Vail Installs New Gondola for 2012/2013

Chief Snow Junkie November 15, 2012 0

Vail opens tomorrow and they’re showing off the newly installed “One” Gondola, a tribute to Vail’s original gondola. The dedication cermony will be Friday, Nov. 16 at 8:30 am.

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The new gondola, “One”, commemorates Vail’s original gondola in that location. The cabins carry 10 passengers and each will feature heated, cushioned seats and Wi-Fi access for guests. With a speed of 1,200 feet per minute, the gondola will be the fastest gondola of its type in the world, creating a 40 percent increase in uphill capacity. The new gondola will have a ride time of 7.5 minutes versus the 9 minute ride time of the existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16), which it will replace.

Dang! Wi-fi? Now you can check Facebook in between runs (actually that sounds horrible). I’m more excited to lose the Vista Bahn lift, although guessing you’ll still find me slipping onto the Riva Bahn Express on Saturday mornings to skip that massive base area crowd. One major flaw with the new gondola: It still doesn’t go all the way to the top of the mountain. Here’s the reasoning:

    1) The alignment to both provide access to Mid-Vail and to put a turn station in a location to provide the access that the Mountaintop Express Lift #4) currently provides doesn’t work.

2) Our guests would not want to have to take skis/boards off every time they rode the length of the Mountaintop Express Lift (#4). A gondola makes great sense in replacing the Vista Bahn (#16) because Vail guests don’t typically cycle (make laps) on it.

3) There would not be enough capacity available when cabins arrived at Mid-Vail to accommodate those who wanted to ride from there to the top. Therefore, the significant incremental cost associated with installing the gondola to Mid-Vail with a turn station and then to the top, plus replacing the Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) at some point soon doesn’t make sense.

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