Lots to be thankful for

‘Tis the season to express our gratitude – and we’re fortunate we have quite a bit to be thankful for here in the Vail Valley.

Vail’s opening day is just one week away, followed by Beaver Creek shortly after. Mother Nature has helped get us off to a good start to the ski season and many locals are hopeful El Nino will bless us with a great snow year.
I’m thankful for the mountain operations teams that keep our mountains in prime condition and continue to show best in class customer service. From the grooming crews to the lift operators, the focus on the guest experience remains paramount. I’m equally thankful for the continued capital investment in the on-mountain products at Vail & Beaver Creek. Epic Discovery is sure to be a hit with guests and locals alike, and will provide additional on-mountain activities to enhance the guest experience; the continued investment in new chairlifts and other facilities is unmatched; and enhancements to the EpicMix app continue to engage and provide information to guests (real time lift line information this season is sure to be useful).
Shortly after Opening Day at Vail & Beaver Creek is Small Business Saturday® (November 28). Vail Valley Partnership is proud to be a community champion for this shop local program sponsored by American Express, and for good reason. Small business is the lifeblood of our economy, and our business community is filled with small businesses in all market niches and across industries. It’s important to support our local retail storefronts and restaurants, and it is equally important to remember that numerous other business-to-business operators (accountants, financial planners, marketing firms, public relations firms, banks, etc.) are locally operated small businesses. I’m thankful for the numerous small business operators who give back to their community and who take pride in taking care of both their local customers as well as our visitors.
Giving back to community is a common theme in the Vail Valley. We’re filled with civic-minded business professionals, and civic engagement is a pillar of our community values. Look no further than our robust non-profit community, which provides social services to those in need, and a community that helps each other through volunteer time and through donations. I’m thankful for Eagle County Gives, a coalition of more than 40 Vail Valley nonprofits dedicated to strengthening the collaboration, fundraising capacity and awareness of the non-profit sector that enhances the quality of life in Eagle County. This group works collaboratively to increase the awareness of their collective impact and have banded together to increase total local donations on Colorado Gives Day (December 8) and year-round.
A robust non-profit community requires more than a day of community giving; it requires a community willing to volunteer and give time year-round to provide the vision, strategic direction, fiduciary responsibility, and governance that these organizations need in order to achieve their missions. Volunteer leaders are responsible for the direction of our non-profit organizations and I’m thankful to be part of a community with such an impactful non-profit industry achieving great things, and a community where volunteer leadership is embraced and encouraged.
Along those lines, I remain thankful for the continued community support for Vail Valley Partnership and our efforts to help build an environment where businesses can succeed, and to provide tools & resources to local businesses to help them achieve their goals. Thanks in part to our volunteer leaders (our board of governors), we’ve evolved (and continue to evolve) in an effort to better serve our community. The real guts of this organization are the people we serve, our members and our community. Your success is our success, and our success is your success, for success & recognition is a result of a shared vision and a shared workload. Our cornerstone benefits of resources, networking & promotion, advocacy, and information help businesses connect and help ensure a voice for our business community at a regional and state level.
As we reflect on things we are thankful for during this time of year, I am also humbled by the capacity of this community to support our non-profit community through time (volunteer service) and giving (Eagle County Gives). I am humbled by the capacity of this community to support our small business community (Small Business Saturday). I am humbled to be part of Vail Valley Partnership and the ability to work with our community and our members on a daily basis.

For all this and more, I can’t help but think the best is yet to come as we head into 2016.

Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership