Vail Resorts, Colorado: The Alpine Empire


Life in the Alpine Empire

Vail, Colorado

When most people hear “Vail,” they think, “Oh, yeah. You mean Vail Resorts, Colorado, right?” That’s probably because Vail Mountain’s 5,289 acres of skiable hills, 370+ annual inches of snowfall, and more than 300+ days of sunshine each year has made this spot world-famous among winter athletes.

After the Colorado ski season, though, Vail becomes a completely different kind of place. The influx of skiers and snowboarders trickles down to a stop, and hikers, campers, and climbers come to take their place. These summertime visitors come to admire the 350,000-acre expanse of the surrounding White River National Forest, which in warm weather bursts into lush valleys of rich pines and a full rainbow of wildflowers. True, the town ranks as one of the best places to ski in Colorado, but it’s also a nature preserve year round that maintains a steady flow of visitors.

Still, if you want to see Vail at its fullest, you’re gonna have to go while it’s snowing.

Travelers overlook one of Vail’s 7 Back “Bowls” (Bowl-shaped valleys in the mountains that offer smooth and oftentimes groomed slopes that accommodate novice and experienced skiers alike.
The Vail Village rests at the foothills, nestled warmly against the neighboring slopes [Source].

The City that Runs on Snow

Vail Resorts, Colorado stands out quite a bit from similar places nearby. Other ski-towns, such as Aspen and Breckenridge, were founded as mining villages in their early days, only to later on grow into major vacation spots after investors established the first resorts there. But unlike Aspen and Breckenridge, Vail was a resort town from the beginning.

The Colorado resort’s founder, Pete Seibert, was a lifelong skier and knew from the get-go that his resort would make some much-needed improvements upon the existing standards for alpine getaways.

As a result of this planning, Vail has become a vibrant town that blends the old and the new. Hotels in Vail boast the quaint architecture of traditional Swiss buildings, while public works projects endow pedestrian space with the comforts of modern technology, like the heated sidewalks that line the village streets.

“Vail has one of the best and largest ski schools on earth, with an endless array of group, semi-private and private lessons and camps for every age and ability.”

– Forbes

“TransUSA Exchange internships are designed to introduce participants to culinary and management skills while immersing them in American culture at the world’s premier mountain resort,”

– Vail Resorts F&B Director Eric Pottorff

Interning & Training in Vail

Vail’s semi-annual hiring season makes it a popular choice for both students and graduates in the hospitality field looking to broaden their horizons.

The Winter population surge is so great, in fact, that Vail’s local population nearly doubles. On top of the 5,000 permanent residents, wintertime draws in more than 4,000 employees for seasonal work and on-the-job training in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality industries. Since these future chefs and hospitality leaders flock to Vail Resorts, Colorado maintains a strong hold on numerous small but powerful economies. That tourism keeps the blood pumping so towns like Vail can thrive.

Because Vail has jobs to spare, its hotels and restaurants draw their fair share of interns and trainees from outside the United States. Among international participants training abroad, Colorado has even started to become a bit of a rising star.

When asked to describe the intern experience, Vail Resorts F&B Director Eric Pottorff said:

“The international interns we host in our hospitality programs are welcomed to our world-class resort, and from their first days in Vail, they receive orientation on safety, guest service, and company policies while being introduced to our team members and local community. They are also encouraged to take advantage of our outdoor experiences, with our complimentary Epic Ski pass and skiing/snowboarding private lessons.”

A Chance to Experience American Culture

We’ll spare you the “America’s a melting pot” schtick and cut right to the chase: Vail attracts people from all over the country. Why else would they need ski lifts that can carry 3,000 people per hour? That’s a lot of Vail lift tickets.

You can see Vail’s nationwide significance reflected in the festivals and events hosted there. Not surprising for an Alpine Sports mega-hub, Vail hosts the Burton US Open Snowboard Championship annually; the contest brings athletes ranging from Big Sky veterans from Montana to small-time underdogs out of New England. It just makes sense that the best Colorado ski resort would host the best Colorado skiing, right?

Indoor events bring in performers you’d never expect to see in a secluded mountain town. Music groups as refined as the New York Philharmonic call Vail their summer residence, and the Vail Summer Bluegrass Series delivers Americana soul. and and Vail brings they create a microcosm of the ethnic mosaic that constitutes American society.

In other words, Vail has become a crossroads where numerous walks of life meet.

Vail Actually Wants To Train You, Too

Located right on the slopes, Two Elk Restaurant puts its new recruits at the heart of Vail’s ski traffic. Its convenient location makes it a popular spot for skiers needing a rest who aren’t quite ready to leave the mountain yet. [Source]

Head Chef Mike Sheard (3rd from right) and Sous Chef Bobby Ciccoria (2nd from left) with TransUSA Exchange Participants Paul, Alvin, Kristher, and Dianna at Two Elk Restaurant in Vail.

Sous Chef Bobby Ciccoria enjoying the sunny mountain breeze with Kristher and Dianna, TransUSA Exchange Participants from the Philippines

And It Shows

Free Ski Passes Given To All Participants

Each of Vail’s exchange participants receives an Epic Pass (a full-access season pass to all 5,000 acres) for FREE.

That’s $1,000 in skiing and lift tickets. But for our participants through TransUSA Exchange, it’s completely complimentary. Oh, and did we mention they get free lessons, too? This means that during their free time, employees have unlimited access to the entire mountain.

As Vail’s F&B Director puts it, “[TransUSA Exchange’s] internship is designed to introduce these students to basic culinary and management skills and to enjoy their time immersed in American culture at this world leading resort.

“The students we host in this program are welcomed to our world class resort, and from the first days in Vail… they are encouraged to take advantage of the outdoor experiences that living in Vail… has to offer.”


Sound too good to be true? Check out these snapshots taken by previous TransUSA Exchange Participants!

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3 thoughts on “Vail Resorts, Colorado: The Alpine Empire”

  1. Pingback: How The Philippines Won the Hospitality Game - TransUSA Exchange

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