No Vail Vista Bahn? Then what? |

No Vail Vista Bahn? Then what?

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Following Vail Resorts’ decision not to run the Vista Bahn chair lift this summer, the town of Vail, Colorado is looking for other ways to attract people to Vail Village.

An average of 140 people, mostly mountain bikers, used the Vista Bahn last summer, according to Vail Resorts. That traffic brought business and activity to the village during the quieter summer season, Vail Village merchants have said.

Now, Vail is hoping that the Commission of Special Events, a town-funded group that helps bring festivals and other events to Vail, can figure out a way to make up for that lost business.

“Let’s see if there’s a way to get people to Vail Village to compensate for this,” said Vail Mayor Dick Cleveland.

Vail Resorts said the high cost of running the lift for such a small number of people couldn’t be justified in a down economic year. To run the Vista Bahn for three days a week for two months in the summer costs about $54,000.

Some were upset that Vail Mountain would be cutting back on any service in a down year.

“I for one am appalled that they’re not running the Vista Bahn this summer,” said councilwoman Margaret Rogers. “If were spending all this money to get people up here to Vail, getting people up and biking on the mountain is part of that experience.”

Some Vail merchants as well as the Vail Town Council considered pitching in the funds to run the lift for the summer. However, Vail Resorts has pointed out that many summer visitors don’t have a problem going to the gondola in Lionshead instead of using the Vista Bahn.

“We completely understand the merchants’ concerns with having the best summer offerings,” said Kristin Williams, Vail Resorts’ Eagle County spokeswoman. “However, even if another entity stepped up and offered to cover the cost, it’s just not the best use of tight fiscal dollars right now.”

All of Vail Mountain is open for the summer, and gondola rides, which are free to any season pass holder, will be a big attraction, she said.

The town council did not specify what sort of alternative attraction it hoped to bring, but said it wanted to do what it could to help businesses.

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

Support Local Journalism