Vail Resorts announced last week the ski company will replace the four-passenger, high-speed quad Chair 11 (Northwoods Express) with a new six-passenger high-speed chairlift for next ski season. The new lift marks the 10th lift replacement in the last 11 years at Vail. This plan is subject to U.S. Forest Service approval.
Chair 11 is one of the key lifts for moving skiers and snowboarders from the eastern expanses of Vail Mountain, including the Back Bowls, toward the western side of the mountain and the front side terrain that accesses Vail Village and Lionshead.
“The replacement of Northwoods will impact a key area of the mountain, especially at the end of the day, as guests are leaving Blue Sky Basin and making their way west,” said Doug Lovell, chief operating officer at Vail Mountain.
The new lift will reduce wait times and increase capacity by 25 percent. The increase will also improve the flow of skiers and snowboarders to the legendary Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin throughout the day, as well as create a better flow of traffic exiting Blue Sky Basin and moving across the mountain at the end of the day.
The current lift – a Doppelmayr detachable-quad– was installed in 1985, along with a group of lifts including, the original Vista Bahn Express (#16), Mountain Top Express (#4) and the current Game Creek Express (#7). The Vista Bahn Express was upgraded in 2012 to the 10-passenger Gondola One, and in 2013, Mountain Top Express was upgraded to a detachable six-pack.