Vail, Eagle County businesses report a strong Christmas and New Year’s holiday season |

Vail, Eagle County businesses report a strong Christmas and New Year’s holiday season

Business was about even with last season's record-setting pace

Despite often-complicated travel across the U.S. abundant snow still brought holiday crowds to the Vail Valley.
Chris Dillmann/Daily archive photo

The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are always busy in Eagle County. This season was no exception, even with some travel complications.

Josephine DeLucinge is the gallery director at the C. Anthony Gallery in Beaver Creek.

By the numbers
  • 3%: Year-over-year decline in Vail bookings between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30
  • 5.6%: Year-over-year increase in Vail bookings on Dec. 31
  • 4.5%: Year-over-year increase in Beaver Creek bookings for Dec. 30
  • 12%: Year-over-year increase in Beaver Creek bookings for Dec. 31
    Source: Vail Valley Partnership.

DeLucinge noted that even with flight cancellations and occasional closures on Interstate 70, Beaver Creek still had great snow for the season, and snow always brings guests.

“We started very slow, then built up,” DeLucinge said, adding Thursday that the resort’s parking garage had been full all day, with a number of people enjoying a sunny day on the mountain.

Buzz Schleper is the longtime owner of Buzz’s Boards in Vail Village. “We were as busy as can be,” Schleper said of the holiday business in town. “We’re seeing a lot of happy people,” he added, noting he’s seen busy days and nights at village restaurants and bars.

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Scott Rednor owns the Shakedown Bar in Vail Village. Rednor said his holiday season was “pretty strong. … Nights have been good, but nothing crazy,” he added.

Schleper skis every day he’s able. As of Thursday, Vail Mountain had been open 56 days, and he’d been on the mountain for every one of those days.

Schleper said the mountain has seen a lot of people during the holidays. But, he added, the lifts seem to be running a little faster to get those people on the mountain.

“The catwalks get a little crowded, but if you’re a local, you know where to go,” he said, refusing to divulge any of his secrets.

Larry Leith owns the Yeti’s Grind coffee shops in Vail Village, Edwards and Eagle. Leith said the Vail store often had lines from the counter to the door over the holiday season. But, he added, the crew in the store was able to get people in and out quickly.

“We have such a good group, they make it seem easier,” Leith said, adding that this year’s staffing level is pretty solid.

At the Eagle County Regional Airport, plenty of cars moved in and out with the guests.

Chris Baddick is also appreciative of his staff this season. Baddick owns the Dollar and Thrifty car rental franchises at the airport, as well as Cooley Mesa Detailing, which cleans and services rental cars after they’ve been returned.

Baddick said the Thrifty and Dollar operations sent out virtually the same number of cars over this holiday season as the year before.

It’s a good thing the Cooley Mesa Detailing employees know their jobs. Baddick said that crew washed and serviced 285 cars on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The busiest day the previous year was 276 vehicles.

The main difference between this season and the year before is a decline in rates, Baddick said. As travel has normalized somewhat, people are more price-sensitive, he added.

Baddick said long-term trends at the airport are hard to spot. In Jackson, Wyoming, where he also runs a car rental agency, reservations come in between four and six weeks in advance. In Eagle County, it’s common for reservations to come in four to six days in advance.

“People really follow the snow in Vail,” he said.

But, he added, the three-day weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Jan. 16 — will be sold out.

“I feel like things are moving in the right direction,” he said.

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