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The Vail Trail Chronicles: Part I

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We were over two hundred deep-smiles, hugs and handshakes in every direction-and the energy and enthusiasm was palpable.

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It is said that we should never let our passion become our plight. That is a difficult dimension to master for an over-achieving and aggressive young company looking to surpass heightened levels of expectation. On the heels of MIM2 in Ojai, anticipation was building for a full year as Minyans readied to migrate to the Colorado Mountains . We had dutifully planned and primped for seven months, a labor of love motivated by a collective desire to reset the bar and renew the Buzz. We were confident but knew it wasn't going to be easy. Most things worth having rarely are.

Vanessa and I landed in Denver on Saturday and drove west on I-70 as rain drizzled intermittently across the windshield of our Chevy Trailblazer. With one Minyanville retreat under her belt, she knew how many small details were involved in sewing a seamless mountain experience. I watched with pride as she put her thumbprint on the Ojai event and now, one year and several karats later, she was running the entire show. Kevin and I entrusted her with a tremendous amount of responsibility and she sweated every element with a professional pride that has come to define the Minyanville mentality.


(Toddo and Vanessa arrive in Colorado)

We arrived at Vail Cascade and settled into our digs, conscious that we had a few days before Minyans arrived en masse. The remainder of MVHQ was set to stagger in the following 48 hours and I planned to use my time wisely. I spent the early morning hours on a mountain bike atop Vail Mountain , the afternoons in pre-conference meetings telling the Cascade staff that all Minyans were VIP's and, when I had a moment to relax, I set out to find a scenic stage to scribe some keynote vibes. But in a blink of an eye, the moment was upon us.



In a blink of an eye, MIM3 had arrived.

It has become tradition for us to honor our Circle of Trust on the eve of our Minyans in the Mountains event. This is our way of saying thanks to all of our professors, investors and sponsors for doing all they do and being who they are. Our venue of choice this year was Splendido at The Chateau, nestled in the foothills of Beaver Creek, and we gathered for cocktails on the patio as the sunset illuminated the sky. Jeff Saut mingled with Woody Dorsey. Todd Deutsch talked tape with Michael Santoli. Bennet Sedacca put faces to many of his fellow professor's names. The Succo's held court in the corner, awaiting John's late arrival in his rightful seat. The wine flowed, the conversation followed and the energy was evident. As the crowd swelled to north of fifty guests, Kevin and I locked eyes across the room.

This was it, we knew. Game on.

After a fantastic meal and a short ride home, the usual suspects gathered in the Oak Room overlooking Gore Creek. I've spent more than a few mountain nights trying to keep up with the likes of Laurie McGuirk and Neil Dingmann but I knew that, at 10,000 feet, discipline would serve me in good stead.
I shared an obligatory pint (or two) of Blue Moon, handed the bar baton to my editorial staff and eyed the clock with one eye and my unfinished speech with the other. Hundreds of Minyans were set to arrive the next day and I knew that time was now the most precious commodity.


(Gore Creek)

After a short stint at mobile MVHQ, I shuttled my way back to my mountainside home. There, as I settled into bed and flipped on the television, I saw the news regarding the foiled US-UK transatlantic terror plot. My initial reaction was one of relief, as the headlines could have been much worse. But when the anchor on CNN informed me that airports were closed and massive travel delays were expected, I was gripped with a consuming anxiety. "They won't be able to get here," I said to myself as I watched images of stranded passengers at assorted hubs, "Minyans won't be able to get to the mountains."

After taping an early morning television spot for a local station, I arrived at our office digs to take stock of the situation. To my surprise, with the exception of a few European Minyans who were locked out of Heathrow, we hadn't received any inquiries or emails. As our editorial staff pounded out content (nice work fellas) and the girls readied the welcoming reception, a nervous energy permeated our collective mindset.



10:00. Noon. 3:00 PM...Where was everyone?

We got a few stragglers throughout the afternoon, but the exodus was untapped. The Cascade staff was busy preparing for our opening reception (set to begin in four short hours) and the cupboard was fairly bare. I paced from the office to the outdoor patio to reception to the restaurant in search of familiar faces, each time returning empty handed.

And then it happened.

Bus number one deposited 15 Minyans into our lap of luxury.

Bus number two delivered another 40 Minyans an hour later.

Before I knew it, the Vail Cascade was overwhelmed by an excited Minyanship, not one of which quipped about the travel hassles or delays.

We were over two hundred deep-smiles, hugs and handshakes in every direction-and the energy and enthusiasm was palpable. By the time we pulled back the curtain on the opening mingle, the collective stress melted into a commonality that is difficult to put into words.

"This is some community," I said to a reporter from a local paper as I absorbed the scene at the welcoming reception, "this is one very special community."

After a brief introduction to welcome and thank thy faithful, I turned the podium over to Michael Santoli, the talented senior editor from Barron's. Michael began his speech by sharing a story about his two-year old daughter Lane, whose affection I attempted to solicit earlier that day by giving her my business card featuring Hoofy and Boo.


(Michael Santoli)

"Lane looked at Toddo's card and said that Hoofy looks scared and Boo seems tired," he said as Minyans delightfully consumed prime rib and gourmet pizza, "And I think that pretty much sums up the state of the tape right now." He continued his discussion with thoughts on the evolution of Wall Street and set the stage for the meat of our line-up.

Click here to read The Vail Trail Chronicles: Part II and The Vail Trail Chronicles: Part III.

R.P.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at todd@minyanville.com.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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