Celebrating a new lift | VailDaily.com

Celebrating a new lift

Stephen Lloyd Wood

Jason Roberts Skiing Beaver Creek Powder

Beaver Creek Resort welcomes its new pride and joy – the new Birds of Prey Express, Chair 9 – to its flock of chairlifts today with a dedication ceremony, beginning at 11 a.m.

At the base of the lift, near Red Tail Camp, a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the high-speed quad lift will follow. Skiers and snowboarders will receive a limited edition Birds of Prey pin, as well as homemade cookies and cocoa, while supplies last.

“This new lift will have a dramatic impact on how skiers and riders move around Beaver Creek Mountain,” says Garnsey. “Skiers and riders can now access their favorite steeps, bumps and gladed terrain in half the time.”

The new Birds of Prey Express Lift opens a door to an area of the resort often overlooked – or just plain avoided – by skiers and snowboarders without patience for the 13-minute ride up the old Westfall Lift. The west-facing slopes, which are cut through dense pine forest, typically don’t see the sun until midday, so conditions there often are the best on the mountain long after everything else is sunbaked or skied off.

At 6,478 feet long, they are some of the longest runs in North America – and they’re steep, too, dropping 2,158 vertical feet for an average grade of 33 percent.

Garnsey says the new lift also relieves pressure on the mountain’s main access from Beaver Creek Village, the Centennial Express Lift, as well as skier traffic on Dally Road. And hopefully, he adds, it’ll go a long way toward correcting the perception of Beaver Creek as just a destination resort for beginners and intermediates.

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The new lift, a high-speed, detachable quad, replaces the resort’s two-person Westfall Lift. It has the capability of transporting as many as 2,600 skiers and snowboarders per hour –more that double Westfall’s – covering the same trip from Red Tail Camp to the top of the mountain in half the time, or less than seven minutes.

The former Birds of Prey Express Lift, which serves much easier terrain at the top of the mountain linked to a long catwalk, Cinch Road, has been renamed the Cinch Express Lift.

Guests can ski or snowboard to today’s dedication via the intermediate Red Tail run. The Birds of Prey Express Lift will be closed from 11 to 11:15 a.m., during the dedication.

For more information, call Beaver Creek Information at 845-9090.

Arrowhead, Mongolia bowls open for the season

By Stephen Lloyd Wood

With a mid-mountain base of 28 inches, Beaver Creek heads for the holidays today with 13 lifts running, providing access ti 74 ski trails and 1,094 total acres of terrain.

The Arrow Bahn Express Lift, Chair 17, as well as the Elkhorn Lift, Chair 14, will open at 9 a.m., as do the rest of resort’s chair lifts.

On-mountain restaurants Red Tail Camp and the Broken Arrow Cafe also will be open for lunch and apres-ski.

For more information, call 845-9090.

Vail, meanwhile, will be turning on the Mongolia surface lift, Chair 22, providing access to Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia bowls, the last bastion of unskied powder left on the mountain.

The additional terrain means and total of more than 4,830 acres of terrain is available at Vail, served by 34 lifts.

Also open for the first time this season is Earl’s Express Lift, Chair 38, in Blue Sky Basin.

Launching “The Talons’

By Stephen Lloyd Wood

At today’s dedication of the new Birds of Prey Express Lift, Beaver Creek’s chief operating officer, John Garnsey, will introduce The Talons, an area newly identified as Beaver Creek’s most advanced terrain reaching from the Birds of Prey Express south to Grouse Mountain and west to Larkspur Bowl.

The new lift, which has been running since the World Cup visited Beaver Creek earlier this month, is key to a new marketing campaign aimed at expert skiers. The concept comes from a look at the trail map focusing on Red Tail Camp, known primarily as the venue for the annual Birds of Prey downhill race, part of the World Cup.

If the new strategy works, Red Tail Camp will become the base facility for a new area of sorts called The Talons; and the deck at Red Tail Camp now will be known as Talons Deck.

“In addition to being a great family mountain, we have some of the most challenging terrain in the Rockies,” says Garnsey. “The Talons Challenge encourages advanced skiers and riders to conquer our toughest slopes with one of our experienced instructors.”

Beaver Creek has established he Talons Challenge as the standard for taming the resort’s expert terrain. Offered exclusively through Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School and certified Talons instructors, the program invites experts from all ages in private or group lessons to test their skills.

Participants earn a special ski-pass lanyard and gold membership for completing one run from each of the three chair lifts rising out of The Talons area. Those who complete all 13 expert runs in The Talons area earn a special Talons pin, a lanyard and a platinum membership.

Participants can devote several days throughout the year toward completing the challenge.

Platinum members, meanwhile, also will be recognized on the “Wall of Fame,” with each member’s name added to a plaque displayed in the school. They also are eligible to purchase personalized beer steins and receive discounts at Red Tail Camp.

For more information on the Talons and The Talons Challenge, call the Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School at 1-800-475-4543.