Celebrating a new lift | VailDaily.com

Celebrating a new lift

Stephen Lloyd Wood

Beaver Creek Resort welcomes its new pride and joy – the new Birds of Prey Express, Chair 9 – to its flock of chairlifts Saturday 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.

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 Saturday’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.