Vail Resorts puts $10M into Afton Alps Ski Area in Minnesota

AFTON ALPS, Minn. — To a “heavy metal” soundtrack of backhoes, cranes and bulldozers, Afton Alps Ski Area broke ground on massive resort improvement projects designed to re-imagine the entire guest experience for the 2013-14 ski and snowboard season and Afton Alps’ 50th anniversary. The $10 million investment committed by new owner Vail Resorts represents the most significant one-time influx of capital improvements in Afton Alps’ history.

“The construction projects we’re implementing this summer are designed to re-imagine every aspect of the guest experience at Afton Alps while keeping the longstanding Midwest ski experience Afton is known for,” said Joe Yasis, general manager of Afton Alps. “We think our guests will be delighted with the big improvements like the new terrain park, significantly enhanced snowmaking and new base area facilities. These improvements will set a completely new standard for Midwest skiing and riding.”

Afton Alps list of improvements include:

• Snowmaking improvements: A complete overhaul and expansion of snowmaking at Afton Alps will provide the region’s highest quality snow surface, greater base depth and an expanded season due to the ability to make snow twice as fast with existing water resources. The ski area will add to the current fleet of snowmaking equipment with 22 new, energy-efficient snowmaking guns and 50 low-energy tower snow guns. Afton Alps is also constructing a new state of the art snowmaking pump house, installing larger diameter pipe capable of pumping water twice as fast when temperatures permit.

• New guest services facility: The guest services facility at Afton will be completely renovated to include a new ski school center, ticketing and pass sales office and a customer service center.

• New terrain park by Snow Park Technologies: Snow Park Technologies, builder and designer of Winter X Games courses and features, will work with the Afton Alps terrain park crew to create one of the region’s most innovative terrain parks including cutting edge new features and designs.

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• New terrain park village: At the base of the terrain park overlooking all of the new features, Afton Alps will create a new terrain park village with inviting indoor and outdoor spaces to relax or warm up, enjoy new food options, warm up and watch the park action. Additionally two new rope tows will be installed in the terrain park for faster and easier access to park features.

• New lift ticketing and scanning system: The new lift ticket and scanning system will be completely electronic and provide Afton Alps guests with a seamless transaction experience and faster access to the lift for both season pass holders and single day lift ticket skier and snowboarders.

• Vail Resorts EpicMix technology installation: Afton Alps will install Vail Resorts’ acclaimed EpicMix RFID technology, allowing skiers and snowboarders to earn digital pins for their accomplishments track vertical feet and share them socially through Facebook and Twitter with family and friends.

• EpicMix Racing will also be launched at Afton Alps this winter, a social application that enables skiers and riders of all abilities to track their vertical feet, earn digital pins for on-slope accomplishments and even race against Lindsey Vonn.

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