Vail Mountain Receives Final Approvals on Mountaintop Express Lift Replacement

04 June 2013
  • New Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) will feature first loading conveyor system for a high-speed, six-passenger lift of its kind in North America
  • Gopher Hill Lift (#12) replacement also approved
  • Both lifts will open to the public for the 2013-2014 winter ski and snowboard season
VAIL, Colo. — June 4, 2013 —Vail Mountain, the largest ski resort in the United States, announced that it has received approval to construct a new high-speed, six-passenger Doppelmayr chairlift, replacing the four-passenger Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) from Mid-Vail to Patrol Headquarters. Construction will begin immediately and the lift will be operational for the 2013-2014 ski and snowboard season.
The Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) will feature loading gates with a right angle load and a loading conveyor system, which has been shown to reduce the number of lift stops and slows, thereby increasing the efficiency of the lift. The systems have been widely used throughout European resorts for years and this will mark the first loading conveyor on a high-speed, six-passenger lift of its kind in North America. The new lift will result in a 33 percent increase in capacity, or 3,600 people per hour, which is the same capacity as Vail’s new Gondola One. The old Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) was installed in 1985 and provides access to Patrol Headquarters and a number of surrounding areas including the legendary Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin.
“The Mountaintop Express Lift is one of the busiest lifts on Vail Mountain,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “Upgrading it to a six-passenger lift and adding capacity will make a noticeable improvement in wait times and skier/snowboarder circulation. The use of the loading conveyor, which is a common feature at top European resorts, is an added luxury and reduces the frequency of misloads as well.”
The new lower lift terminal of the Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) will be located approximately 90 feet to the east of the previous terminal, resulting in a lift maze configuration that will decrease cross-traffic of skiers and snowboarders in the surrounding area. The upper terminal location will undergo minor adjustments to accommodate a more efficient circulation of skiers and snowboarders.
The resort has also received final approval to replace the Gopher Hill Lift (#12), a fixed-grip double chairlift, with a fixed-grip triple chairlift. The Gopher Hill Lift (#12) in Golden Peak – a fixed-grip double Riblet chairlift installed in 1974 – will be replaced by the old Rose Bowl lift (#4) from Beaver Creek, which was removed in the spring of 2011. The fixed-grip triple Doppelmayr lift will increase capacity by 50 percent over the existing lift, which predominantly provides access to the Golden Peak area for beginners as well as access to Vail Village. The lower terminal will be adjusted slightly in both location and elevation to allow beginner guests easier access to the lift and to facilitate better use of both the west and east lift mazes.
“The new triple lift in Golden Peak will allow for twice the capacity of our three to six year olds enrolled in lessons, as they are required to ride the lift with an adult,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “While this upgrade may seem small to our more experienced guests, it’s a critical improvement for our newest and youngest visitors to get them on the hill and learning faster.”
The majority of the both old lifts will be recycled and some components will be kept as spare inventory for Vail or other Vail Resorts mountains.
For more information about Vail Mountain, visit Vail.comor contact the Mountain Information Center at (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).
About Vail Mountain
Coveted as the largest ski resort in the United States 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.  

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 resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; 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 and consumer website is


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