Great opening night at Championships Plaza

23rd February, 2015 by

Wow! What does everyone think about the tremendous event, the 2015 Vail/Beaver Creek FIS Alpine World Ski Championships? Just reminiscing a little bit, I have lived in Vail Valley since 1974. I do remember the 1989 and 1999 World Championships. As I recall, the Opening Ceremonies back in 1989 were a parade through town ending up at Golden Peak. What was memorable in 1999 was the large set of bleachers at the Vista Bahn (now Gondola One). Anyone wanting to watch racers flying down Pepi’s Face to come to an unbelievable screeching stop could see it all.


That was yesteryear! I am writing this after attending the Opening Ceremonies a week ago. What a difference a decade and a half makes! The ambiance and energy created at the Solaris Championships Plaza was not only super-charged, it was electric. That is, electric in two ways. The spirit of the crowd for one, but the technology used to give the spectators the ability to see what was happening was fabulous! To open this great two-week event was the famous Lawn Chair Demonstration Team, who we normally only see in the annual Vail America Days Parade on July 4 (I believe I recognized at least one of the team members). Also coming into the arena was the Organizing Committee (important people that worked tirelessly on this event), a marching band playing live music, flags of every nation and a fabulous synchronized fireworks show from Golden Peak and Lionshead. Great show. There will be many more.


In many European countries it is permissible to consume alcohol when you are younger than 21. Many people assume it will be the same here in Colorado. Unfortunately, it is not.

Some items of interest for businesses during this two-week time frame (and all year actually) are preventing shoplifting and preventing underage drinking. For retail businesses, beware of potential shoplifters. I am sure all retailers are quite diligent in preventing shoplifters. Cameras are a great tool, but employee diligence is the most important. Cameras can take pictures, but that is often after the fact. It helps, but the best prevention method is employee service, saying hello and goodbye to each customer — knowing what the customer is doing. Trusting your instincts if a customer is acting strange. Make sure the customer knows you are watching. If you think there is a problem, calling the non-emergency police line is crucial. The faster you get to the police the better. The Vail Police Department is great in coming to assist you if you have a problem.


For bars and restaurants there is a different problem. At this time of year for the World Championships there will be many, many people from all over the world — especially Europe. In many European countries it is permissible to consume alcohol when you are younger than 21. Many people assume it will be the same here in Colorado. Unfortunately, it is not. It is especially difficult when parents are with their underage adults. The parents often try to buy drinks for their kids. Remember that is verboten!


I learned a new method of trying to show an ID the other day. A parent had taken a picture of their child’s ID on their phone! That is not “proper ID.” The actual document, driver’s license, state ID or the best, a passport, is necessary. It cannot be determined if an ID has been altered in a picture. It is much easier to determine a problem on the actual document. It has come to my attention that there will be extra law enforcement people checking your establishment to make sure you are asking for IDs and checking the IDs. There can and probably will be sting operations where law enforcement will test your establishment to make sure you are checking IDs. The most common approach is a young person asks for a drink — but when asked for an ID, says I left it in my car, or left it in my room, or left it at home or forgot it, etc. Just politely explain to them that they need to somehow go and retrieve the ID in order to be served alcohol. Have them get the actual document and do not accept a picture on a phone!

Also, there is a concern from the Fire Department in regard to occupancy in your establishment. This probably applies to later in the evening. This is a safety concern. If something happens it is important that everyone can get out of the location quickly for everyone’s safety.

It has been a great first week of the Championships and I hope you all are anticipating a great final week. Hope there are gold medals for USA racers!

Michael Staughton is the owner of Slope Enterprises, which operates the restaurants Los Amigos and Russell’s, both located in Vail Village. He is a board member for the Vail Chamber and Business Association. Stay informed and stay involved. If you are not already receiving the VCBA weekly newsletter, email us at to start receiving it. If you are interested in finding out more about the VCBA and what we have to offer businesses in Vail, call 970-477-0075. Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top of the Vail Transportation Center — feel free to stop by and say hello.


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