2 popular attractions return as Vail Mountain summer operations begin June 10
Tubing and coaster will return; zipline canopy tour still not available
Vail Mountain will open Gondola One during the Mountain Games June 10-11 before commencing with regular summer operations on June 16.
The June 10 opening will be a pared-down offering, with only Gondola One running for scenic rides and dining at Mid-Vail. Gondola One will operate from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 10-11.
Then on June 16, Vail Mountain will begin its regular summer season, with both the Eagle Bahn Gondola and Gondola One offering daily operations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sept. 4.
Atop the Eagle Bahn Gondola at Eagle’s Nest, the Forest Flyer Alpine coaster will begin operating again on June 16 after taking a hiatus this past winter. The Forest Flyer takes visitors through twists and turns on about a mile of metal track in the National Forest, reaching speeds of 26 miles per hour on the roughly 6-minute journey.
Vail Mountain’s tubing hill, which also has not been operational for winter use in recent years, will return for summer using an astroturf-like surface for guests to glide down.
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Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery park at Eagle’s Nest will also offer a rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline and interactive trail system including the beginner Eagle’s Loop Trail. Interactive displays like the golden eagle informational plaque are posted alongside the Eagle’s Loop Trail; that display describes the claws of a golden eagle.
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“Look for golden eagles using updrafts to soar along ridge lines like those here at Eagle’s Nest,” the display reads.
The Gore Creek Mini Golf course will be available at the bottom of the gondola in Lionshead, as well.
With the opening of both gondolas on June 16, the “gondola to gondola” option will be available to hikers, who can take the 0.8-mile Fireweed Trail from the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola to the top of the Vail Village gondola, a journey that winds through glades and across ski runs and takes guests down in elevation about 160 feet. From there, they can ride the Vail Village gondola back down the mountain after receiving a quick intro to hiking via the Fireweed Trail.
The Eagle’s Loop Trail, the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster and the other features of the Epic Discovery Park were developed through a Vail Resorts partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Vail Mountain, as part of the partnership, gives 1% of its Epic Discovery revenue to The Nature Conservancy.
While a smaller zipline, known as the “Little Eagle Zipline,” will operate this summer in the Epic Discovery Park, this year marks the fifth consecutive summer that the Epic Discovery Park’s zipline canopy tour will not operate.
The zipline canopy tour, a series of seven ziplines constructed as part of a $25 million summer recreational improvements plan, opened in 2016. But in the summer of 2017, two injuries occurred on the Vail zipline course. One incident, in which the rider suffered a traumatic brain injury and a patellar fracture, resulted in a lawsuit that Judge William Martinez dismissed as a result of the liability waivers signed before the tour.
The zipline tour has not operated from 2019 to 2022; last summer Vail Mountain said the operation did not open due to construction in Game Creek Bowl. This summer, the canopy tour will not be returning once again, Vail Mountain spokesperson John Plack confirmed this week.
“We’ve been working hard to program a fun summer on the mountain,” Plack said. “Bike haul will return with our signature freestyle trails, as will scenic gondola rides, hiking, dining at Mid-Vail and Eagle’s Nest, and a full-service bar at Bistro 14.”