Village Talk

Dance Dance Revolution

Vail Mountain’s one-of-a-kind, two-mile-high discotheque

By Reilly Capps February 1, 2015 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2015 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

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Vail Mountain’s one-of-a-kind, two-mile-high discotheque.

A pair of techno DJs called the EC Twins, fresh out of Manchester, arrive in Vail Village with their entourage, a gaggle of females wearing very short dresses and very high heels. For women in heels, a cobblestone street is like a mogul run, a snow grate like a cattle guard. They are trying to transport themselves to their gig at Décimo, an ultra-luxe dance party thrown six times this season at Mid-Vail and possibly the only dance club in America served exclusively by a gondola. But the EC Twins are clearly a little lost in the Village—frankly, in the Colorado mountains generally. One of the twins asks a passerby, “Excuse me, do you know where the escalator is?”

Vail Resorts created Décimo to cater to its most high-end, most international, most urban clients, who expect a ski vacation to include not only top-notch daytime winter recreation and evening four-star dining opportunities but exclusive nighttime parties with bottle service, bouncers, and VIPs. “There was a hole when it comes to upscale nightclub entertainment, and we had the unique ability to create something that didn’t exist,” explains Jim Kellen, Vail’s marketing director. “We’re taking a Las Vegas–type nightclub experience—or Sao Paolo or Hong Kong—and bringing it to Vail.”

Having debuted last spring to a sold-out crowd, Décimo’s high-energy, high-elevation (10,250 feet above sea level), high-budget club scene has twice hosted Paul Oakenfold, world-famous maestro of the toonce-toonce-toonceBaauer, of “Harlem Shake” fame, appeared in January. Cash Cash and the Stafford Brothers, both well-known DJs, are also on this season’s roster.

To make the night happen, after the lifts stop turning Vail Resorts transforms Mid-Vail day lodge from a functional, wood-paneled, drop-ceiling cafeteria into a dance club with splashy silver drapes, colorful lights, thumping speakers, and a bank of turntables. Then, after Décimo ends at 2 a.m., workers scramble to transmogrify it back into a lunchroom, ready to sell $10 bowls of oatmeal when the lifts start disgorging guests again at 8:30 a.m.

“It’s exciting—like putting together a puzzle,” says Mike Friery, Vail’s food and beverage director, who organizes the logistics. “If you’ve skied Vail forever, it’s hard to envision Mid-Vail as a nightclub.”

If Décimo has a theme, it is excess. As you step off of Gondola One, you see the Décimo logo projected in giant letters on the sloping snow. A torch-lit red carpet leads to one of the most unlikely scenes you’ll ever witness on a ski hill: sexy models, dressed in midriff-baring puffy jackets, goggles, and not much else, dance on pedestals and offer bottle service to VIP tables at post-recession prices.

Meanwhile, the EC Twins churn out dance beats at decibel levels approximating a Lear jet revving for takeoff; on snowy mornings after Décimo, ski patrollers needn’t bomb nearby avy terrain because their work has already been done for them.

“This is the most unique nightclub experience I’ve ever been a part of,” says Jon Spadafora, the nightclub consultant from Las Vegas who designed Décimo. “An actual nightclub on the side of a mountain.”
Imagine that. Just don’t try to get there via escalator.


March 6 – Cash Cash, an electro-pop trio from New York whose remix of Bruno Mars’s “Treasure” has been viewed over 250,000 times on YouTube.

April 2 – The Stafford Brothers, stars of an Australian reality show, have been named the number one DJs down under, and record on the same label as Lil Wayne.

The details: Single tickets start at $100. VIP tables start at $1,600 for a party of six and climb as high as $4,500 for six at the Champagne Table, a semicircle of white leather couches with unlimited top-shelf drinks poured by a personal server.

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