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Vail’s improvements

Staff Reports

For years old timers have been fretting over their precious Chair 10. Tom Boyd, editor of this paper, even wrote an “Ode to Chair 10,” column and sold T-shirts in an effort to save the creaky, aging chair (see “Ode to Chair 10, or 17 minutes of true love,” at vailtrail.com, April 11, 2003 edition).Everyone knows its days are marked, but when will it go down? Vail’s keeping their timetable under wraps, but word on the street is that Chair 10 has a few more years to live.”Vail has proposed replacing Chairs 10 and 14 with high-speed detachable and gave us a proposal last summer and we started to do an environmental assessment then,” says the U.S. Forest Service’s Dave Ozawa. “We’ve completed all that work, got the decision signed this winter and have passed the appeal period. But what Vail is telling me now is that they won’t do that this year and they’ll probably do that (later).”Vail hasn’t submitted its summer construction plan to Ozawa yet the company usually submits the plan near the close of ski season. But Ozawa says he knows there aren’t any major mountain overhauls at least for now.The Vail Trail reported in late 2003 that Vail Resorts was eyeing a plan to upgrade Chair 5 (see “Never and Seldom could become Always and Frequently,” at vailtrail.com, Nov. 14, 2003 edition). The plan was to replace Chair 5 (a triple-chair installed in 1979) with a high-speed, detachable quad. A majority of the people who commented to the Forest Service on the plan, Ozawa said in a 2003 interview, supported the idea.But Vail Resorts has no plans to replace Chair 5 this summer. In 2003, Vail Resorts Vice President of Mountain Operations Brian McCartney said his company’s proposal was not set in stone. He did say, in the same interview, that, ” eventually Chair 5 is going to need to be replaced.”When that happens, and how, is still up in the air.One small-scale improvement planned for this summer will be on the Golden Peak terrain park. Ozawa says that the company will use some of the excavated dirt from Golden Peak construction projects to build up the half pipe and jumps.”What they have in mind is building some of the terrain park out of this dirt,” he says. “It basically reduces the amount of water they have to use in snowmaking. This way you can get those features open a lot quicker.”The other project resort representatives have discussed with Ozawa is moving patrol headquarters into where the Rossignol Test Center is housed. The likely purpose would be to expand Buffalo’s so it’s not wall-to-wall packed. But Ozawa doesn’t know if Vail plans on expanding the building or if the remodel will even be completed for next ski season.With the demolition of the old gondola building and new construction at the site which is on private, not Forest Service land the company will have more than enough to keep them occupied. VT By Jed Gottlieb


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