Vail Cascade hosts Esserman for 25 years
VAIL, Colorado ” When Mr. E sees someone he knows at the Vail Cascade ” which is just about everyone ” his eyes widen.
His voice rises with excitement.
“Heeyyyy,” he says.
He smiles widely. He shakes hands.
If Mr. E is sitting in the hotel’s library, he will want to visit.
“Sit down, sit down,” Mr. E will say.
This is what happened, for instance, Tuesday when Mr. E sees Victor Picot, who is the director of banquets for the Cascade.
“He’s like an uncle to me,” says Picot, who has known Mr. E for more than a decade.
Later, Mr. E walks through the hotel, where he greets the concierge, the bellmen, the front desk workers, the cleaning ladies, all by name.
Mr. E is Paul Esserman, a Denver stockbroker who rents a room for the entire ski season at the Cascade, something he’s done each year for more than 20 years.
“I feel it’s way more than a professional hotel. It’s a sense of community and family,” Esserman says.
Esserman moves in to the Cascade when the ski season starts in November. He hangs up pictures in his hotel room, some of them photos of himself with Vail luminaries like Pepi Gramshammer. He fills the dressers full of clothes. He puts decorations on the coffee table.
During the winter, Esserman comes up to Vail each weekend, and spends several weeks of vacation here each winter, including most of December.
An avid skier, Mr. E skis 70 days a year.
When the ski season is over in April, he leaves, but still returns each month through the summer to the Cascade for short stays.
Esserman, 65, has been coming to the Cascade ever since it opened, as the Westin, in 1982. He was a guest for its second night.
“This just had the home-like feeling the minute I walked in,” he says. “It was isolated. It was the only building out here.”
But why not buy a condo, Mr. E?
“I was just so pleased with the hotel living and the surroundings,” he says. “Unlike a condo, it provided a true vacation.”
Ever consider staying at another of Vail’s fine hotels?
“Not even close,” he says.
He dines at the hotel bar or with friends around town. He usually eats lunch at the Game Creek Club, where he’s a charter member.
However, he rarely orders room service.
“I’ve probably done that five times in 20 years,” he says.
Over his years in Vail, Esserman has become active in philanthropic efforts here, supporting the Vail Valley Foundation, the Vail Mountain School, the Vail Valley Medical Center, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Jimmie Heuga Center.
“I felt a great desire to help this community,” he says.
He also funded the library at the Cascade in honor of his parents.
Esserman, who is unmarried and has no kids, says the Cascade staff is truly like his family. And the staff feels the same way.
“He’s one of us,” says concierge Steve Trombetta. “He’s our ambassador. … People are always asking, ‘Is the man who lives here still around?'”
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.