Vail Resorts awards staff for ‘Epic Service’ |

Vail Resorts awards staff for ‘Epic Service’

Daily staff report

VAIL — Vail Resorts announced the winners of the 2013 Epic Service Awards, recognizing 11 employees across all resorts and lines of business within the company. Five of the 2013 recipients reside in Eagle County and include Bob Long from Vail Mountain, Richard Knapp from Beaver Creek, Paul Gorbold from Colorado Mountain Express, Jennifer Pope from RockResorts and Anna Townsend from Specialty Sports Venture.

The Epic Service Award is the highest level of recognition for guest service at Vail Resorts, and it is earned and awarded to those employees who exceed expectations, have innovative guest service ideas and embody the company’s service mantra, “Own it. Personalize it. Elevate it.” Each of the five Eagle County award winners has a personal story that demonstrates the ways in which he or she went above and beyond to provide an exceptional experience or service for a guest.

Bob Long, an employee with the Golden Peak Ski & Snowboard School at Vail, received the Epic Service Award at Vail Mountain. When a local school brought students to the resort during Learn to Ski Week, Long was assigned to work one-on-one with a young boy who had been having a hard time at school and at home. The boy ultimately became very attached to Long by the time the program ended, and Long ended up volunteering at the school with the boy throughout the entire ski season. Not only did he continue to develop a great relationship with the boy, but the rest of his family as well.

Richard Knapp, an employee with the Beaver Creek Adult Ski School in winter and a High Mountain Adventure Jeep Tour guide in summer, received the Epic Service Award at Beaver Creek. Last summer while he was out with guests on a tour, thunder began to echo through the resort and lightning crashed overhead as a fast-moving storm rolled into the valley. With a full load of guests in the Jeep, Knapp began to make his way down the mountain when he spotted a family hiking down, drenched from the storm. Knapp immediately turned around and went back up the mountain to find the family after learning Ski Patrol couldn’t get there fast enough.

Paul Gorbold, health and safety manager for Colorado Mountain Express, was notified of an accident that had taken place with one of the CME vans while transporting some guests last winter. No one was injured, but it was later realized that there had been damage done to a guest’s ski bag. Gorbold took ownership of the recovery by reaching out to Vail Resorts’ contacts at Specialty Sports Venture and then offering to visit the guest personally and assist with purchasing a replacement ski bag.

Jennifer Pope, a concierge at The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, received the Epic Service Award for Vail Resorts’ hospitality division, RockResorts. When an excited yet nervous guest approached Pope about helping him plan a special marriage proposal to his girlfriend, she happily obliged. They decided that the sleigh ride to Beano’s Cabin for dinner would be the perfect opportunity to pop the question. Pope called in some coworkers around the resort to help her build a snowman that the sleigh would stop at on the way to Beano’s, complete with a carrot nose and red scarf. She also arranged for rose petals and glittering candles to be set out on the sparkling snow, a Cadillac ride for the couple to their private snowcat, and a photographer and videographer to help capture the event.

Anna Townsend, assistant manager at the Beaver Creek Sports location at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, received the Epic Service Award for Vail Resorts’ retail division, Specialty Sports Venture. One day during the winter, a guest arrived at Townsend’s store to inquire about rentals and mentioned that the group was travelling with eight children, all of whom needed equipment. Knowing that parading that many children through the rental shop could be a potentially stressful situation, Townsend offered to visit the group’s hotel room for an in-room fitting. The guest loved this idea and also asked if Townsend could pick out a full outfit for each child. Townsend put together head-to-toe outfits for all the kids, and also brought along full outfits for the parents, too.

The final Epic Service Award winners are chosen from each resort and line of business across the company and are awarded with an all-expense paid, multi-day trip to one of the company’s resorts, lodging and activities, an exclusive dinner with Vail Resorts’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz and members of the Vail Resorts executive committee, as well as other surprises. This year’s trip will take place July 15-18 at Breckenridge.

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