Vail: Still standing, looking to better days |

Vail: Still standing, looking to better days

Richard tenBraakVail, CO, Colorado

As you read this, there is only one more day left to the 2009 – ’10 ski season and Spring Back to Vail is in full swing. While this might not go down as the best winter ever for snow or business revenues, at least we are still standing and looking forward to better times. To paraphrase a quote I heard the other day “survival is the new success.” While I don’t think it’s total gloom and doom out there, I know some local businesses have been struggling. One positive note is that there are some little signs that tourism is going to pick back up. We are getting a lot of inquires for summer information at the Vail Chamber & Business Association, so hopefully that will equate to guests visiting and spending money in our town.As winter turns to spring, it’s the time of year when a few of the construction projects get kicked up a notch. This past week I attended the town of Vail weekly construction update meeting. If you want to attend, it’s open to the public, every Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Vail Public Library. With a few projects in the works, the disruption to our spring and summer guests, should be minimal. There will be changes to the bus schedule and routes as work is started and complete in certain areas. With the potential for three of the largest projects wrapping up this summer and fall (Solaris, Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton Residences) the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. For more information of these projects, bus schedules and other construction-related issues, be sure to check out the town’s Web site at or call Lenard Sandoval with the Vail Public Works Department, 970-479-2198 or via e-mail a week ago there was an article in one of the regional papers about Vail Resorts and their business practices. I’m not here to promote or condone Vail Resorts’ business model but I will point out the company has long stressed the importance of continuously finding ways to enhance the guest experience, including how it manages a vertical integration model that affects guest experience from booking, to arrival, through the stay, until departure. While some may feel that this can cause restrictions on some businesses, we also must consider and take into account the positives that the success of Vail Resorts has given us. Vail Resorts has actively and aggressively been trying to increase destination skier visits, which in the long run helps us all. In addition to trying to drive more skiers, Vail Resorts has also made major increases and advancements to the on mountain infrastructure that sometimes they don’t get credit for. These include upgrades to lifts and up hill capacity, increases in snowmaking capabilities (Golden Peak and early season race training), increases in grooming and trail maintenance efforts (I know you’ve seen the snow cat parade and followed them for some fresh corduroy) and of course the focus on customer service and the great scores Vail Resorts and our town has received. Some items you might not even be aware of are the on going beetle kill mitigation work Vail Resorts is doing in conjunction with the National Forest Service. This work is to help counter the existing and future beetle kill and to managing to the possible long-term effects it could have on us to us visually, financially and, most important, the reduction or control of potential wildfires. In addition to all this, Vail Resorts has also supported the local community with concerts and events, such as this week’s Spring Back to Vail. What about their Lindsey Vonn partnership? That resulted in vast national media attention for Vail. Then there’s the strength Vail’s marketing team is bringing to the table with numerous collaborative efforts taking place year ’round with the town of Vail. The money and the manpower Vail Resorts is dedicating to make this all happen cannot and should not go unnoticed.The Vail Chamber & Business Association is the leading business advocacy group in Vail and is a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber and what it has to offer, please contact us at (970) 477-0075 or email Based in Vail Village, our office is located in the transportation center and our doors are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stop by and say hello!Richard tenBraak is Executive Director of the Vail Chamber & Business Association.

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