Vail Chamber: We as locals must represent Vail (column) |

Vail Chamber: We as locals must represent Vail (column)

Matt Gruesbeck
Vail Chamber

That buzz, that seemingly magical feeling in the air? If you focus on it hard enough it’s almost as if that feeling even has a sound. What is it? It’s all around town. From the shops to the restaurants to everything in between. People are talking about it and people are smiling.

I know you are probably thinking to yourself, “Duh, it’s snowing.” But it’s more than just the snow. It’s what the snow has created in this valley that I haven’t felt in what feels like a decade. It’s that energy and bliss that the snow brings to everyone and everything in this valley. It’s why we came here. Remember back to that first time you felt it, most can remember it because it’s when a lot of us decided that this place was special, it was home.

All to myself

Growing up in the Midwest when winter settled in for its cold and bitter stay it was a different feeling in the air. It was cold, very cold and damp. That cold that rattles your bones. Nobody likes that feeling and most people despised the winter and they wanted to escape it.

I visited Vail for the first time during spring break as a freshman in high school and my life would never be the same. The resorts I frequented back home became too flat and too small in comparison to the world class skiing at Vail Mountain and the atmosphere the town of Vail provided. I, like many of you reading this, loved it so much I decided to make the move and call this valley home.

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Living in the Vail Valley is amazing and sometimes we feel like we don’t want to share it with anyone because we want endless powder turns on blower days and for the bars to not be overly crowded for apres. However, we as locals must remember one very important thing: The tourist is the lifeblood of our economy. We need them now more than ever as the ski industry continues to evolve.

With more resorts joining the Epic Pass each year and the new Ikon Pass, the consumer can now sit back and wait to decide where they want to vacation based on the snow conditions easier than ever before. We are thankful this year has started off great with Vail Mountain opening early for the first time in over a decade with tons of early season terrain. This buzz should help drive tourist traffic to the area for the holiday season, but what do we do in years of bad snow or if this year has a warm spell?

Create Memorable Experiences

With the growing competition between ski resorts, we as locals must take it upon ourselves to help make Vail continue to be great despite the snow conditions. So whether it’s at work or in your free time when you’re enjoying the mountain and the town amenities, I encourage you to look out for ways to make a visitor’s experience memorable.

Be kind to them in the lift lines, greet them with a smile, give them directions when they seem lost, make a new friend at apres and buy them a beer. It’s the little things that we as locals can do to help make this place special for everyone and will keep the town buzzing for years to come.

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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