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January 03, 2012

Vail Will Build New State-of-the-Art Gondola to Replace Existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16)

  • Leitner-Poma of America selected to build new high-capacity gondola with heated seats and Wi-Fi
  • Gondola will open to the public on Nov. 16, 2012
VAIL, Colo. — Jan. 3, 2012 — Vail Mountain, the largest ski resort in the United States, has selected Leitner-Poma of America to construct a proposed new, state-of-the-art gondola in Vail Village, the first of its kind in North America.

The gondola cabins will be designed to carry 10 passengers and each will feature heated, cushioned seats and Wi-Fi access for guests. With a speed of 1,200 feet per minute, the gondola will be the fastest gondola of its type in the world, creating a 40 percent increase in uphill capacity. The new gondola will have a ride time of 7.5 minutes versus the 9 minute ride time of the existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16), which it will replace.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to continually reinvest in Vail and to offer our guests a truly unique experience as they ride up the mountain,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “This new gondola will establish a whole new standard for comfort in lifts and – combined with speed and uphill capacity increases – will significantly improve the guest experience at Vail Mountain.”

Construction of the gondola is proposed to begin immediately following the closing of the mountain in April and will be operational for opening day of the 2012-2013 ski season – Nov. 16, 2012 – just in time to celebrate Vail’s 50th anniversary.

“We’re thrilled not only to have the opportunity to work with Vail once again, but also to bring such a tremendous advancement in lift technology to the industry in North America,” said Rick Spear, president at Leitner-Poma of America, Inc. The lift manufacturer most recently constructed Vail’s High Noon Express Lift (#5), a high-speed quad, which opened last season.

More than 50 percent of the lift will be manufactured in the United States at Leitner-Poma’s Grand Junction plant. The cabins and other portions will be constructed in Europe.

"Vail's continuing commitment to invest in a quality future is just another example of Colorado on the rise. This new gondola is exciting news for Vail and the many people from here and throughout the world who will no doubt enjoy this speedier access to the slopes," said Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The alignment of the new gondola will be very similar to the existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) and will allow for easier guest access at the base, a more functional interface with the Look Ma level of Mid-Vail and an easier downloading location from the top.

The new gondola is subject to Town of Vail and U.S. Forest Service approval.

For more information about Vail Mountain, visit Vail.com or contact the Mountain Information Center at (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).

About Vail Mountain
Quickly approaching its 50th anniversary in December 2012 and coveted as the largest ski resort in the United States with more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain, Vail is an extraordinary winter vacation destination. Spanning seven miles are seven legendary Back Bowls, blanketed last season with more than 40 feet of powder snow. Under blue skies more than 300 days each year and with more groomed terrain than anywhere on the planet, families reconnect and celebrate here from year to year and generation to generation. The vacation experience is world class, from the Vail Ski & Snowboard School to the events, activities and festivals, the shops and spas, abundant culinary experiences and luxurious accommodations. Coupled with the vision inherent in the spirit of Vail’s founders, and a modern day commitment to excellence in all aspects of guest service and operations, Vail can still credibly lay claim to being a resort like nothing on earth. Vail.com.

Photo: Vail’s proposed new, state-of-the-art gondola cabins, the first of their kind in North America, will look similar to the gondola cabin in this mockup.
Contact(s):
Liz Biebl
phone: (970) 754-3001
Sara Lococo
phone: (970) 754-4528

About Vail Resorts
Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resort properties of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone mountain resorts in Colorado, and the Heavenly Ski Resort and Northstar California in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada, and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort property and hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com.

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