Vail’s new Chair 5 gets rave reviews |

Vail’s new Chair 5 gets rave reviews

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Chair 5 1 DT 12-17-10

VAIL, Colorado – One week after Vail’s brand new High Noon Express chair lift opened, skiers and snowboarders are enjoying multiple runs through some of Vail Mountain’s most beloved terrain faster than they’ve ever experienced it before.

Up until last week’s new Chair 5 debut, skiers and riders would often ski just one run in the Sun Up and Sun Down bowls because it could take as long as 45 minutes to ride the old Chair 5 lift out of the bowls.

Daniel Morris, a former local who now lives in Denver, said the new lift has essentially opened up an entire new section of the mountain because there are no longer worries about wasting half the day waiting in line.

“It’s a few years late, but it’s fantastic,” Morris said. “The terrain has always been great, but the lift was really the Achilles heel back here.”

The old chair, a slow-moving three-seater, took about 12 minutes to get to the top – that is if high winds or other problems didn’t slow the chair down even more. Some skiers remember getting stuck on the lift more times than they’d like to recall, with cold wind gusts blasting them in their faces as they waited to get moving again.

The new chair whisks skiers and riders to the top in about 6 minutes.

Some criticize the faster chair for providing too much access – complaints include worries that the snow will now get tracked out a lot sooner – but people like Allen Wallingford, of Denver, think the improved access is a good thing.

“I think this just gets more people on the hill and everyone gets to have more fun,” Wallingford said.

The Sun Up and Sun Down runs can be pretty tiring, which is why he doesn’t think people are going to constantly loop through there all day.

“You can only do this for so long because it beats you up, so people keep rotating through and moving all over the mountain. I don’t think it’ll bog down at all,” Wallingford said.

Dave Schartz, of Frisco, thinks the new lift is about more than a faster ride.

“It’s an improvement, and it’ll change the whole dynamic of the mountain,” Schartz said. “It’ll spread people out differently and give you more choices – quicker choices.”

Todd Bogar, from Pennsylvania, was looking forward to his first ride on the new lift Friday morning. He said he’s been coming to Vail just about every year for 15-20 years, and it’ll be nice to not stand in a long lift line at Chair 5.

“When it gets crowded, people are going to love this lift,” Bogar said.

It’s a much different story than in years past. People like Rich Pye, of New Jersey, would avoid heading back to the Sun Down or Sun Up bowls all together because of the long lines. He would look for powder elsewhere and try to stay away from the crowds.

His only complaint now is that the panty tree is gone.

“My girlfriend’s were on there, but they took them off,” Pye said. “We need a new panty tree.”

The tree, which displayed hundreds of pairs of ladies’ underwear, as well as Mardi Gras beads, had become a part of the Chair 5 experience but had to be cut down to make room for the new lift. Pye suspects ladies will continue to take it off and start a new panty tree near the lift soon.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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