Vail planning winter events at a smaller, COVID-era scale |

Vail planning winter events at a smaller, COVID-era scale

Winter events will include music, warming areas, igloos and a 'Magic of Lights' walk-though display

Scott Rednor and Todd Smallie, members of Shakedown Family Band, along with other musicians, were a big summer hit in Vail at smaller-scale events. Those smaller events are likely to continue through the coming ski season.
John-Ryan Lockman | Special to the Daily
What's on tap? Vail’s resort villages will feature winter amenities including:
  • Small-scale music performances.
  • Heated tents to expand restaurant seating.
  • Firepits and warming areas.
  • A static “Magic of Lights” exhibit in Ford Park.

Larry Leith enjoyed Vail’s small-scale summer activities. He was happy to hear the town plans to keep the small-scale diversions going through ski season.

Leith, a Vail resident and owner of the Yeti’s Grind coffee shops in Vail and Eagle, said “Vail did a remarkable job” in adding to the in-town experience over the summer.

Those activities have been a kind of COVID-19-era replacement for the town’s big events. Those big events — including Snow Days and Spring Back to Vail — won’t return for the 2020-21 ski season. That means people in town will enjoy smaller-scale performances and activities that lend themselves to social distancing.

Vail Town Manager Scott Robson said the summer activities, particularly music in the resort villages and on the lower bench of Ford Park, were well-received by residents and guests.

And, in a time when musicians are having a hard time finding paid work, various promoters submitted dozens of proposals to the Vail Commission on Special Events for similar events in the winter.

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Promoters were so eager, in fact, that the commission received far more proposals than there was money available.

Robson said accepted winter proposals will likely be funded out of the Vail Town Council’s funds for event contributions. With Snow Days and Spring Back off the calendar, there’s some money available.

Music in town will be complementary to warming stations, fire pits and igloo-like structures for small family groups.

Robson said town officials and others were “pleased” with the performances put together by Scott Rednor, owner of the Shakedown Bar and Shakedown Presents.

“It was on par with what visitors were looking for,” Robson said.

For the winter, the town will add warming areas, and fire pits, along with another edition of last season’s “Revely Vail” après ski celebrations. The Vail Valley Foundation is also presenting a walk-through “Magic of Lights” display at Ford Park.

Robson added there may also be some sort of “properly spaced” tree lighting event.

Longtime resident Beth Slifer is the chairwoman of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council. That group makes recommendations for summer marketing but has also expanded its reach with the relatively new website.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Slifer said of the smaller-scale activities. “We can have attractions that are small scale, and add life and enthusiasm to the environment.”

Slifer added that she’s proud of “all the brainstorming” that’s gone into the town’s smaller-scale activities.

“We’re all excited about the result of the summer (events),” Slifer said. “With imagination, I think we’ll have much more positive (winter) results than anybody might expect.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at

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