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Vail Resorts on Monday announced the ski company will replace the four-passenger, high-speed quad Chair 11 (Northwoods Express) with a new six-passenger high-speed chairlift for next ski season.
Chair 11 is one of the key lifts for moving skiers and snowboarders from the eastern expanses of Vail Mountain, including the Back Bowls, toward the western side of the mountain and the front side terrain that accesses Vail Village and Lionshead.
Large lines form at Chair 11 late in the afternoon on typical ski days. The new lift, which — pending Forest Service approval — will be operational next ski season, should greatly relieve any congestion on the front side of Vail Mountain. Here’s the full press release from Vail Resorts:
VAIL, Colo. – Dec. 26, 2016 – Vail Resorts continues its wave of tremendous investments at Vail Mountain with the replacement of the Northwoods Express Lift (#11) with a six-passenger lift to debut during the 2017-2018 winter season. The new lift marks the 10th lift replacement in the last 11 years at Vail. This plan is subject to U.S. Forest Service approval.
“The replacement of Northwoods will impact a key area of the mountain, especially at the end of the day, as guests are leaving Blue Sky Basin and making their way west,” said Doug Lovell, chief operating officer at Vail Mountain. “Every time we upgrade a lift at Vail, we are enhancing the guest experience on the mountain, and that experience has been completely transformed since 2007. We are allowing guests more time to explore the terrain and less time waiting in line or riding a chairlift.”
Northwoods Express (#11) is a primary lift on the front side of Vail Mountain, serving intermediate and advanced terrain. The new lift will reduce wait times and increase capacity by 25 percent. The increase will also improve the flow of skiers and snowboarders to the legendary Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin throughout the day, as well as create a better flow of traffic exiting Blue Sky Basin and moving across the mountain at the end of the day.
The current lift – a Doppelmayr detachable-quad– was installed in 1985, along with a group of lifts including, the original Vista Bahn Express (#16), Mountain Top Express (#4) and the current Game Creek Express (#7). The Vista Bahn Express was upgraded in 2012 to the 10-passenger Gondola One, and in 2013, Mountain Top Express was upgraded to a detachable six-pack.
Vail Resorts continues to raise the bar for skiers and riders as the Company invested approximately $100 million in the guest experience for this current winter season across its resorts, bringing its five-year, industry-leading resort investment total to more than $500 million across the Company. The most significant recent improvements included the upgrade of Sun Up Express (#9) at Vail, a new restaurant on Peak 7 at Breckenridge, significant renovations to the guest rooms of The Pines Lodge, A RockResort at Beaver Creek, and $13 million to completely re-imagine the guest experience at Wilmot Mountain, located near Chicago, Ill.
Plans for capital improvements at Vail Mountain is subject to U.S. Forest Service approval. Additional details on the design and approval of these proposed improvements will be available in the coming months.