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Vail Resorts unveils new Epic Discovery summer activities program at Vail Mountain

June 29, 2016, 8:46 am
Vail Ribbon Cutting Epic Discovery

The ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday for Vail’s new Epic Discovery program (Vail Resorts photo).

Vail Mountain unveiled its new Epic Discovery summer mountain experience at a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday attended by Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz, State Sen. Kerry Donovan, Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, U.S. Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, USDA Deputy Undersecretary Leslie Jones, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy Carlos Fernandez, and more.

Thanks to legislation passed in 2011, the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, Vail Resorts is once again leading the ski industry by being the first to submit and implement a comprehensive new summer activities plan to the U.S. Forest Service.

“To me, any time a company can announce something that they spent 10 years working on is a huge tribute. When you look at this sign and you see the three logos that are up there, it says everything about what our company stands for and our amazing partners that we were able to bring together to make this happen. I think through a lot of thoughtful discussion and dialogue with all of these partners we were able to create a concept that will do wonders for all of our stakeholders,” said Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz.

“We wanted to make this experience more than just an activity. We wanted to make sure we did something that was truly inspirational and that was truly something that would attract people to the environment.

“I have no doubt that as our guests who come through this experience here at Vail and at our other resorts will truly feel that this is an experience of a lifetime that will last with their family and friends and that will build a new connection to the outdoors.”

Epic Discovery provides a unique, connected, on-mountain summer experience, immersing guests in activities which provide big-time thrills, allow them to challenge themselves physically, guide them to explore and better understand their natural surroundings, and ultimately create lifelong memories.

This first-of-its-kind comprehensive on-mountain summer adventure will feature components such as zip lines, an aerial adventure, alpine coaster, wildlife trail exploration, and interactive, “learn-through-play” activities. Epic Discovery is being implemented this summer at Vail Mountain, Heavenly and, in 2017, Breckenridge.

“The finer things in life are hard and they take a journey of challenges. I think Epic Discovery is a great example of that,” said Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. “I think that this new adventure we are on is going to be something special for the community and for the people experiencing it in the end. We want to do more than just activities up here, we want to connect people to their natural forest.”

Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery proposal received final approval from the U.S. Forest Service in October 2014, and the resort began construction the following summer with the addition of two rope challenge courses, summer tubing, a four-line Zip Flyer, as well as a kids’ challenge course and kids’ zip line. On Tuesday, Vail unveiled the final components of Epic Discovery.

“Our public lands are foundational to Colorado. Outdoor recreation and public lands are the core of Colorado’s heritage and Epic Discovery is only going to further that experience,” said state Sen. Kerry Donovan. “I think that once families experience this they are going to get hooked and then be committed to preserving the natural environment for generations far beyond ourselves.”

“We are so excited in the Governor’s Office to support this initiative, to see more young people out and about, and to support everything Vail has done for our community,” said Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne. “This kind of opportunity allows kids a year-round opportunity to learn,”

Through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy – the leading conservation non-profit organization – Epic Discovery will complement the eco-discovery experiences across the mountain with scientific content. Subsequently, Vail Resorts will utilize its new “1% For The Forest” program as a means to contribute one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects on national forest lands.

“Healthy forests and healthy rivers are really important and so are our partnerships – today is one of those great examples. Vail has been the quintessential partner,” said Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy Carlos Fernandez. “We are extremely proud of Vail for giving 1% to the planet. For us, today is a starting point with both Vail and the Forest Service for many years to come.”

The following Epic Discovery experiences have debuted at Vail this summer:

  • Game Creek Aerial Adventure: The ultimate outdoor experience, this guided tour will immerse guests in the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges as high as 300 feet above the valley floor. Guests will learn about the mountain environment from interpretive guides while working their way through the course.
  • Forest Flyer™: This gravity-based alpine coaster allows guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through the forest while giving riders full control of their speed.
  • Expanded Trail System: A wildlife exploration trail, featuring mountain flora and fauna story stakes and a series of installations that each resembles a different animal ability, such as vision, stride, agility and strength. Vail has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, the USFS and Walking Mountains Science Center to bring interpretive elements to the Epic Discovery experiences and will be contributing one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects.

Full details on all the Epic Discovery activities at Vail Mountain can be found online at

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