Five Eagle County residents receive 2013 Vail Resorts Epic Service Award

By Real Vail
May 29, 2013

Vail Resorts this week announced the winners of the 2013 Epic Service Awards, recognizing 11 employees across all resorts and lines of business within the company. Five of the 2013 recipients reside in Eagle County and include Bob Long from Vail Mountain, Richard Knapp from Beaver Creek, Paul Gorbold from Colorado Mountain Express, Jennifer Pope from RockResorts and Anna Townsend from Specialty Sports Venture.

The Epic Service Award is the highest level of recognition for guest service at Vail Resorts and it is earned and awarded to those employees who exceed expectations, have innovative guest service ideas, and embody the company’s service mantra, “Own it. Personalize it. Elevate it.” Each of the five Eagle County award winners has a personal story that demonstrates the ways in which he or she went above and beyond to provide an exceptional experience or service for a guest.

Bob Long, an employee with the Golden Peak Ski & Snowboard School at Vail, received the Epic Service Award at Vail Mountain. When a local school brought students to the resort during Learn to Ski Week, Bob was assigned to work one-on-one with a young boy who had been having a hard time at school and at home. While it had taken many months for the student to open up to staff at school, Bob and the young boy hit it off immediately, becoming fast friends and allowing the boy to feel comfortable enough to open up and confide in Bob. The boy ultimately became very attached to Bob by the time the program ended. So much so that Bob immediately inquired about volunteering at the boy’s school. He emailed the school principal, filled out a volunteer application and went through the necessary protocol, and shortly thereafter Bob was reconnected with the boy again. He volunteered at the school with the boy throughout the entire ski season and not only did he continue to develop a great relationship with the boy, but the rest of his family as well.

Richard Knapp, an employee with the Beaver Creek Adult Ski School in winter and a High Mountain Adventure Jeep Tour guide in summer, received the Epic Service Award at Beaver Creek. Last summer while he was out with guests on a tour, thunder began to echo through the resort and lightning crashed overhead as a fast-moving storm rolled into the valley. With a full load of guests in the jeep, Richard began to make his way down the mountain when he spotted a family hiking down, drenched from the storm. He called Patrol but recognized they were working in a distant area of the mountain and so after dropping off his tour group, Richard immediately turned around and went back up the mountain to find the family. They were grateful as he picked them up and drove them safely back down the mountain to shelter.

Paul Gorbold, health and safety manager for Colorado Mountain Express, also received the Epic Service Award. During the winter Paul was notified of an accident that had taken place with one of the CME vans while transporting some guests. No one was injured but it was later realized that there had been damage done to a guest’s ski bag. The guest was obviously upset by this and therefore reservations followed up with them and Paul was asked to stay in the loop so he could update the claim with the details of the resolution. Instead of just updating the paperwork though, Paul took ownership of the recovery by reaching out to Vail Resorts’ contacts at Specialty Sports Venture and then offering to visit the guest personally and assist with purchasing a replacement ski bag.

Jennifer Pope, a concierge at The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, received the Epic Service Award for Vail Resorts’ hospitality division, RockResorts. When an excited yet nervous guest approached Jennifer about helping him plan a special marriage proposal to his girlfriend, she happily obliged. They decided that the sleigh ride to Beano’s Cabin for dinner would be the perfect opportunity to pop the question. Jennifer called in some co-workers around the resort to help her build a snowman that the sleigh would stop at on the way to Beano’s, complete with a carrot nose and red scarf. She also arranged for rose petals and glittering candles to be set out on the sparkling snow, a Cadillac ride for the couple to their private snow cat, and a photographer and videographer to help capture the event. In the end the guest’s proposal was accepted and the newly engaged couple topped off the evening celebrating with family, champagne and a meal to remember at Beano’s Cabin.

Anna Townsend, assistant manager at the Beaver Creek Sports location at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch received the Epic Service Award for Vail Resorts’ retail division, Specialty Sports Venture. One day during the winter a guest arrived at Anna’s store to inquire about rentals and mentioned that the group was travelling with eight children, all of whom needed equipment. Knowing that parading that many children through the rental shop could be a potentially stressful situation, Anna offered to visit the group’s hotel room for an in-room fitting. The guest loved this idea and also asked if Anna could pick out a full outfit for each child. Anna put together head-to-toe outfits for all the kids, and also brought along full outfits for the parents too. The guests were thrilled by Anna’s attentive customer service.

Employees from across all lines of business at Vail Resorts are recognized each month for Epic Service. The final Epic Service Award winners are chosen from each resort and line of business across the company and are awarded with an all-expense paid, multi-day trip to one of the company’s resorts, lodging and activities, an exclusive dinner with Vail Resorts’ chairman and chief executive officer, Rob Katz, and members of the Vail Resorts executive committee, as well as other surprises. This year’s trip will take place July 15-18, 2013 at Breckenridge.

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