Game Creek Express #7 – Vail, CO

vail 4-1-07 184
Doppelmayr CLD-260 terminal.
vail 4-1-07 186
View down the line.
vail 4-1-07 187
Bottom station in Game Creek Bowl.
vail 4-1-07 189
View up from the base.
vail 4-1-07 191
Riding up at tower 2.
vail 4-1-07 193
Arriving up top.
vail 4-1-07 194
Unloading area.
Side view of the bottom terminal.
Loading area.
View back down the line.
Unloading area.
Upper part of the lift line.
Lower lift line.
Inside the top terminal.

35 thoughts on “Game Creek Express #7 – Vail, CO

  1. Matt August 19, 2018 / 7:36 pm

    Is Vail going through with the 6-pack replacement this off-season?


      • Donald M. Reif April 2, 2019 / 4:35 pm

        With no announcement out of Vail Resorts, it might be a 2020 project.


        • Myles Svec December 27, 2020 / 3:23 pm

          That’s what I guess I’m thinking for 2022 projects Replacement of Game Creek, Orient Express, 7th Heaven at Whistler Blackcomb and Arrowhead at beaver creek. Maybe Bergman bowl at keystone if they decide to move it to 2022.


  2. Ryan August 20, 2018 / 5:18 pm

    No, not hopefully! Let’s see this stick around a bit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt August 22, 2018 / 9:15 am

      While I do love this design, style, and particular lift, Game Creek desperately nerdsore capacity. Some of my favorite terrain at Vail, but I avoid it because lines get crazy.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Donald M. Reif March 12, 2019 / 10:49 am

        Also, lines can get especially long when they have to make long stops to load medical sleds onto the lift.


  3. Donald M. Reif February 28, 2019 / 7:24 pm

    I think the lifting frame on tower 1 was replaced at a later date.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Donald Reif August 30, 2019 / 9:21 am


  5. skitheeast November 20, 2019 / 9:58 am

    When they replace this lift with a six-pack, would it make sense to move the bottom terminal about 1000 feet downhill? Everyone coming over from Eagle’s Nest is currently jammed onto Game Trail and moving the bottom terminal down would allow for new trails to be cut (although not much cutting would be needed as it is pretty open with few trees) and better disperse the crowd.


    • Donald Reif November 20, 2019 / 7:19 pm

      Looking at that area, these new trails would have to be blacks. And yes, improving access to Game Creek Bowl from Eagle’s Nest would certainly take some traffic off the Avanti Express. In fact, it might also take traffic off the Mountaintop Express and Wildwood Express lifts since this traffic would also be able to use the Game Creek Express as a through route to the Sundown Bowl and the High Noon Express lift, and in the further grand scheme of things, allow these people to reach Blue Sky Basin from Lionshead while completely bypassing both Mid-Vail and Two Elk Lodge.


    • Donald Reif November 24, 2019 / 12:50 pm

      Looking at the new trail map, which relegates Game Creek Bowl to its own insert…yeah, new trails would be more likely to be blacks than blues.

      And not to change the subject, but there is an interesting question as to who the likely manufacturer would be of a six pack Game Creek Express lift, seeing as Vail has flip flopped between Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr for their lift projects over this decade, having gone with Leitner-Poma for the High Noon Express, Gondola One, Sun Up Express and Northwoods Express, but going with Doppelmayr for Gopher Hill, Mountaintop Express, Avanti Express and Golden Peak T-Bar. Meaning two of the six packs are Doppelmayrs and one is a Leitner-Poma. If I had to take a guess, Doppelmayr would be the likelier candidate since then the mountain would stay for the most part segregated by lift manufacturers, with the lifts of the east Front Side, plus the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin being all Pomas (except for the Doppelmayr outliers of the Orient Express and Mongolia platter), while the central and west Front Side entirely use Doppelmayr and Garaventa CTEC lifts (except for the Leitner-Poma outlier of Gondola One).


  6. Raj Thorp February 26, 2020 / 10:06 pm

    If Vail were to replace this lift with a 6 pack (as I see they are getting rid of their early generation chairs), then they would most likely stick with Leitner Poma. Though the Mountaintop Express was a Doppelmayr, they have been constructing Leitner-Poma lifts in the most recent years. Sun Up, Northwoods, One, and high noon are all examples. I think this lift definitely needs to go, especially because the crowds over here can get pretty big.


    • Donald Reif February 26, 2020 / 11:08 pm

      Doppelmayr also built the Avanti Express lift and the Golden Peak T-Bar. So far Vail has for the most part geographically divided the mountain by lift manufacturers. Leitner-Poma for everything on the East Front Side, the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin (except the Orient Express lift), and Doppelmayr for the central and west Front Side (except for Gondola One).


    • Jonathan December 14, 2020 / 9:11 pm

      One thing to keep in mind is Vail Resorts will never sign with just one contractor. For example, if Vail is building at Leitner-Poma resorts (Breckenridge, Okemo, Keystone, Crested Butte) and puts a bunch of contracts in with them, they will try to find some lifts to give Doppelmayr. Vail has a mixed fleet, so they tend to be more flexible with manufacturers. The year this lift replacement announced, we have to look at where Vail is building lifts and make an educated guess then.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lift Expert December 14, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    As of 2020, this is the oldest Operating lift built-in 1985.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif December 14, 2020 / 1:15 pm

      This also makes it the only one of Vail’s CLD-260s to have towers with the older style of lifting frame (the Orient Express and Born Free Express use the more modern style, as do both of the Doppelmayr high speed six packs).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jake December 16, 2020 / 7:27 pm

    Does anyone have some knowledge regarding the private cabin at the bottom of Game Creek lift?


    • Kevin December 16, 2020 / 10:12 pm

      That’s the founders cabin. Family and friends of the founders use it for lunches and breaks.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Donald Reif December 27, 2020 / 6:38 am

    Before 1989, this was one of those cases of a detachable that you could only access by riding a fixed grip chairlift (other than the Lionshead Gondola). That ended in 1989 when the Avanti Express lift was opened, as it provides entry into Game Creek Bowl via Faro and Ouzo.


  10. Tyler December 27, 2020 / 5:33 pm

    Game Creek went down for about an hour on December 26, one of the busiest days of the year, from about 1-2 because of the bottom turnaround chain (the end that handles spacing). They had a line of mechanics pushing the chairs around by hand with chair spacing all over the place to get everyone out running at a crawl after about 40 minutes out. They seem to have gotten it sorted out overnight. I was down there for the hour – at least it was a nice sunny day with plenty of daylight left when it went down. High-profile breakdown on a busy lift with no other way out that cost them half a day during a low-snow Christmas week probably gets some attention at headquarters, especially with Covid capacity tied to open terrain and lifts. They gave out maybe 500 free tickets to everyone stuck down there. No idea why Vail is replacing Peru at Keystone before this or Orient at Vail.

    Game Creek and Arrowhead at BC probably make the replacement list before Orient and Born Free because the latter two have alternate ways up if they’re out of commission. Arrowhead (and maybe even Born Free) can probably be a low-capacity Pine Marten-style HSQ replacement reusing most of the existing components. Game Creek and Orient definitely should be six-packs (as should Tea Cup – use that for the Mongolia or Sun Down HSQs and put a six pack for Tea Cup to get people out of Blue Sky).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif December 27, 2020 / 6:23 pm

      I’m sure Vail is reassessing to decide if a Game Creek upgrade should happen sooner rather than later.


  11. Jonathan January 3, 2021 / 5:39 pm

    I was skiing at Vail today and ended up dropping into Game Creek bowl. While riding, I happened to notice that the number stickers on the chairs were new, and different from the other high speed quads at Vail. Any idea why?

    Link to picture:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Icewolf760 January 3, 2021 / 5:55 pm

      I’m guessing they had to refurbish the chair’s stickers or replaced the old chairs.


      • Skristiansen January 3, 2021 / 6:13 pm

        Those have been there for a while. Two years I think. I hope this lift gets upgraded in 2021 or 2022


    • Donald Reif January 3, 2021 / 6:40 pm

      They look a lot like the number stickers that the original American Flyer and the old Colorado SuperChair had on their chairs. Or the ones Le Massif has on their oldest Doppelmayr high speed quad.


      • pbropetech January 4, 2021 / 8:38 am

        The numbers on the old Flyer were my custom design. Blue spray paint and white vinyl stickers from the industrial-supply catalogue. I doubt Vail copied me.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Donald Reif November 27, 2021 / 3:56 pm

    If LPA gets Vail’s 2022 lifts, I kinda hope that either Game Creek and/or Sundown gets a breakover similar to those that LPA has done for the Arizona and Snow King Gondolas.


    • Myles Svec November 27, 2021 / 5:24 pm

      I’m guessing that the lifts will be a split project with Game Creek going Doppelmayr and Sundown going Leitner-Poma to keep consistency with Highnoon/Sunup


  13. Ryan Thousand April 9, 2022 / 9:22 am



  14. Boardski April 9, 2022 / 11:37 am

    I remember the old Riblet double chairlift #7 from late 70s/ early 80s…


  15. gettheyoyo April 16, 2022 / 6:22 pm

    It really is high time for this lift to go. every time it stops it stays still for a good few minutes, and the smell of grease and oil at the terminals (yes, that happens on a lot of CLD’s) is very pungent. I think the six pack is coming right in time.


    • Donald Reif April 17, 2022 / 3:58 pm

      I think some of those lengthy stops aren’t for mechanical reasons but for the purposes of ski patrol needing to carry an injured guest up to be carted off the mountain (and thus needing to secure the toboggan to a chair).


  16. Donald Reif December 31, 2022 / 1:10 pm

    The new lift has 15 towers and 79 chairs. When it comes to the profile, the lift now has five consecutive combi towers, towers 6-10:

    I’ve not seen that many combis back-to-back since Tremblant’s Expo lift.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s