By David Schissler
(November 2012) If you’ve ever been to Vail you know the Vista Bahn high-speed quad has been the epicenter of the Vail Village lift system since the early ’80s. Riders often endured long lines during the morning rush up to Mid Vail. No more. When Vail opens for the 2012-2013 season on November 16th, just in time to celebrate Vail’s 50th anniversary, riders will be treated to the fastest and most luxurious gondola in North America! The new 10-passenger gondola increases uphill capacity by 40 percent by traveling 1,200 feet per minute. Ride time is cut from 9 minutes to a cozy 7.5 minutes while carrying 3,600 riders per hour up the 2 miles from the base of Vail Village to Mid-Vail. The gondola cabins are heated, have cushioned seats and free Wi-Fi access. The new gondola will have the number “1” to commemorate Vail’s original gondola in that same location.
Instead of the now out-dated bubble chairs hanging from a cable, there will be sleek gondola cabins. The base facility for the new lift will look much the same as it has since Vail chose to go with an open air terminal unlike the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead which is enclosed.
“We could think of no better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vail Mountain than by making a dramatic investment to improve the experience for our guests. The new gondola will set a standard for how we transport guests up the mountain, significantly reducing wait times at one of the most popular and recognized lifts anywhere in the world…” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.
For more information about Vail Mountain, contact the Mountain Information Center at (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245) or visit: www.vail.com