By Jamie Leary

VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – Aside from a strict mask policy, the crowds in Vail Village resemble a time before COVID-19, and businesses are starting to bounce back.

“We are just so grateful to our out-of-state visitors who came and made our summer,” said John Corcoran, Bell Captain at the Sonnenalp Hotel.

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Corcoran has worked at the iconic Sonnenalp Hotel for more than 18 years and while 2021 hasn’t been easy, he was beyond excited about the uptick in summer business.

“We had a great summer and we’re still not done yet, things are starting to level out,” he said.

A general overview from the American Loding and Hotel Association shows hotels across the nation are struggling to stay afloat, but in Vail Village, room reservations are bouncing back.

“We were sitting here in May and talking about, ‘What’s next? What can we do? And what’s really on the books?’ It was… it was devastating. Then, you know, spring came, summer came, and we have had an incredible summer season. Especially, weekends are very strong,” said Stefan Schmidt, General Manager of the Sonnealp Hotel.

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Other businesses in Vail Village are booming as well. The Red Lion restaurant is just one of several reporting an in increase in revenue- a welcome surprise to staff.

“It’s been good, normally October is a little slow, but it’s been pretty busy, as you can see we’ve got a full patio right now,” said Chace MacDermott, a server at Red Lion.

Businesses in the village expect things to stay busy come winter, especially with sales of season passes for Vail Resorts on the rise.

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“Without deducting for the value of the redeemed credits (2019/2020 ski season), sales dollars increased approximately 24% compared to the prior year. Through  we have sold a total of approximately 850,000 passes for the upcoming North American season, which compares to approximately 1,140,000 total passes sold for the North American season last year through,” Vail Resorts CEO, Rob Katz, said in a news release.

While Epic Pass Holders can’t begin making reservations to ski until November, winter hotel reservations at the Sonnenalp look promising.

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“Going into the winter season our November bookings are stronger than last year already, so we really anticipating that this winter season is gonna be as strong as almost usual,” said Schmidt.

Jamie Leary