Work resumes on new Sun Down lift, which will be No. 17 at Vail |

Work resumes on new Sun Down lift, which will be No. 17 at Vail

A helicopter hovers over the Wildwood area of Vail Mountain, which will see two new lifts put in this summer. In addition to the upgrade of Chair 7, seen here, a new lift will be added to the adjacent Sun Down Bowl on Vail Mountain.
Vail Resorts/Courtesy image

Construction crews on Vail Mountain have resumed work on the installation of the new Sun Down Lift following the expiration of a wildlife closure which had been in effect since May 6.

The new lift will be No. 17, which is the same number used by the former Sun Up Lift in the adjacent bowl. The Sun Up Lift was upgraded to the Sun Up Express Lift in 2016, at which time the number was changed from 17 to 9.

Sun Up, Sun Down, and the rest of Vail’s seven Back Bowls, along with Blue Sky Basin, close annually from May 6 to July 1 in an effort to prevent anyone from going into or being in the Back Bowls. The closure was established by the U.S. Forest Service for the protection of elk during calving season.

New Game Creek lift also

The closure does not apply to Game Creek Bowl, however, where work is also underway to replace the aging Game Creek Express (No. 7). Game Creek Express was the oldest lift at Vail, installed in 1985.

A 1999 map of Vail’s Back Bowls from the U.S. Forest Service, showing the area which closes from May 6 to July 1 each year.
USFS/Courtesy image

Work on the new, six-seat Game Creek lift is coming along nicely, Vail Resorts Senior Communications Manager John Plack said on Tuesday.

“The old Game Creek Express lift has been fully removed and many of the parts, including the new terminals, have started to arrive to the mountain,” Plack said.

The Game Creek lift and the Sun Down lift will both reach their terminus in the Wildwood Area of Vail Mountain, where skiers and snowboarders can access the frontside of the mountain as well as the Game Creek and Sun Down bowls.

$2 billion in 15 years

The new Wildwood area lifts at Vail are part of a $325 million upgrade plan at Vail Resorts properties across the country this summer which the company says is the largest single-year investment into the guest experience it has ever made.

Crews work the Game Creek Express towers on Vail Mountain. The lift will be upgraded to a six-pack for the 2022-23 season.
Vail Mountain/Courtesy image

Three of the lifts in the project were recently denied by the Park City Planning Commission, which upheld an appeal saying the lift upgrades did not meet development agreement criteria when it came to parking requirements.

Vail Mountain CEO Kirstin Lynch, in an earnings call in March, told investors that the new capital plan puts Vail Resorts in the billions category when it comes to investments in the guest experience.

“Including our calendar year 2022 capital plan, Vail Resorts will have invested over $2 billion in capital investments since launching the Epic Pass (in 2008),” Lynch said.

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