The Sitzmark Lodge was built in 1969 by Kaiser Morcus in the early days of Vail Village. Robert and Helen Fritch were avid skiers from Chicago who would vacation in Colorado. In 1973, Bob was working as a mechanical engineer and Helen was busy raising their three girls. They were looking, however, for something that they could do together. One of them said, “How about buying a hotel in Colorado?” Having no hotel experience, but figuring they stayed enough bad hotels that they knew what not to do, they thought it was a great idea. So, they packed up the girls and moved to Colorado. They looked in both Aspen and Vail but found Vail to be more suited to raise a family. They were fortunate enough to find the Sitzmark and bought it from Kaiser making it their home since 1974. Through the years, Bob and Helen have shared their home with friends, guests and staff alike creating the warm, friendly atmosphere the Sitzmark is renowned for today.
Their philosophy was simple – provide a good value, comfortable, well-appointed surroundings and a welcoming environment for guests to enjoy and they will return year after year. Bob and Helen made a wonderful partnership.
Bob was everything from the business man to the maintenance man, Helen was the head gardener and together they provided the core operation that made the hotel work; personally providing a shining example of how to build a legacy. Over the years, Bob and Helen have made significant changes to the hotel adding amenities and keeping it up to date. From adding an elevator to building a swimming pool and sun deck on the second floor, adding fireplace rooms, and remodeling bathrooms Bob, being the engineer, always had a project going. The projects have been endless but the results have been wonderful.
Our staff has been a major key to our success. They have emanated Bob and Helen’s philosophy and elevated the guest experience to an uncommon level. We have been fortunate to have staff members stay with us for many years. Jerry, Shelly, Jake, Mike, Andrea, Tina, Bernice and many more have helped to create the family environment we all enjoy with our guests. Many of our guests return year after year making friends with the staff and other guests creating a reunion every week of the year.
The hospitality of the Sitzmark is what sets us apart and is something only a family owned and operated hotel can provide. Bob and Helen still live upstairs and are daily fixture around the hotel. They host weekly wine parties to welcome guests in the winter and provide a bottle of wine on check-in also in the winter. Recently, their youngest daughter Jeanne has decided to carry on the traditions of her parents and, as general manager, will continue the enchantment of the Sitzmark for generations to come.