Base area improvements worth it, Vail skiers say |

Base area improvements worth it, Vail skiers say

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” It’s been a year since Vail’s Mountain Plaza has opened its doors, and some visitors and neighboring businesses say the new facilities are a big improvement for the village’s base area.

What used to be an old ski yard and parking spaces at the base of the Vista Bahn is now a bustling new base lodge where skiers can grab a coffee or relax by the fireside.

The plaza, which was completed during the 2007-2008 season, houses the snowsports school, ticket offices, a coffee shop and lounge area. Neighboring the plaza is also 13 new townhomes, a loading dock, an underground garage, a spa and the private Vail Mountain Club.

Los Amigos Manager Mick Warth said he thinks the plaza is a nice addition. His original concern was that the building would block the view of the slopes from the restaurant’s deck, but that it didn’t prove to be a problem, he said.

“They did a really good job,” he said. “It’s a plus because people have a base lodge to warm up. Before, there was nowhere for people to go.

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Denver resident Tim Kelleher said the new plaza is one of many changes he’s seen in over 30 years of skiing in Vail.

“It’s attractive,” he said. “It’s nice to walk through the village to the Vista Bahn and have this here.”

Inside the plaza, Alice Robertson, of Raleigh, N.C., was relaxing with a soda and a newspaper.

“I’m just taking today off (from skiing),” she said. “It’s nice to have a place to hang out.”

Texas skier Lena Fuller, seated at the plaza’s deck, said the building provided easy access to bathrooms, food and a place to sit down.

“It’s nice to be able to stop, and it’s a great place to meet up with people,” she said.

The plaza was built to provide skier services and serve as a welcome area for guests coming in through Vail Village. Now, a season after the building’s completion, some are saying the improvements were well worth it.

“The entire Mountain Plaza experience is a dramatic improvement and is everything we hoped it would be, particularly a means to better accommodate our guests throughout the day,” said Vail Mountain spokeswoman Liz Biebl. “We’re thrilled with the new base area, and so are our guests.”

Lionshead also got a new ticket and snowsports school office, located at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola and the Born Free Express Lift (Chair 8).

The upgrades will be complete with new restrooms at the Lionshead base area, which will be completed this summer.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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