Vail holiday: ‘It was kind of like the old days’ |

Vail holiday: ‘It was kind of like the old days’

NWS Ppl. in Vail KA 12-26-10

VAIL, Colorado – People want hand-made boots again.

The Kemo Sabe gallery in Vail Village stocks Lucchese boots made from South American cayman alligators. The boots retail for $1,400 per pair, and as recently as 2007, Kemo Sabe couldn’t keep them in stock.

For the past two Christmases, the boots have languished on the shelves, as even high-end customers cut back on their spending. This year, though, Kemo Sabe company president James Anderton said that the boots are selling again – not in boom-time numbers, but selling nonetheless.

“Our Vail store has been doing fantastic this Christmas,” Anderton said. “We’re up about a third from the last two Christmases.”

At Buzz’s Board, manager Neil Conroy said that shop is buzzing over the holiday week.

“It’s feels like old times,” Conroy said. “We’ve been really, really busy.”

As opposed to the last couple of Christmases, Conroy said people aren’t just renting gear, either.

“We’ve sold out of maybe half our inventory,” Conroy said, adding that people are mostly buying skis and boards with new “rocker” shapes.

While people seem to be buying again, willy-nilly spending is still out.

Cabal Yarne, owner of the Arriesgado clothing shop in Lionshead, said it was a “very merry Christmas” at his store.

“People are looking for newer, fresher styles, but they’re still looking at the prices,” Yarne said. But, with a busier Christmas weekend, Yarne said he’s looking forward to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, traditionally one of the busiest weeks of any ski season.

In Beaver Creek, Jim Lay, general manager of Rocks Modern Grill in the Beaver Creek Lodge said the hotel is full, and the restaurant is humming. But again, what people order has been a mixed bag, with some ordering full meals and fancy wines, and others just grabbing appetizers and a cocktail or two.

But with Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Saturdays, this holiday week doesn’t have much spill-over – people who come in a day or two before a holiday and leave a day or two after.

“Everybody seems to be coming in at Christmas and leaving at New Year’s,” Lay said.

The Vail Valley Jet Center provides fuel and other services to those who fly into the valley on corporate and private jets. General Manager Paul Gordon said his crews are working like mad to take care of clients, but added that the busiest days so far this season were Saturday and Sunday. He expects the same to be true for people flying this coming weekend.

Still, Gordon said December traffic at the Jet Center is up about 3 percent over the same month last year.

Green Limousine owner Seth Bounds said his business is up slightly this year, too. At the moment, though, business is going full-tilt.

“It’s hard to tell how much, though, because we’re so busy right now,” Bounds said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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