Colorado mountain communities have been known for several years now as having high rates of suicide. More recently Colorado was been declared a “Mental Health State of Emergency” by the Colorado Children’s Hospital due to the amount of suicide attempts in our communities.
Fortunately, just prior to the Pandemic, Eagle County had begun efforts to destigmatize mental health issues, and provide access to mental health resources.
Earlier this week local non-profit SpeakUp ReachOut offered a program called Mental Health First Aid For Hospitality Workers. Two sessions were offered. One in English and one in Spanish.
Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.
Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.
Many of the Antlers at Vail housekeeping team attended to learn how they can help their family, community and even visitors.
In the shoulder season, activity around the Antlers at Vail slows down a little. It’s in this season that our staff likes to take time to see how we can give back to our community. There are a wide variety of excellent charitable organizations in the Vail Valley. One Sunday this fall, we shuttled down-valley to Gypsum to give our friends at Roundup River Ranch a helping hand.
About Roundup River Ranch
Roundup River Ranch is an incredible organization. They specialize in providing children the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors at summer camp. The children invited to Roundup River Ranch are some of the bravest around; they are those that face serious illnesses everyday. Their campers have the opportunity to take a true vacation from being “a patient” and get back to the fun of being a child. At the camp children are provided the medical, physical and emotional support of healthcare professionals – All the while having a great time participating in activities like horseback riding, canoeing, stargazing, and making arts and crafts. Camp at Roundup River Ranch is always free of charge for all kids and families who attend. This worthy non-profit is funded by the communities that the camp serves.
We were grateful for the opportunity to volunteer with Roundup River Ranch. We spent a day out of the office, and away from the condominiums that we usually look after, to clean the facilities at Roundup River Ranch. At the end of their busy summers it’s all about the cleaning, and we were happy to pitch in for the cause. Some photos of our staff helping out are shown in the gallery below. If you would like to make a donation to Roundup River Ranch, we invite you do so. Just visit the Roundup River Ranch website by following this link.
To celebrate International Housekeeping Week, the Antlers housekeeping team took a field trip to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. The pollinators were out in force (HOORAY!), as you can see from a couple of the flower pictures. A grand time was had by all! Antlers also gave each team member a small packet of wildflower seeds to plant at their homes.
The complete line up of fun activities housekeepers have the opportunity to experience this week in celebration of International Housekeeping Week:
Sunday – Management provided the housekeeping team with breakfast, including breakfast burritos, yogurt, fresh fruit, donuts & pastries, juice & smoothies.
Monday – Housekeeping arrived to find their offices festively decorated. Because some of the team wasn’t here on Sunday, they received breakfast again with yogurt & pastries.
Tuesday – A colorful field trip to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens & seed packets to take home.
Wednesday – Karaoke Margarita Party
Thursday – Pampering Extravaganza – chair massages plus gift bags that include face masks, hand lotions, bath bombs, and aromatherapy candles
I was 28 years old, and it was the first day of my second job in this country.
To earn this job, I had to convince the General Manager (Rob) that I was a great candidate for the Conference Services Manager position. When I described my previous work experiences, I had told Rob that my mom was a Chef. I worked under her wing for numerous events.
As you can imagine, when your mother is your boss, you can take anything! From very little pay to carrying a heavy tray with 10 dinner plates from point A to point B. While managing the bar. Lighting up the sternos in the chafing dishes. Accepting the blame for anything that went wrong. Rob laughed wondering if I was exaggerating — I was not.
I also told Rob that I was very loyal, and I promised him that in this -so-ever-changing-valley-, I would stay with the property for 5 years. After that, I would have to move on for my own professional growth. But that while I was working for him, he would have my all: my work ethic, my integrity, my five languages, and my honest opinion on how to make our property better. I’m so glad he hired me.
I’ve loved the Antlers since the beginning. My co-workers have always had the best hearts, the greatest sense of humor and gratitude. I think that these traits are the ones that our guests sense when they arrive. It’s not only that our housekeepers are proud of their impeccable rooms. Or that the maintenance department is always eager to avoid any technical issues and address a problem. Or that our Front Desk Staff is diligently looking for ways to make your stay more enjoyable. It is the combination of all of our talents that make us different than anybody else in the valley. And I truly think, in the country.
In a marketing workshop which I recently participated, the speaker asked us to write the vision that we have for our business. This is what I wrote: The Antlers is the place where the owners, employees, and guests alike feel truly at home. By home, I mean: loved, respected, embraced, nurtured, rested and important. Where anybody is welcome and with each interaction, they will experience the true meaning of service and how this simple act of kindness can change the world.
There hasn’t been one day in these 12 years that the Antlers hasn’t given me the wonderful gift of serving others and give the best of myself. I am forever grateful for this place! And if you haven’t experienced it yet, I welcome you. I promise you that we will love you, respect you, embrace you, nurture you and warmly make you feel at home….
Hannah Hervert at Cornell University where she will attend this fall.
Hannah Hervert is an ambitious, aspiring hotelier and marketing professional. Over the past few years, we at the Antlers at Vail have had the privilege of working with her. She started with us as an intern, assisting with our conference, and housekeeping departments. She also helped come up with some fun, new amenities that we have since added to our ongoing list of excellent amenities. Since her internship and graduating from high school, we had an open position on our guest services team that we offered to her. Hannah excelled at this – providing our guests with top-notch service, and attention to detail. We are proud to share that her hard work has truly paid off. She has officially been accepted to Cornell University’s Hospitality Management program where she will begin studying this fall. We are simply ecstatic for her to attend Cornell and begin her collegiate journey. I asked Hannah how she felt about her experience here at the Antlers, and here’s what she had to say:
“My experience at the Antlers has been one that I will never forget. Every single person here has opened up their arms to me, and I have never felt out of place. During the first year of being an intern, I learned so much about how each department works, and ultimately how all of the departments blend together to make up the amazing hotel that we have today. Through moving up to working the front desk, I have learned the importance of guest relations, kindness, and putting others needs before myself. This is knowledge that I will take with me throughout my schooling and future career. The Antlers has given me vast opportunities, and I feel so fortunate to be able to say that I have worked here.
As I am moving on to the next phase of my life at Cornell University, I am confident that the teachings that I have learned at the Antlers will help me in pursuing my Hospitality Management degree. I plan to seek two minors in real estate and communications, and I would like to go into marketing in the hospitality industry. Cornell has always been my dream school, and I am so excited to be able to learn from some of the greatest professors in the country, and to be able to share my hospitality passion with my classmates. I will be sitting in the same classrooms and walking on the same paths that many of my idols have (Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bill Nye to name a couple). I am beyond excited to leave for Cornell, and I will always remember my time here at the Antlers.”
Our feelings are mutual. We feel very fortunate to have worked with Hannah. Our Assistant General Manager, Kim Rediker, also wanted to share her experience in working with Hannah:
“Two years ago, we hired Hannah as an intern at our property, with the expectation that she would serve as sort of just an extra set of hands. We intended to introduce her to the hospitality business, giving her insight into all aspects of operations, but without an overwhelming list of responsibilities. Well, Hannah soon proved herself to be way more than “just an extra set of hands”. She is an outstanding young woman with a strong sense of responsibility and an extremely strong work ethic.
After the initial summer internship with us, we invited Hannah to stay with us through the very busy ski season and gave her additional responsibilities in the Front Desk & Administration departments. She again made it through the season with flying colors, and upon graduation from high school, we offered her a permanent position as a Front Desk Agent. As a resort condominium-hotel property, we rely heavily on our Front Desk Agents to provide incomparable customer service. Hannah has been, without a doubt, one of our best. She has a wonderful demeanor, she is kind and welcoming to our guests, and she always handles problems and complaints with a calm and helpful attitude.”
All in all, we couldn’t be more thrilled for Hannah and the journey she is about to embark on. We wish her all the best in her bright future ahead!
Newly planted willow cuttings along Gore Creek. These will establish roots throughout the summer, and if they survive through the winter, will continue to grow for years to come.
Gore Creek is a special part of Vail. Residents and tourists alike appreciate the natural beauty it brings to our town. One of the features our guests and homeowners enjoy most about the Antlers at Vail is our creek-side location. But due to urbanization, Gore Creek is in trouble. In 2012, after numerous assessments of the health of the macro-invertebrate community, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) listed Gore Creek on the Clean Water Act’s Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters. Since then, the Town of Vail and other stakeholders have put programs in place to restore Gore Creek. We know that our town’s local businesses affect Gore Creek, so at the Antlers at Vail, we make environmentally-conscious decisions everyday. This past weekend, our team went a little further and partnered with Love Vail, a Town of Vail program committed to keeping our footprint small, our resources plentiful, and our contribution to sustainability top of mind.
Peter Wadden shows the Antlers staff what to look for and how to collect willow cuttings.
If you have stayed at the Antlers at Vail in the past few years, you have probably met Gabe Kossman who was previously one of our all-star front desk agents. Gabe is now our Conference Services Coordinator, and recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability at Colorado Mountain College. In addition to conference services, Gabe is also now leading our sustainability efforts. Gabe organized a volunteer session for our team with Peter Wadden at Love Vail to harvest and replant willows along sections of Gore Creek that are lacking in natural flora.
Gabe Kossman collects willow cuttings.
Our team had a great time learning about the importance of Gore Creek and doing our part to revitalize the area. By removing willow cuttings from surrounding areas where willows are well established and replanting willows along areas of the creek where they are lacking, we helped reestablish a vital part of the local ecosystem. Willows provide shade to streams and critical habitats for a large number of terrestrial and aquatic species. They slow water flow and allow the ground to absorb water and nutrients, stabilize stream banks, and provide food and construction material for beavers and their dams.
Previous General Manager, Rob LeVine, and General Manager, Magda King, plant willow cuttings along the banks of Gore Creek.
For more information about Love Vail, the Gore Creek program, and to find out how you can preserve and restore Gore Creek, please visit their website at lovevail.org/programs/gore-creek/.
Ramon Torres joined the Antlers at Vail team October of 2013 as a key member of the maintenance department.
Ramon is originally from Havana, Cuba. He first moved to California where he was an electrician apprentice, carpentry apprentice and worked in the construction industry for about three years. He then made his way to the Vail area where he worked for a variety of other hotel properties in maintenance, as well as a short stint in taxidermy.
Ramon loves Vail and is happy to make this his home and the place where he will raise his family. He currently lives on site at the Antlers with his fiancee, Athena Marquez and two-year old son Roman. He is looking forward to buying a home for his happy family here in the Vail valley.
Ramon’s parents and two brothers also live here in the U.S. and they manage to get together at least once a year. He is always glad for that time with them.
He loves snowmobiling, spending times outdoors in our beautiful mountains, and most importantly spending time with his family.
General Manager, Magdalena King adds ,”We are very lucky to have Ramon in our maintenance department, and we are very grateful for his knowledge and expertise. Ramon is a favorite among owners and guests alike. He is always willing to help. His Caribbean charisma and enthusiasm makes him the perfect fit for our industry. To see his family grow within the Antlers family has been wonderful too.”
The Antlers is so happy to have Keaton Luke as our new Front Desk Manager!
Just a couple of short months ago the Antlers hired Keaton Luke as our new front desk manager. His friendliness combined with professionalism has made him a fantastic addition to the Antlers team.
Keaton lived in Southern California until he was eleven-years-old. His father was the General Manager of the Hilton Pasadena, across from the Rose Bowl. He grew up surfing, and skiing. He’s been skiing since he was two-years-old, starting at Mammoth Mountain. In 2003 his father took the position of General Manager at the Minneapolis Hilton and moved the family to the Midwest. There he became a Vikings fan as he had the opportunity to meet many of the players when they stayed at the Hilton. Around this time his family started taking their ski trips to Colorado.
Clearly Keaton’s father’s career had influence over Keaton’s own career path. Keaton went to Iowa State university and earned a major in Business Management with a minor in Hotel Management, during which time he interned at the Minneapolis Hilton for his father. When his parents retired and moved to Florida he decided it was time to move out to Colorado.
He came to us from the Marriott where he started at the front desk, moving up to supervisor and then manager.
Keaton is obsessed with travel after spending five months on his own in Italy. He loves being active. His favorite activities include skiing, golfing, paddleboarding, and hiking. He also loves music, having attended over 100 concerts of just about every genre. He’s always happy to show friends around the mountain, talk sports or enjoy a craft beer. Make sure to stop in and introduce yourselves when you are visiting!
Chris Ratzlaff, Rent Oxygen Owner and former Antlers AGM
For those that have visited the mountains before, you are probably aware of the effects when coming to altitude. Most people notice reduced aerobic performance or fatigue while doing activities such as skiing or biking. And yes, many can experience mountain sickness signs. Signs include reduced or restless sleep, headaches, fatigue or other flu-like symptoms. This can cut into quality time on the mountain and limit vacation fun. That’s where Rent Oxygen can help!
Although many clients contact Rent Oxygen only when someone has altitude sickness. Now over 50% of their clients are reserving their oxygen machines in advance. With machines that can be shared among a whole group/family, the users can avoid altitude symptoms for everyone and even recover better, after a day on the mountain. Reach out to RentOxygen.com at 844-699-4366 [email protected] to learn more on how to upgrade your vacation. Ensure you are up on the mountain each day this year.
Cristina Roberts with her daughter Vickie at the 2016 Antlers holiday party.
The Antlers has always been proud of its housekeeping team. When a new addition to the building was added in 2000, the new board room was dedicated to long-time executive housekeeper Millie Barela. Executive housekeeper is an important position. Keeping rooms spotless for guests alone is a big task and on top of that this team takes it to an even higher level with the personalized responses to special requests. Prior to a guest’s arrival they will ensure that a dog bed is waiting for furry pets. They stock and deliver cribs and high chairs. They even keep specialty appliances on hand to make sure that guests have what they need to feel at home.
Rob LeVine hired Cristina Roberts for this all-important job of executive housekeeper and leading this department in 2014. Cristina has elevated the department in many ways from finding cost savings to personalizing service. But most important to her is how she has been able to help the members of her team personally. From helping individual housekeepers with bills and insurance, Cristina makes it a point to support them all. She has been an integral part of encouraging the housekeepers in their english lessons, as well as starting a book club.
Cristina comes from a family of five siblings who all grew up in Ecuador. Her parents recently celebrated forty-five years of marriage. Family and religion are important to her. Cristina is a proud mom of a sixteen year old daughter, Vickie, who just earned her driver’s permit. And, she is aunt to seven nieces and nephews whom she enjoys spoiling with ice cream and chocolate.
Cristina left Ecuador in March 2006 for New York. Then in 2011 she moved to Colorado to be of help to her sister and Godson.
Cristina has taught as a teacher in a preschool, worked as a medical interpreter, been a baker and did stone gardening. But her real passion is helping people. Not only does she do that through her job at the Antlers but she also volunteers for several community organizations — teaching at her church, as an interpreter for Eagle County Courts, working with the literacy project at the Avon Library and coordinating donations for community organizations such as Bright Future Foundation and CASA. She is currently working on her certification to be a victim’s advocate with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
We can’t say enough about how fortunate we are to have Cristina as a leader here at the Antlers.
Cristina with her daughter, one of her nieces and associate executive housekeeper, Gladys.