Vail: ‘Nice to see faces in town’ |

Vail: ‘Nice to see faces in town’

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyEagles Nest cook Marco Lanari, center, pours out a fresh batch of crawfish to be served while Francisco Perez, right, watches Sunday on Colorado's Vail Mountain during CarniVail's Crawfish Boil. The Crawfish Boil ran out of crawfish half way through the time they had to serve the traditional Mardi Gras food.

VAIL, Colorado ” The Roxy store in Vail, Colorado was pretty busy with a steady stream of shoppers this weekend, said store manager Molly Summerhill.

“We were very pleasantly surprised,” she said. “It was nice to see faces in town again.”

With President’s Day weekend past, some businesses, like Roxy, continued to see some holiday-sized crowds. This weekend was actually busier than last, Summerhill said.

“We saw a lot of people ” more than we’ve seen for the past two weeks,” she said, adding that the village streets weren’t only filled by Front Range skiers, but out-of-town guests.

Vail Ski Tech in Lionshead also had a busier weekend compared to the holiday weekend, said store manager .

American Ski Exchange owner Tom Higgins said he was pleasantly surprised at the traffic through the village this weekend, though he thinks many of them were Front Range skiers.

Even though Front Range skiers usually don’t buy or rent from the ski shops, he said he’s still grateful for the traffic.

“I think it’s due to the Epic Pass holders,” he said. “Those people can’t help but walk by, and that can’t hurt.”

Some lodges, such as the Sitzmark Lodge, Vail Cascade Resort and the Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa, still reported strong numbers, thanks to the help of various promotions and room deals.

The Vail Cascade Resort was about a 90 percent full this weekend, said Matthew Martinucci, director of sales and marketing for the hotel.

However, some of those rooms are being filled by guests taking advantage of a “buy three nights, get the fourth free” promotion, and other discounted room rates. Such deals wouldn’t be available in a normal season, Martinucci said.

“The rates are lower than we’d like,” he said. “But definitely the volume (of guests) was good. People are looking to make deals and willing to come.”

The Vail Mountian Lodge and Spa in Vail Village had a similar weekend. The hotel was 95 percent full, but revenue is still lagging because of promotions, said general manager Frank Johnson.

The hotel is offering packages for discounted rooms along with dinner and spa treatments, as well as “buy three, get one free” deals.

“This year we’re giving up a lot of revenue on our average rates because of the discounts,” Johnson said. “We’re seeing our rates off about 10 to12 percent. But then how much worse would we be doing if all that wasn’t going on?”

Weekends have been strong all season, but business has been dropping off significantly during the week, he said.

More Coloradans are coming in for weekend trips, while destination guests are coming for shorter periods, he said.

February has been a better month for business than January, but revenues are still falling behind, some businesses said.

Some said they’ve had lower expectations for business, meaning that an “OK” or “on par” week suddenly becomes a “good” week.

The Sitzmark Lodge was near occupancy this weekend but still had rooms available, said Jeannie Fritch, general manager of the Sitzmark Lodge.

“It’s a little disappointing not to sell out on a Saturday night, but it was still pretty good for us,” she said.

Business was down about 5 percent in January compared to the previous year, and this month it is down about 4 percent, she said.

The hotel expects to stay busy the next few weeks, but late March and Easter are still looking sparse, she said.

Sapphire Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Vail Village saw a good amount of diners, said manager Amy Oberley.

“(The amount of business) beat my forecast by quite a bit, so I’m not complaining,” she said.

Up the Creek Restaurant business was “on par” this weekend, said manager Patrick Stadler. The restaurant has done pretty well the last two weekends, and an early bird special has generated some weekday business, he said.

“It’s slow, but not as slow as we were expecting, we’re doing a little better than we thought we’d be,” Stadler said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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