Sun Down Express #17 – Vail, CO This lift does not service new terrain but runs a brand new lift line in Sun Down Bowl. Upper station overview. Breakover towers 22 and 23. View down the long lift line. Tower 21. Open middle part of the lift line. Lift line crossing a number of stream beds. View down the line. Roller coaster profile. Upper half of the lift line. A tower with combination assemblies on both sides. Lower lift line. Towers 12 and 13. Another view up the line. Middle section of the line seen from below. The first few towers. Return station squeezed in next to the High Noon Express. View up at tower 2. Lower station and tower 1. Side view of the bottom station. Loading area and EpicMix reader. T1. Riding out of the bottom of the bowl. Middle lift line. Upper lift line. View back down at tower 18. T19. Tower 22. Arriving at the top of Game Creek Bowl. Unloading area. Another view of the drive station. Share this:EmailTwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading...
For all the bad press and negative coverage Vail absorbs, VR continues to invest impressively in its flagships. The lift fleets at Vail and Beaver Creek are basically flawless. This lift may not be “necessary” but it makes it one heck of a lot easier to lap some of the best Back Bowls terrain and greatly improves back of mountain access from the Lionshead base.
Gotta imagine Doppelmayr will get the next major contracts at Vail – Eagle Bahn and Orient replacements perhaps?
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The narrow ridge connecting the top terminals of 3, 7, and the new Lift 17 at Wildwood is rather annoying to traverse for anything other than laps of the lift you’re riding up on
Very cool lift profile! Much more technical and less of a consistent grade than sister Lift 5.
That roller coaster profile is a lot more impressive than High Noon’s.
High Noon just has two combi towers after the starting depression towers, then is regular support towers all the way up the bowl.
Sun Down has two mid-line depression towers, a very brief downhill leg going into tower 10, and then three combis as you begin the final ascent to Wildwood.
This is a very beautiful lift, in a very beautiful bowl. It’s also a great place to hide on crowded non-powder days (right up there with Chairs 10 and 38).
It definitely changes the character of Sundown Bowl, though it’s debatable if that’s a bad thing. Since this has opened, they’ve started grooming Ricky’s Ridge on a consistent basis. Prior to this lift, I don’t think they ever made a point of grooming anything in Sundown Bowl. And there’s something really cool about zipping down Sundown Catwalk and seeing this thing chugging along beside you, on the opposite side of the riparian zone.
In the 1960s and 70s there was a lone double chair (High Noon) servicing all of Sun Up and Sun Down bowls. That’s an utterly insane amount of acreage serviced by just one low-capacity chair. It must have felt very different from today. Now there are three high-speed quads that lap the terrain … a factor-of-eight boost in capacity.
All that said, you can still find plenty of untouched snow days after a storm out by Seldom/Never/OS. And it hasn’t turned the bowl into a giant mogul field (although part of that is surely how exceptional a snow year it’s been).
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*factor of six, give or take
It’s interesting how one can see the direct contrast between a first generation LPA quad and a current generation one in this picture.
High Noon Express: Omega chairs, 1990s style lifting frames, “gold swoosh” Leitner-Poma logo on the terminals and chairs
Sun Down Express: LPA chairs, 2012 style lifting frames, red Leitner-Poma logo on the terminals and chairs
Still, to all but the most observant, a pretty consistent look despite the 12 year difference
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