Large areas of Vail Mountain were closed to the public Wednesday and Thursday as helicopter work began on Vail’s new six-pack chairlift to replace the old, high-speed quad Chair 2 (Avanti Express) and the installation of a zip line tour in Game Creek Bowl. Here’s the full press release from Vail Resorts on Tuesday:
Vail Mountain plans to close Gondola One and Mid-Vail, in addition to various hiking and biking trails, on Wednesday, July 29 for helicopter work that will take place as part of the construction for the new high-speed, six-passenger Avanti Express Lift (#2). During this time all hiking and biking trails between Northwoods and the Avanti area, and within the potential flight path of the helicopter, will be closed for the safety of resort guests.
On Thursday, July 30 Gondola One and Mid-Vail are planned to re-open but helicopter work will continue as a part of the construction for the Game Creek zip line tour that’s anticipated to open in summer 2016 as a part of Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery experience. This work will also affect hiking and biking trails on Vail Mountain.
“We have some really exciting projects going on this summer in preparation for winter and for Epic Discovery in summer 2016, and as we continue construction with helicopter work this week we’d like guests to understand that Gondola One will be closed on Wednesday and they should use the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead to access the mountain and activities,” said Elizabeth Howe, senior director of mountain operations for Vail Mountain. “We also want to stress how important it is for everyone’s safety to obey all trail closures during this time, and our staff will be out to help everyone understand what is open and what is closed. We appreciate the patience and cooperation of our guests as we work on these exciting new projects to enhance the guest experience.”
Staff will be in position on Wednesday and Thursday at the base areas in Vail Village and Lionshead, as well as various locations around the mountain, to help with information for guests heading up and down the mountain.
The helicopter work being performed is extremely weather dependent and closure dates are subject to change. Vail Mountain will provide updates throughout the week via its @VailMtnAlerts Twitter feed and on its Facebook page. Those planning to access the mountain are encouraged to check one of these sources or call the Vail Mountain Information Center at (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245) for the most current information.
And then Vail released this information on Wednesday:
Today at Vail Mountain a helicopter assisted with the construction of the new high-speed, six-passenger Avanti Express Lift (#2). Throughout the course of the day the helicopter helped to remove the old crossarms from the lift towers and flew in 24 new crossarms and sheave assemblies, which were secured to the existing lift towers. Construction of the upper and lower terminals will take place next.
The new Avanti Express Lift (#2) will open for the 2015-2016 winter season at Vail, continuing a wave of tremendous investments at the resort. The current lift is being replaced with a detachable six-passenger lift similar to the Mountain Top Express Lift (#4) and will also include a loading conveyor and gates to improve efficiency and increase capacity by up to 30 percent.
The Avanti Express Lift (#2) is a primary lift on the front side of Vail Mountain, serving intermediate and advanced terrain and dispersing skiers and snowboarders from Lionshead to mid-mountain. The new lift will reduce wait times and improve skier and snowboarder circulation. The current lift – a Doppelmayr detachable quad – was installed in 1989.