Vail Daily column: What I’m thankful for |

Vail Daily column: What I’m thankful for

November is the time of year that we tend to express our thanks. As we celebrate Opening Day in Vail today, and are fortunate enough to celebrate Opening Day again next week in Beaver Creek, it serves a great reminder of how thankful I am for this community.

I’m thankful for Vail Resorts, for their leadership in providing a best in class on-mountain experience for our visitors and locals alike. They deserve recognition for their continuous investment in capital projects, helping to keep our communities vibrant and our guest experience front of mind.

I’m thankful for the Vail Valley Foundation, for all they do in our community. Not just the obvious (operations of the Vilar Performing Arts Center and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, the Vail International Dance Festival and the operations of the World Cup, USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the upcoming World Alpine Ski Championships) but for their efforts with the Youth Foundation and commitment to education.

I’m thankful for the Eagle County Regional Airport, for providing convenient access to our guests and second-home owners. The economic impacts of the airport equal $635,901,268 (source: 2013 Economic Impact Study for Colorado Airports) and growing our air service is vital to our continued growth as a tourism destination and as a community. Approximately 25 percent of guests report they would visit a different destination if they could not access Vail/Beaver Creek via the EGE airport.

I’m thankful for Eagle County Schools and the leadership of the school board and superintendent Jason Glass. I encourage everyone to read “Unparalleled Altitude: A Globally Inspired Vision for Eagle County Schools” to learn about the vision for the school district. A strong school system is essential to a strong community, providing customized learning opportunities and leading to a strong workforce for the business community.

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I’m thankful for our vibrant nonprofit community, from our large nonprofits such as the Vail Valley Medical Center and the Vail Valley Foundation to our smaller (yet critical) nonprofits with few staff providing huge community benefits such as Vail Valley Charitable Fund and Bright Future Foundation. There are too many to list — and too many different areas that our nonprofits impact — but we wouldn’t be the community we are without their impacts. Don’t forget Eagle County Gives Day on Dec. 10 for your opportunity to support these groups (details at

I’m thankful for the various chambers and merchant groups throughout the valley, providing vital business services to their stakeholders and a connection to the business community to municipal governments. Cooperation amongst the various merchant groups within the community help to strengthen their value to the business community.

I’m thankful for our community being filled with business leaders who volunteer their time and expertise outside of their organizations, thus providing leadership and vision to our community. We are all stronger and greatly benefit when business professionals volunteer to serve on nonprofit boards, chamber boards and other volunteer groups such as school PTAs and community groups. Servant leadership — putting the needs of others first and helping others develop and perform at a high level — is evident in the Vail Valley, and we’re all better off for it.

I’m thankful for the culture of service that exists in the Vail Valley. The culture of customer service creates a welcoming environment and helps build our brand and create customer loyalty. The focus on creating an atmosphere of customer service is not evident in all communities and it’s essential to our continued success.

I’m thankful for the Vail Valley Partnership staff, a group who work hard every day to provide the highest level of service and to continuously focus on adding value to our members, our municipalities and our stakeholders. We work hard to live up to our mission to take the leadership role to create and manage collaborative programs that encourage economic development and result in increased destination tourism.

Last, but certainly not least, I’m thankful that it is almost December so that I don’t have to read about why people are thankful on Facebook for much longer.

Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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