Watch Red Buffalo Express come together behind the scenes. #BeaverCreek
Posted by Beaver Creek Mountain on Friday, October 6, 2017
By David Schissler – Some of my favorite runs at Beaver Creek have been off of the Drink of Water lift, #5, at the top of the mountain. Yes, it’s pretty tame up there since it’s really a summit beginner area but its wide and rolling terrain is perfect for polishing and improving your technique with friends and family. Given the altitude of 11,440 feet and its’ out of the way location on top of the mountain, it’s also a good place to find powder stashes long after the more popular powder runs are tracked out. The view of the Gore range from the summit alone is worth the ride up.
This season the old fixed double, which is the last original lift on BC and dates back to 1980, will be replaced by the former Montezuma HSQ from Keystone. The Red Buffalo Express gets its name from the Red Buffalo trail. Both are named after two large peaks in the Gore Range, Red Peak and Buffalo Peak. The new lift reduces ride time from 8.6 minutes to 4.3 minutes, and increases uphill capacity by 75 percent. It will unload next to the top of Cinch Express. All of the primary lifts on Beaver Creek are now high-speed. There are 16 HSQ, 2 six-packs, and 2 gondolas. The Red Buffalo Express is the centerpiece of BC’s new Red Buffalo Park. It will feature a 200+ acre learning area, a Cookie Cabin mountaintop refuge serving Beaver Creek’s famed fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies daily, Kids’ Adventure Zones, snow sculptures, a Ski School Skills Zone on Upper Sheephorn, Park 101 and Zoom Room terrain parks.
“Red Buffalo Park is all about more time skiing with your family in an area that focuses on beginners and intermediate skiers and riders. Upgrading Red Buffalo Express Lift will provide high-speed lift access to the amazing beginner terrain at the top of Beaver Creek, resulting in less time riding the lift and more time skiing,” said Beth Howard, chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Resort. “We expect this improvement to take significant volume off Cinch Express, Beaver Creek’s second most-popular lift, and it really is an improvement befitting of Beaver Creek’s luxury, family experience, as it enhances a key beginner and family area of our mountain.”
The 17 towers that made up Drink of Water will be sent to a recycling center. Vail Mountain sometimes saves towers for possible use in the future, said Carl Eaton, lift maintenance manager at Beaver Creek. “The destruction part is the fun part because it’s taking things apart,” Eaton said. “We don’t have to be as meticulous as when we put it together.”
RED BUFFALO EXPRESS SPECS:
15 Towers (from Keystone’s Montezuma Express)
4.3 Minutes from bottom to top
13 trails dedicated to beginner and learning terrain
11,440 feet elevation at top of lift
Photos courtesy of Vail Resorts: