Draft Record of Decision Guidelines Published for Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery Proposal

22 August 2014
  • Pending final decision, Vail plans to construct activities beginning in summer 2015
     
  • Epic Discovery initiative to encourage “learning through play,” promoting environmental education and forest stewardship through fun, active experiences in concert with The Nature Conservancy
     
  • Proposal marks the first of its kind in the country following the passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act
The U.S. Forest Service has published a draft record of decision regarding the Vail Resorts, Inc.’s (NYSE: MTN) first-of-its-kind comprehensive summer activities proposal – Epic Discovery, a Summer Mountain Adventure – at Vail Mountain, one of the largest ski resorts in the world.
 
The primary activities and enhancements included in the draft record of decision are as follows: 
  • Micro-Interpretive Centers for Education: Integrated with trails and activities around the mountain, these interpretive experiential centers will provide guests with hands-on information and activities about forest health, wildlife and the mountain geography of the White River National Forest.
  • Game Creek and Front Side Zip Line Tours: The ultimate outdoor experiences, these guided tours will immerse guests in the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges. Guests will learn about the mountain ecosystem while working their way through each course’s challenges.
  • More Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails: Comprehensive interpretive and directional signage will be integrated to encourage more hiking and mountain biking across Vail Mountain and descending into the villages below.
  • Family Forest Adventure Park: A playground of rope challenges and bridges to introduce young children to the wonders of the forest.
  • Forest Flyer™: An alpine coaster that runs on raised rails, the Forest Flyer™ winds its way down the mountain, following the natural contours of the landscape through the forest.
  • Wildwood Observation Deck: A panoramic viewing balcony nestled within awe-inspiring scenery of alpine forests, meadows of wildflowers and wildlife.
The proposal, which was submitted in July 2012 and has undergone a comprehensive environmental review, followed the passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act, championed by U.S. Senator Mark Udall of Colorado. Following a 45-day objection period, Vail Resorts expects the final record of decision to be published this fall and to begin construction of trails, activities and the interpretive program in summer 2015.
 
“The draft decision is a significant step in being able to provide visitors from around the world with tremendous opportunities to learn about the ecosystem and wildlife on our mountains through fun experiences on Vail Mountain during the summertime,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “Epic Discovery will make the national forest more accessible and engaging, and will also create jobs in our community and contribute positively to the local economy. None of this would be possible without our partnership with the U.S. Forest Service as well as the support of Colorado’s elected officials and the passage of legislation.”
 
The Epic Discovery initiative will encourage “learning through play” by combining extensive environmental educational elements with numerous fun experiential activities for kids and adults. The combined result will offer guests an unparalleled opportunity to try new outdoor activities, challenge themselves physically, discover an appreciation for nature and create lasting memories.
 
“Thanks to my bipartisan Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, Colorado ski areas and resort communities have the tools they need to create jobs, strengthen tourism and boost outdoor recreation. The U.S. Forest Service's draft decision today in favor of Vail Resorts' efforts to enhance its ski area and promote economic development is a step in the right direction,” U.S. Senator Mark Udall said. “I urge Coloradans to engage with the U.S. Forest Service and local resorts to ensure the law continues to be used to strengthen local economies and support jobs while protecting our natural resources.”
 
Through a partnership with the leading conservation non-profit organization, The Nature Conservancy, Epic Discovery will bring scientific content to the eco-discovery experiences. Vail Resorts plans to contribute one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects on national forest lands through a new program called “1% For The Forest”.
 
Epic Discovery activities and environmental interpretive programming will be designed to be compatible with the existing on-mountain infrastructure of lifts and trails, blending into the natural environment in an unobtrusive manner.
 
Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain is the first installment of summer mountain adventure plans that Vail Resorts has for several of its world-class resorts, including Breckenridge and Heavenly.
 
To learn more about Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain, visit www.epicdiscovery.com. For more information about Vail Mountain visit www.vail.com, stop by the Mountain Information Center, or call (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).
 
About Vail Mountain
Coveted as one of the largest ski resorts in the world with more than 5,200 acres of skiable terrain, seven legendary Back Bowls spanning seven miles, and the most groomed terrain on the planet, Vail has been an extraordinary winter vacation destination for passionate skiers and snowboarders for more than 50 years. It is home to world-class athletes during the U.S. Ski Team early-season training sessions in Golden Peak, the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships and the future 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships. Under blue skies more than 300 days each year, friends and families reconnect and celebrate here from year to year and generation to generation. The vacation experience is exceptional, from the Vail Ski & Snowboard School to events, activities and festivals, 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 is a mountain resort like nothing on earth. www.vail.com.  
 
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About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN)
Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort 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.

Contact(s)

Liz Biebl

Senior Manager of Communications
Email: ebiebl@vailresorts.com
Phone: (970) 754-3001

Sara Lococo

Keystone Communications Manager
Email: slococo@vailresorts.com
Phone: (970) 496-1493
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