Howard: This is our moment to shine |

Howard: This is our moment to shine

Beth Howard
Valley Voices
Beth Howard

Here we are at the end of January. The holidays absolutely flew by, and I hope you all got a chance to enjoy the season with us. I also hope you got out on the hill to enjoy an incredibly snowy January! Our January powder days have been some of the best ever.

Aside from a festive holiday season, I’m happy to report that both of our lift projects are complete! While we experienced some delays, we really made an effort to keep you as informed as possible throughout the dynamic construction process this winter. We now have all 32 lifts operational across our 5,317 acres of terrain.

We’ve also brought to life more than 14 unique food and beverage outlets: Mid Vail (upper and lower have two different menus) and the new Mid Vail Beer Window, Eagle’s Nest, The 10th, Two Elk, Bistro 14, Simba’s Café, The Eagle’s Nest Ice Bar, The Wildwood Ice Bar, Wildwood Smokehouse, The Coop, Dawg Haus, Belle’s Camp, Buffalo’s, Express Lift, and of course — our self-service grills. Oh, and have you caught one of our new Strudel Time morning delights?

In the villages, our retail and hospitality teams have also been hard at work. Retail opened a new rental location called Pinnacle in Lionshead, and our hospitality team completed a renovation to Cucina at The Lodge at Vail, and they opened The Belle — a new café in Lionshead. Be sure to check them out.

It’s been a wonderful season so far and I’m so grateful to our team and for all of their hard work and commitment. We couldn’t do it without them.

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Next on deck — Feb. 4-11 we’ll be hosting the National Brotherhood of Skiers for its 50th Anniversary Summit. This is a partnership with the town of Vail and our entire community, and I’m excited to put our best foot forward. We want Vail Mountain to set the benchmark for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone who wants to come and experience skiing and riding, and our seven Legendary Back Bowls.

For many years, our industry existed with barriers to entry, and by that, I mean barriers beyond the cost. To many, it’s felt exclusive and elusive. Not just out of reach, but sometimes unwelcoming. What if I don’t carry my skis the right way? What if I don’t wear the right clothes? What if I don’t speak the lingo? There’s not one way to ski and ride, and there’s not one way to enjoy our beautiful mountains. We want to embrace and welcome everyone. Equity, inclusion and diversity are real focus areas for us moving into the next 60 years.

This is our opportunity to change and set the tone for the industry. I’m so excited to be hosting the National Brotherhood of Skiers — it’s going to be fun. From the Opening Ceremony and Parade to the on-mountain barbeque — this is one of the best events in all of skiing. I can’t wait, and I hope you join us for the event. We’re proud and honored to be the host venue for this milestone event.

This is a season full of celebration, and more than ever — it’s our moment to shine.

Beth Howard is vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.

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