Carnes: Strudelfest in Vail?
Warning for all guests contemplating a visit to the Vail Valley this winter: The recent Hallmark Channel movie, “Winter in Vail,” has as much to do with the real Vail Valley as the Denver Broncos do with the upcoming Super Bowl.
After a number of locals kept chattering about it on social media, my bride, always in the mood for a Hallmark movie, convinced me to give it a go, in spite of me not exactly being a Hallmark movie kind of guy.
I have been known, however, to tear up during overly sappy commercials involving puppies, kids and/or beer.
In a nutshell, the movie revolves around a successful yet unfulfilled event planner from Los Angeles whose deceased uncle wills her a chalet in Vail so she quits her job and discovers love and happiness in the quaint little ski town that has a poor old decrepit area known as the Vail Village which she helps return to glory by putting on a Strudelfest.
But a chalet in Vail? To quote one of the lines in the movie, “A whole chalet?”
I didn’t know they were available in pieces, but chalets are typically found in Switzerland, although we do indeed have a Chalet Road and a Swiss Chalet restaurant (my family’s favorite, by the way) and a smattering of massive units for rent that use the name.
Upon arrival in Vail — via Spraddle Creek Road no less — the lovely Chelsea (Lacey Chabert) does what most “tourists” do (FYI we call them “guests” now) and drives through Checkpoint Charlie to park right in front of the Lancelot.
You know, just like we all do.
She meets the owner of the struggling Edelweiss “Mountain Top” Restaurant, shops at a “nice little market down the next side street” called “Vail Village Foods,” and learns how to “eat like a local” by consuming spaetzle and strudel, all washed down with Glühwein.
You know, just like we all do.
Our two lovers plan to meet at a gondola at 5, but fail to say which one, in order to go tubing at Adventure Ridge.
Suddenly viewers are taken to a lift of bright orange, green and yellow gondolas with large yellow “Vail Village” stickers on each side, and lifties wearing bright blue and yellow-striped outfits.
The very next scene is of our beautiful silver and grey Gondola One cars climbing quietly up out of the valley, followed immediately by our favorite couple inside a bright yellow gondola car for the rest of the trip to … well, whatever it was, it sure as hell wasn’t Mid-Vail, or even Eagle’s Nest.
It was a huge hotel called the Sebastian, but this one’s at the top of the mountain and looks like a leftover from an old James Bond movie surrounded by peaks eerily reminiscent of the Canadian Rockies, which of course, they were, as that’s where 95% of the filming took place.
But hey, it’s just a movie. An adorably cute, romantic feel-good comedy about unexpected love in an unexpectedly beautiful and friendly place (Canada!).
Oh, and they save the Edelweiss Restaurant (it makes the cover of the new guidebook!) along with all of the businesses in the village. As Owen (Tyler Hynes) says, “Vail Village is alive again!”
After all, this is the Hallmark channel — just remember it’s not real.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.