIL — Local businesses seem ready for Vail’s stages of the Colorado Classic on Thursday, Aug. 16, and Friday Aug. 17. But this effort to bring big-time cycle racing to Vail will have some challenges.
The biggest challenge will be getting into and out of town.
Thursday’s circuit race through town will close much of Vail on the south side of Interstate 70 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Through the bulk of the day, no vehicles will be allowed on any town streets between the Vail Golf Club and the Matterhorn neighborhood. Only emergency vehicles will be allowed on the streets.
The Lionshead Village parking structure will be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Exceptions will be made for Vail Health Hospital traffic, but that must be timed between laps of the circuit race.
The Vail Village parking structure will be open, but that structure is expected to fill quickly.
Once the structures close or fill, there are limits on frontage road parking. There will be signs and cones marking parking areas.
Friday’s race — a time trial from Vail Village up Vail Pass — won’t affect traffic nearly as much as Thursday’s race. While parking and transit changes are in store, they won’t be as extensive as they are for Thursday’s races.
Best bet? Don’t drive
Town and race officials are urging people to use public transportation or bike into town.
Eagle County’s ECO Transit will provide free transportation into Vail from the park-and-ride at Freedom Park in Edwards.
Because of changes to the parking and transit systems Thursday, several businesses have adjusted their work schedules.
At the Antlers Lodge in Lionshead Village, general manager Magda King said that property is offering a free breakfast as an incentive to get to work as soon as possible Thursday.
People from the lodge have placed personal calls to everyone with a unit booked for Thursday and Friday to tell them about the road closures. For those staying at the Antlers who aren’t watching the races, the lodge is offering late check-out after 3 p.m. There will be no early check-in, either.
“We lost a couple of reservations, but we prefer that to them getting stuck,” King said, adding that the Antlers found alternate lodging in Vail for those who wanted to cancel.
At the Sitzmark Lodge in Vail Village, general manager Jeanne Fritch said that lodge’s employees will all arrive before 8 a.m. Thursday. People at the Sitzmark also called everyone with a reservation.
A couple of people canceled, Fritch said. On the other hand, the 35-room lodge is also seeing a good bit of business from people coming for the races.
A good time for an event
The timing is good for this event, Fritch said, since classes have started at many Front Range schools.
“Starting about now is when we do need some help with reservations,” she said.
Rayla Kundolf, of the Singleton Gallery, lives in Vail, so she’ll be at work early Thursday and Friday, with the rest of the store’s crew coming in after 3 p.m.
Those contacted for this story had nothing but praise for the communications efforts by the town and the Vail Valley Foundation, the local organizing group.
“They seem to be really trying to get the word out early,” Fritch said. “They had a lot of community meetings to get as many people as possible on board.”
At the Double Diamond ski shop in Lionshead Village, general manager Matt Carroll agreed that the communications efforts have been well-done, but he has some remaining questions about how the races will affect business.
“I’m a little concerned about guests being able to get access (to the villages),” Carroll said.
But, he added, the races will bring people to town.
“I think it’s a cool event to have here,” Carroll said. “Any time we can get an event like that in town it’s good.”
Fritch, an avid cyclist herself, is looking forward to the Classic events. While the circuit race peloton won’t zip past the Sitzmark, Fritch said guests will probably have a view of Friday’s time trial riders.
And Kundolf, a member of the Vail Commission on Special Events, said the Colorado Classic stages in town are something for the community to build on in coming years.
“I’m kind of excited about it,” she said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 970-748-2930.