Vail’s Back Bowls to get new quad as part of Vail Resorts’ $320M Epic Lift Upgrade
Massive capital improvement project includes 19 new chairlifts across 14 resorts
Ever wanted to lap Sun Down Bowl with only one lift ride? Vail Resorts announced Thursday an unprecedented number of on-mountain projects planned for the 2022-23 North American season in what will be the company’s largest single-year investment in its resorts.
The sweeping set of 19 new chairlifts, including 12 high-speed lifts, a new eight-person, high-speed gondola and six new fixed-grip lifts, is part of Vail Resorts’ $315 million to $325 million capital investment plan for 2022. Each of the upgrades is designed to reduce wait times, increase uphill capacity and create more lift-served terrain. The projects outlined span 14 resorts including Vail Mountain, Keystone Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado.
At Vail Mountain, the installation of a new high-speed four-person chair from the base of Chair 5 (High Noon Express) to the Wildwood restaurant will reduce wait times on peak days at Chair 5 and create the opportunity for skiers and riders to conveniently access the trails in Sun Down Bowl.
Skiers and riders will also see improved reliability and capacity in Game Creek Bowl after the replacement of the current four-person chair for a new high-speed 6-person lift, boosting capacity by nearly 50%.
In a news release, Vail Resorts said additional projects will be announced in December 2021 and March 2022.
The company called the massive capital improvement project its Epic Lift Upgrade. With this latest spending project, Vail Resorts said its total investment into the guest experience over 15 years is expected to reach approximately $2.2 billion. Those investments include lift and terrain projects as well as snow-making infrastructure and technological innovations.
For the upcoming 2021-22 North American ski season, the company expects to spend approximately $120 million in new projects such as the McCoy Park expansion at Beaver Creek Resort and new lifts at Breckenridge, Keystone, Okemo and Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
“Our mission at Vail Resorts is to provide an experience of a lifetime to anyone who visits our resorts — and delivering on that mission requires constant re-imagination and investment into the guest experience,” said Rob Katz, the chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, in a statement. “Our teams have been hard at work identifying significant opportunities to improve the guest experience and have produced an initial list of exciting lift upgrades, a restaurant expansion and projects that expand access to incredible terrain for next season, with more to be announced.
All of the proposed projects are subject to government approval, and the completion of each project and its availability for the 2022-23 season will be based on the timing of approvals.
Projects planned ahead of the 2022-23 season at Vail Resorts’ Western mountains include:
Vail Mountain, Sun Down Lift in the Legendary Back Bowls: The installation of a new high-speed, four-person chair from the base of Chair 5 (High Noon Express) to the Wildwood restaurant.
Vail Mountain, Game Creek Bowl: Skiers and riders will see improved reliability and capacity in this popular bowl with the replacement of the current four-person chair with a new high-speed, six-person lift.
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Rip’s Ride Lift: The beginner/ski and ride school experience will be enhanced at the highly utilized Peak 8 base area by replacing the current fixed-grip double with a high-speed, four-person chair, increasing uphill capacity by nearly 70% and improving out-of-base circulation.
Keystone Resort, Bergman Bowl: Enhancements to Bergman Bowl will include a new high-speed, six-person chairlift, increasing lift-served terrain by 555 acres. Other enhancements include 16 new trails, a ski patrol facility and snowmaking infrastructure.
Keystone Resort, Outpost Restaurant: A 6,000-square-foot expansion of the existing Outpost restaurant will add 300 more indoor seats and 75 more outdoor seats for guests.
Park City Mountain, Eagle Lift: A high-speed, six-person chair with a new midstation will replace the existing Eagle lift, significantly, reducing crowding and wait times and improving the guest experience, especially for beginner skiers and ski and ride school guests.
Park City Mountain, Silverlode eight-Person Lift: Vail Resorts’ first high-speed, eight-person chair, will replace an existing six-person chair, increase uphill capacity by 20% and reduce wait times at a critical spot to circulate guests on the mountain.
Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
Northstar California, Comstock Lift: A new high-speed, six-person chair will replace the existing midmountain four-person chair and is designed to reduce wait times at one of the mountain’s most popular lifts and increase uphill capacity by nearly 50%.
Heavenly Ski Resort, North Bowl Lift: The replacement of an existing fixed-grip triple with a high-speed, four-person chair will increase uphill capacity by more than 40% and reduce the combined ride time of the Boulder and North Bowl lifts, which is expected to reduce wait times at the Stagecoach and Olympic lifts.
Whistler Blackcomb, Creekside Gondola: A new high-speed, eight-person gondola, replacing the existing six-person gondola, will significantly improve wait times and increase out-of-base uphill capacity by 35% in the Creekside area, especially on high-volume days.
Whistler Blackcomb, Big Red Express: The replacement of the existing high-speed, four-person lift with a high-speed, six-person chair will increase uphill capacity by nearly 30% and enhance and modernize the guest experience midmountain out of the Creekside area.