Vail Chamber: Come for the winter, stay for the summer (column) |

Vail Chamber: Come for the winter, stay for the summer (column)

Matt Gruesbeck
Vail Chamber

When I moved to Vail nearly five years ago, it was for the same reasons as most transplants: the love of the mountains and, specifically, the love for skiing and snowboarding. Everything else was an afterthought. I had only visited Vail a few times, and when I did, all I paid attention to was the powder and the food.

That first winter was like nothing I had ever experienced. The powder was deep, the apres was vibrant and the season flew by. As the temperatures began to rise and the snow melted, I started to hear the locals express their excitement for the summer.

Changed my mind

The thought of summers in Vail never once crossed my mind in the decision to pack up and move west. I wondered, what are summers like in the mountains, what do people do? Then I heard it for the first time, “Everyone comes for the winter, but stays for the summer.” No way, I thought to myself. The winter and the dream of double-digit blower powder days are what it’s all about.

Fast forward to present day, and I couldn’t agree more with that age-old saying. The summers in Vail are much more than I could have ever imagined. Like most, I’ve somehow managed to accumulate more summer gear than winter gear, and I find myself struggling each weekend to find enough time for all of my favorite activities. There just isn’t enough time in the day to run, bike, golf, raft and camp — or is there?

The town, as we all know, takes a break during the month of May, and then the summer kicks off with the GoPro Mountain Games in early June. The Mountain Games are a wonderful summertime event with activation throughout both villages and events for all ages. If you missed them, then don’t fret too much because the summer in Vail is packed full of events all summer long. There are activities for all ages, such as Vail Jazz, Hot Summer Nights, Bravo! Vail, Vail Bluegrass and many more.

As a lender, board member of the Vail Chamber of Business and “local,” I am forever grateful for these events that are supported by many wonderful local and national organizations and companies. They not only fill the parking structures, hotel beds and restaurants with our guests, but they provide a fantastic atmosphere for locals as well.

The winters may have attracted us to the mountains, but it’s the summers that bring us closer together as a community. Like many before me, I can now say that I, too, “came for the winter, and stayed for the summer.”

So get out there and enjoy the many activities and exciting events that Vail has to offer. If it’s solitude and adventure you seek, then I hear there is plenty of wilderness to explore, as well.

Matt Gruesbeck is the assistant vice president of FirstBank Eagle County. He is a board member of the Vail Chamber & Business Association. The Vail Chamber & Business Association is a business advocacy group in Vail and a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. For more information, call 970-477-0075 or email

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