Vail, Beaver Creek — what’s new at the resorts this season?
VAIL — Skiers have been making turns at Vail for more than 50 years now, and Vail Resorts continues to improve and upgrade its mountain infrastructure for the next generation of enthusiasts.
The company is investing $110 million-$115 million in resort improvements for the 2015-16 ski season, bringing its five-year investment total to $500 million. While a large chunk of this year’s investment money is going toward linking Park City and Canyons resorts in Utah, Vail Resorts continues to make upgrades and debut technology first at Vail and Beaver Creek.
Debuting at Vail this season is a new and improved Chair 2, the EpicMix Time app, programs specifically for women and a Mardi Gras event with a Rocky Mountain twist.
• Avanti Express Lift (Chair No. 2) at Vail was replaced for the first time since it was installed 1989. The chair is a primary lift on the front side of the mountain that is in between Vail Village and Lionshead.
The new, six-person chair uses a conveyor belt to load, similar to Mountain Top Express Lift (Chair. No. 4). The new Avanti lift will improve efficiency and increase capacity by 30 percent, reducing wait times and improving circulation.
Vail Resorts also announced plans to replace Sun Up Lift (Chair No. 17) in the Back Bowls for the 2016-17 season. Awaiting approval from the U.S. Forest Service, the new Sun Up Lift would be the ninth chair replacement in the past 10 years at Vail Mountain. It would also make all of the major lifts on the mountain high-speed.
• Also enhancing the on-mountain experience, Vail Resorts is introducing EpicMix Time this season at both Vail and Beaver Creek. The new technology is part of the award-winning EpicMix application. EpicMix Time calculates and displays up-to-the-minute chairlift and gondola wait times.
EpicMix Time is the newest addition to the app that also tracks your vertical feet, mountain conditions and provides access to EpicMix photos. After the debut of EpicMix Time this season, Vail Resorts plans to expand the technology to its other destinations, as well as add updates for on-mountain restaurants and retail stores.
• Catering to the female community of skiers and snowboarders, Vail Resorts has added a new Women and Wine Friday Afternoon Club program that includes a half-day lesson ending with a glass of wine during apres; Skadi Vail Women’s Ski Fest, a new event Jan. 20-22 featuring clinics, demos and VIP experiences for women only; and a new women’s specific shop in Lionshead.
• Bourbon Street meets Bridge Street on Feb. 6-9 with the revival of CarniVail, a Mardi Gras tribute with a Rocky Mountain twist including an on-mountain crawfish boil, a Fat Tuesday parade and more.
• Vail Resorts, once again leading the ski industry, is the first to submit and develop a comprehensive summer activities plan in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and Nature Conservancy.
Epic Discovery will promote environmental education and forest stewardship through outdoor activities and interpretative programs. The primary components of Epic Discovery, set to debut in 2016, include trails and activities around the mountain, a zipline tour, Forest Flyer and an expanded trail system.
The existing Adventure Ridge will be incorporated into Epic Discovery, which already provides summer tubing, challenge courses and a zipline.
The Beav’ this year is boasting an expanded snowmaking refresh project, an exclusive White Carpet Club as well as a Terrain Based Learning program for new skiers and snowboarders.
• Vail Resorts continues its commitment to providing world-class snow surfaces for skiers and snowboarders at Beaver Creek with the addition of fan guns on certain trails. The snowmaking refresh project began last year with 24 fully automated fan guns on the Gold Dust trail. This year, Beaver Creek has added 23 fan guns to Redtail and Centennial trails to provide luxurious snow conditions throughout the season.
Three mobile carriage fan guns have also been added to the snowmaking refresh fleet at Beaver Creek. The snowmaking systems at the Beav’ now cover 650 acres of terrain across the resort.
• The White Carpet Club provides an exclusive on-mountain experience and is located steps away from the escalator up to Centennial Express Lift. The White Carpet Club offers a VIP experience to guests and includes lockers for storage, a boot-drying room, continental service island offering hot drinks and decadent snacks, private restrooms and an intimate lounge with cozy seating. Reservations are required.
• The Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School is introducing Terrain Based Learning to beginners this season. This program aims to provide a seamless, natural transition while developing confidence and skills. The Terrain Based Learning program is for both children and adults looking to improve their skills.
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.