Vail Valley businesses expect a busy holiday weekend |

Vail Valley businesses expect a busy holiday weekend

Some lodges are full, or nearly so, and it can be tricky to get a reservation for a fishing or rafting trip

Social distancing is pretty easy when you're fishing, even with a friend.
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What to do? Vail will have a “static” parade July 4, 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. in Vail Village and Lionshead. Trails are busy, but social distancing should be easy. Golf courses are open. There’s fishing, rafting, cycling, hiking…

The Vail Valley won’t be shoulder-to-shoulder busy for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but plenty of people are expected to visit.

Bryan Austin, general manager of The Sebastian Hotel in Vail, said the property is expecting a full house for the nights of July 3 and July 4. On Thursday, Austin said the hotel was close to capacity for that night as well.

Austin said guests at The Sebastian are mostly driving to the valley, with Colorado, Kansas and Texas making up a good number of guests.

At the Westin Riverfront & Spa in Avon, general manager Kristen Pryor said that lodge is “very close” to full for the weekend.

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek isn’t quite as full for the holiday. Park Hyatt Director of Sales, Events and Marketing Mike Bergin said that hotel is about 70% booked for the weekend.

Bergin noted the hotel saw a decline in reservations when word came that both Avon and Beaver Creek had cancelled their fireworks this year.

But, Bergin said, business is growing each weekend. This week’s opening of Beaver Creek mountain has helped. So has Beaver Creek Village’s reopening.

Heading the right way

“We’re trending in the right direction,” Bergin said.

Summer guests generally reserve rooms closer to their travel times, and that trend continues this summer.

Austin said many guests at The Sebastian are booking rooms just a few days in advance of arrival. And, he added, the hotel is also seeing walk-in business, with people often staying two or three nights.

In Beaver Creek, Bergin said the Park Hyatt is also seeing some walk-in business, adding that seems to be a trend this summer across many Hyatt resort hotels.

“A lot of people are willing to travel, but not willing to fly,” Bergin said of the drive-in guests. “There’s a huge pent-up demand to travel.”

While the valley’s event calendar has been pared back from years past, there’s still plenty to do, and people are looking for outdoor activities.

“We don’t have much room for anyone else,” Minturn Anglers general manager Mark Sassi said. A recent “Today Show” feature on fishing during a pandemic gave a boost to the business. But, Sassi added, “we were already busy.”

Sassi noted that Minturn Anglers has 20 guides, and all of them are busy right now. Of course, it never hurts to call to check availability.

Full, at reduced capacity

At Sage Outdoor Adventures, Cole Bangert said that company is also running near capacity on its rafting and other activities. But that comes with a significant caveat: Trips are generally limited to about 50% of normal capacity.

“Our hands are slightly tied,” Bangert said, noting that Sage is complying with public health orders in multiple counties.

And there’s plenty of demand, Bangert said. “Our phones are blowing up,” he said.

Bangert is on the county’s economic reopening task force, and said the requirements make sense. But, he added, “It’s an interesting landscape to navigate.” A trip to the Shoshone section of Glenwood Canyon that usually will include 100 people now can take no more than 40 or so, he added.

People for the most part are pretty accommodating of the new rules, Bangert said. But, he added, his business is built on convenience for people used to setting their own schedules.

Still, people are coming for the holiday, and the summer seems to be shaping up reasonably well.

Pryor said people still want to get away, and are finding plenty to do while they’re here even without fireworks, parades and concerts.

“People are rafting, taking Jeep tours, ziplining and horseback riding,” Pryor said. “They can still celebrate the Fourth of July weekend in the mountains.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at

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