One of Vail’s preeminent historic hotels, the Sitzmark Lodge, exchanged hands last week with the Fritch Family selling to local Vail Valley resident, Steve Kisielica, backed by the company he co-founded, Lodging Capital Partners, LLC (LCP).
The Fritch family, including sisters Jeanne Fritch, Nancy Fritch, and Leslie Chapman made the decision to sell to Kisielica based on his expressed interest to pay tribute to the legacy and history of the lodge, including retaining its current staff.
Located in the heart of Vail Village on the banks of Gore Creek, the Sitzmark Lodge was originally built in 1969 by Kaiser Morcus. Robert (“Bob”) and Helen Fritch of Chicago purchased the lodge in 1974 when looking for a business opportunity for themselves and their three daughters. Living in the top-floor apartment, running the hotel was a family affair with the girls growing up working in laundry, at the front desk, or wherever was needed. Bob and Helen created a friendly, personal experience where guests and employees felt at home. Their legacy reached beyond the hotel with deep connections to the community, most notably their co-founding and support of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. They lived in the hotel until their passings in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Jeanne Fritch, the youngest of the three daughters, started as general manager in September 2008 and took over as owner/president of the Sitzmark Lodge in 2018.
“Running the Sitzmark Lodge has been a tremendous experience and provided me with the opportunity to honor my parents and family,” said Jeanne Fritch. “In the search for a buyer, it was important to find someone who recognized who we are, honored the legacy we built, valued our family of guests and employees, and had the vision to grow with Vail into the future. Steve and LCP came to the table on every level, and we are honored to pass the baton to such a dedicated and experienced team of professionals,” Fritch added.
“Our goal is to make sure the Sitzmark Lodge’s legacy and history, built by the Fritch family and their valued employees are honored,” said Kisielica. “Similar to our predecessors Bob and Helen, my wife Amy and I hope to teach our children the true meaning of hospitality and pass down the legacy to the future generation,” Kisielica added.
“I am honored to be part of Jeanne’s family and come over to Steve’s family,” said Adam Cadenhead, general manager of the Sitzmark Lodge. “From the day I set foot in the Sitzmark Lodge I knew this is where I wanted to be. There is something uniquely special about this place that connects the guests and staff that is truly memorable. I look forward to the next phase and carrying the Sitzmark Lodge legacy forward,” Cadenhead added.
At the request of LCP, Jeanne Fritch has agreed to stay on as an advisor during the transition. Current plans by Kisielica and LCP are to keep the Sitzmark Lodge operating in its current state through the 2022-23 ski season while plans are drawn up for interior cosmetic upgrades. The exterior, a historic landmark, will remain intact.