VAIL, Colo. – April, 2012 – After receiving approvals from the Town of Vail and the U.S. Forest Service Vail Mountain, the largest ski resort in the United States, announced that it will begin construction on a new, state-of-the-art Leitner-Poma of America gondola in Vail Village following the close of the 2011-2012 ski and snowboard season. Construction will begin on April 16 and the gondola will be operational for opening day of the 2012-2013 ski and snowboard season on Nov. 16, 2012, just in time to celebrate Vail’s 50th anniversary.
“The new gondola will be a tremendous addition to the guest experience in Vail, adding significant improvements in comfort, capacity and ride time for skiers and snowboarders out of Vail Village,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “I can’t think of a better way to kick off Vail’s 50th anniversary than with a new, state-of-the-art gondola in the same location where the very first Gondola One was built in 1962.”
The new gondola will be the first of its kind in North America and with a speed of 1,200 feet per minute, it will be the fastest gondola of its type in the world, creating a 40 percent increase in uphill capacity. The silver gondola cabins, designed by French manufacturer Sigma, will carry 10 passengers each and will feature heated, black cushioned seats and Wi-Fi access for guests. The new gondola will replace the existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) and reduce the ride time from 9 minutes to 7.5 minutes.
The alignment of the new gondola will be similar to the existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16). The terminal design will match that of the High Noon Express Lift (#5), featuring tinted windows and a bronze shaded roof, blue paneling and a wood lift house with rock and stained cedar siding. The gondola will allow for easier guest access at the base, a more functional interface with the Look Ma level of Mid-Vail and an easier downloading location from the top.
More than 50 percent of the lift will be manufactured in the United States at Leitner-Poma’s Grand Junction plant while other portions will be constructed in Europe.
The majority of the Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16), which the gondola will replace, will be recycled and some components will be kept at Vail Mountain as well as at some of Vail Resorts’ other mountains as spare inventory.
For more information about Vail Mountain, visit Vail.com or contact the Mountain Information Center at (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).
About Vail Mountain
Quickly approaching its 50th anniversary in December 2012 and coveted as the largest ski resort in the United States with more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain, Vail is an extraordinary winter vacation destination. Spanning seven miles are seven legendary Back Bowls, blanketed last season with more than 40 feet of powder snow. Under blue skies more than 300 days each year and with more groomed terrain than anywhere on the planet, families reconnect and celebrate here from year to year and generation to generation. The vacation experience is world class, from the Vail Ski & Snowboard School to the events, activities and festivals, the shops and spas, abundant culinary experiences and luxurious accommodations. Coupled with the vision inherent in the spirit of Vail’s founders, and a modern day commitment to excellence in all aspects of guest service and operations, Vail can still credibly lay claim to being a resort like nothing on earth. www.Vail.com.