Vail Resorts to Build Three New Six-Packs in Colorado for 2017-18

With strong Epic Pass sales and early snow blanketing its properties, Vail Resorts revealed today it will go big on new lifts in 2017, adding additional six-place chairlifts at Vail, Keystone and Breckenridge as part of a $122 million capital program.  In the company’s first quarter results, CEO Rob Katz noted, “we remain committed to reinvesting in our resorts, creating an experience of a lifetime for our guests and generating strong returns for our shareholders.”  The news follows construction of four new lifts at Vail mountains in both 2015 and 2016.

vail 4-1-07 028
The Northwoods Express #11 on Vail Mountain will be replaced at the end of this year, the resort announced today.

On Vail Mountain, the Northwoods Express #11 will be replaced, leaving only three CLD-260 first-generation detachables in service.  The new Northwoods will also become the mountain’s 10th new lift in 11 years.  At Breckenridge, Vail will upgrade the Falcon high speed quad on Peak 10 to a six-person detachable, allowing more guests to experience some of the best intermediate and advanced terrain on the mountain.   The Falcon SuperChair is a 1986 Poma high speed quad also approaching the end of its useful life.  At Keystone, the 1990 Doppelmayr Uni-model Montezuma chair will be replaced with a six-pack version.

The six-place Avanti Express #2 at Vail replaced an older high speed quad in 2015 as part of Vail Resorts’ ongoing initiative to replace high-traffic lifts in recent years.

Leitner-Poma is likely to build Breckenridge’s newest lift, which would extend a 16-lift streak for the manufacturer at Breck.  Vail and Keystone operate a mix of Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr lifts and could plausibly sign with either company.  Noticeably absent from today’s release was any mention of new lifts for Park City or the newly-Epic Whistler-Blackcomb.  Vail Resorts will detail further capital improvements in the spring but these three projects are a huge start.

Update 1/23/17: Leitner-Poma will build and install all three of these lifts.


21 thoughts on “Vail Resorts to Build Three New Six-Packs in Colorado for 2017-18

  1. ALEX December 9, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    Additionally it looks like Vail Resorts is committing C$25 million (US$19 million) in investment in Whistler Blackcomb in calendar year 2017. Details are still TBD. As a comp when Whistler Blackcomb upgraded Harmony and Crystal the expense was C$18 million. Fingers crossed for more lift upgrades. Sounds like we will find out more at the next earnings in March.


    • Peter Landsman December 9, 2016 / 8:05 pm

      A chunk of that has to be for rolling out EpicMix. I hear the C$6 million WB+ system that’s only two years old is going bye-bye. Plus new Vail Resorts-branded uniforms, etc.

      The Magic Chondola is probably another year out and at some point Wizard/Solar Coaster will need to be addressed.


  2. Rob December 11, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    Magic won’t happen until Rennaisance is approved. Haven’t heard details, but a Wizard /Solar replacement would eat $25 million. (if you do it right)


    • RMurphy December 11, 2016 / 5:21 pm

      They will probably reuse it. Heavenly has some of that model, Park City needs a few more detachables, they could send it anywhere in the Midwest, or they could just use it for parts.


    • Peter Landsman December 11, 2016 / 5:32 pm

      If Montezuma isn’t relocated, it will be the first 1990s or later detachable to be scrapped in North America (excepting the Lift Engineering ones.)


      • Benjamin Bartz December 20, 2016 / 3:30 pm

        In my opinion, it would be smart to relocate the existing Montezuma to replace Wayback, like what was done at Park City with King Con/Motherlode. This would really help to quicken egress from the Outback terrain and potentially increase favorability of the terrain underneath Wayback.


  3. alex December 11, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    Rob – can you elaborate on doing Wizard/Solar right? I was thinking HSS-B for Wizard and HSS for Solar? WDYT?


  4. Rob December 12, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    Wiz/Solar needs to be a gondola for the summer traffic. Needs to be 3600pph and 6m/s line speed. Also long terminal loading so you get capacity and if you do a mid-station it will be even more expensive. I’d do a single section gondola to replace wizard to the alpine and put a new HSS to replace solar. I think the stations need to be in buildings as well, as opposed to terminal structures.


    • Doppelmayr FTW! December 12, 2016 / 6:25 pm

      Why would they need to be buildings? Is there a benefit besides chair/cabin storage?


      • Rob December 13, 2016 / 1:24 pm

        Much easier to maintain the load/unload areas. Better for summer guests in bad weather. Better cargo transport options

        Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Landsman December 13, 2016 / 11:21 am

      +1 on long loading areas, Rob. Bridger at JH was designed for 6.1 m/s but the doors aren’t open long enough for it to run anywhere close to that. It’s tough to load efficiently even at 4.2 m/s.


      • Doppelmayr FTW! December 13, 2016 / 2:23 pm

        Cant that be solved with a longer UNI-G?


  5. Rob Withey December 13, 2016 / 11:32 pm

    Yes it can. Look at the newer euro lifts like the new ones in Solden. Just need a longer terminal between the accel/decel and the turn around.


  6. Doppelmayr FTW! December 14, 2016 / 7:47 am

    Ah yes euro resorts love their fast lifts! What is the name of the 8 passenger lift that can do 6 m/s? It is escaping me at the moment.


  7. Rob December 14, 2016 / 3:35 pm

    Gaislachkogelbahn is 6.0 m/s and the new Giggijochbahn is 6.5m/s


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