Vail Mountain, the largest ski resort in the United States, has already begun making plans for its 50th anniversary in December 2012, by announcing the planned installation of a new, state-of-the art gondola to replace the Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) inVailVillage.
The new gondola, which will have the number “1” to commemorate Vail’s original gondola in that location, will provide a 40 percent improvement in uphill capacity over the existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) – the highest of any gondola inNorth America. The state-of-the-art gondola, the first installation of its kind inNorth America, will offer new features, such as free Wi-Fi access for guests.
“We could think of no better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary ofVailMountain than by making a dramatic investment to improve the experience for our guests. The new gondola will set a standard for how we transport guests up the mountain, significantly reducing wait times at one of the most popular and recognized lifts anywhere in the world. It will also offer a protected and comfortable ride, completewith free Wi-Fi access,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer ofVailMountain. “The new gondola continues a long tradition of Vail’s investments to set the leading position in guest service anywhere in the mountain resort industry.”
“The new gondola in Vail Village will provide the final touch to Vail’s multi-billion dollar renaissance over the past decade, which has been the result of an incredible partnership between Vail Resorts, the Town of Vail and the entire Vail community,” said Andy Daly, mayor of the Town of Vail. “These investments have ensured Vail’s leadership position in the resort industry for many years to come.
The new gondola will be located in the same location as the existing lift and will reach the same location at Mid-Vail. The gondola is a state-of-the-art lift replacing the technology of the existing high-speed quad lift that was installed in 1985, approximately 26 years ago, and reintroducing a gondola to VailVillagenot experienced since the 1970s. The gondola is proposed to be installed in the spring and summer of 2012 and be operational for opening day of the 2012-2013 ski season, just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vail.
The base lift facility will be similar to the existing equipment but instead of chairs hanging from a cable, there will be gondola cabins. Unlike the Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19) in Lionshead, which is an enclosed facility, the new gondola will be an open air terminal
The new gondola is subject to Town ofVailand U.S. Forest Service approval. Additional details on the design and approval of the proposed gondola will be available in the coming months.