Twenty new lift towers were installed yesterday morning at Vail Mountain, the beginning of a new lift out of Vail’s Sun up and Sun Down bowls. The construction for Vail’s new Chair 5, also known as the High Noon Express Lift, has been under way since the spring, when Vail Mountain removed the old chairlift.
The new Chair 5 is will cut the ride time out of Vail’s Sun Up and Sun Down bowls in half, from 12 minutes down to 6 minutes. The new lift will be open this coming winter season, premiering as soon as snow permits the opening of Vail’s Back Bowls.
In spite of the recession, Vail continues to invest in capital improvements. The new lift is part of $75 million to $85 million in capital improvements at the company’s resorts this summer.
The old Chair 5, built in 1979, was a fixed-grip, three-seater, slow by current standards and resulting in long lines on weekends or powder days. The new Chair 5, a high-speed quad, will be able to carry 2,400 people per hour — 1,000 more people per hour than the old lift could handle.