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Who's the inspiration for the "villages"?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I understand that those villages that are purpose-built at some resorts are Disneyfied attempts at recreating something, but even Main Street USA at Disney has more than a passing resemblance to a cleaned-up version of 1950's downtowns in the US.

I'm thinking of Vail here, just because I've seen that one firsthand, but I know there are others. I've seen it described as "Tyrolean," and I have a good idea of what that means (thanks, Wikipedia!), but where are they using as inspiration? Is there some place in Austria or Italy that looks like that?

Do little ski villages like that actually exist in modern-day real life?

post #2 of 20
Does the term "Luxury Box" mean anything to you? Stratton was teh first of these in my memory bank.
post #3 of 20
"Do little ski villages like that actually exist in modern-day real life?"

based on what I've seen in magazines and whatnot, yeah.

Did you watch the Olympics in Toreno?

They had quite a few of those "villages" there (Italy).

There's Kitzbuhl, in Austria.

La Grave in France.

I may be off the mark, but I think the "inspiration" for places like Vail comes directly from Europe.

Also the concept of a village grows as more people populate them.

Think about it. Most ski villages started out small. Once the word gets out about the mountain then more people come, the village grows. It's progression (to some), which is only natural. Some may fear it and hate it, but sadly it happens.
post #4 of 20
If epic were on line he'd post this link to Lech.

During day light the web cam is amazingly like a picture from the past in a perfect ski village.
post #5 of 20
It's all very European influenced, as others have mentioned. "Bavarian," "Tyrolian," etc. all refer to different architectural styles of various regions of the Alps and European mountains. Vail Resorts, Intrawest, and a variety of other corporate ski area operators have longed tried to capture the "European vibe." Some people like it, and I like some of it. But to me, a lot of it just seems too manufactured, and as you pointed out, Disneyesque. Maybe someday, a resort will find the right balance to create the Alps-like atmosphere without it seeming fake.
post #6 of 20
These places have grown in only the recent past. Give them some time to age and change and they'll look less corporate and more real.

I still won't like them, because I HATE to shop and I'm not into partying in packed public places.
post #7 of 20
Vail=St Anton, Austria (roughlly)
post #8 of 20
I agree with Phil .... Stratton drives me nuts! I know where the hell I am in the middle of freakin VT and the phony Austrian repro look is insulting.

The only .... only redeeming thing I'll say about the concept of the ski village .... It was real nice to be able to ski right up to the back door of GMO so they could make adjustments when my son and I went up to have work done. It did save lots of time being able to make a run or two and then decide on the final adjustment.
post #9 of 20
Just remember that a lot of these areas that have Faux Austrian Villages were at least run by Austrians. Why wouldn't they go with what they know?
post #10 of 20
So what do you guys propose instead? It beats a bunch of concrete structures or a couple dozen yurts. Ok, maybe not the yurts.
post #11 of 20
Well, a bunch of concrete buildings would be so...French.
post #12 of 20
Snowbird did a good job of recreating a 1960s French concrete mess.
post #13 of 20
Rather than trying to plant a faux Austrian village in the middle of the Rocky Mountains why don't they follow the architectural style of the West. You've got great models in National Parks (CCC) style or current Post and Beam architecture. I'd much rather see an homage to the Old Faithful Lodge:


or the Crater Lake Lodge:


than an ersatz Kitzbuhel


On the other hand the Victorian era leaves me a little cold although it is an authentic North American style:


but my favourite Rocky Mountain architecture would have to be:

post #14 of 20
Originally Posted by MattL View Post
So what do you guys propose instead? It beats a bunch of concrete structures or a couple dozen yurts. Ok, maybe not the yurts.
post #15 of 20
Don't forget the Nouveau/New-faux West look out here at some places in the Rockies. Laughable. People eat it up, though.

Cowboy up!
post #16 of 20
It's amazing how every little town in Switzerland tries to look just like Vail.
post #17 of 20
Just a little tidbit - the guy who designed Main Street USA based it off Old Town Fort Collins, Colorado.
post #18 of 20
You mean something like this?

Or this?

post #19 of 20
I grew up skiing Stratton every weekend as a kid in the 1960's through mid-1970's. The ski school was all Austrian imports with Emo Heinrich as ski school director. The instructors had an oom-pa-pa band called the Stratton Mountain Boys with yodling and lederhosen at happy hour in the bar on the top level of the base lodge. It was a pretty good reproduction of the Kitzbuhel Praxmeyers show I remember seeing as a kid. When it was warm enough, the instructors wore red sweaters with a black Austrian eagle coat of arms on the chest.

The base lodge at Stratton was a big chalet and the hotels at the base were all faux chalet. The original Vail village had pretty much the same influences.

Alsace in France, the Schwartzwald across the river, Bavaria, Switzerland, and Northern Italy all have that similar architecture. 2nd floor window boxes with geraniums. Big overhang on the roof and fairly steep pitch to shed the snow. Stucco walls. Dark stained wood.
post #20 of 20
There were plenty of other faux-Tyrolean base villages from the '60s...That's where many of the early entrepreneurs and instructors came from, after all. Tyrol in NH, Mittersill, even the buildings at Magic Mtn. in VT all had a chalet-type look to them. There's a big 70's-era hotel and condo in NH called Linderhof that is a perfect example of this kind of thing. Some did it better than others.

The "base village" has been tried in lots of places too, as an attempt to keep skier's money at or close to the mountain. It worked for Disney as a business model, so why not for skiers? Skiing family gets convenience, mountain corporation gets revenue through rental of business space or the business itself, and through condo sales.

Nicest one I ever saw was Whistler, and that was in 1988. I think it's bigger now!
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