Vail Resorts announced an unprecedented number of on-mountain projects planned for the 2022-23 North American ski and ride season in what will be the Company’s largest single-year investment into the guest experience. The sweeping set of 19 new chairlifts, including 12 high-speed lifts, a new 8-person high-speed gondola and 6 new fixed-grip lifts, is part of Vail Resorts’ $315 million to $325 million capital investment plan for 2022 which is designed to materially reduce wait times, increase uphill capacity and create more lift-served terrain. The projects outlined below span 14 resorts coast-to-coast including Whistler Blackcomb, Vail Mountain, Park City Mountain, Keystone Resort, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Stowe Mountain Resort, Mount Snow and more. Additional projects within the CY22 plan will be announced in December 2021 and March 2022.
Epic Lift Upgrade
Today’s announcement is part of Epic Lift Upgrade, Vail Resorts’ new initiative to deliver game-changing lift upgrades that will significantly improve and enhance the guest experience and make getting on and around its mountains easier, faster and more enjoyable. With this latest capital plan, Vail Resorts’ total investment into the guest experience over 15 years is expected to reach approximately $2.2 billion, which has included transformational lift and terrain projects as well as industry-leading snowmaking infrastructure and state-of-the-art technological innovations. For the upcoming 2021-22 North American ski and ride season, the Company expects to spend approximately $120 million in new projects such as McCoy Park at Beaver Creek Resort and new lifts at Breckenridge, Keystone, Okemo and Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
“Our mission at Vail Resorts is to provide an Experience of a Lifetime to anyone who visits our resorts – and delivering on that mission requires constant re-imagination and investment into the guest experience,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “Our teams have been hard at work identifying significant opportunities to improve the guest experience and have produced an initial list of exciting lift upgrades, a restaurant expansion and projects that expand access to incredible terrain for next season, with more to be announced.
“At some of our mountains, this means new high-speed lifts that will double how fast we can move people out of the base areas, and at others, the projects are all about making it easier for people to explore different sections of the mountain,” Katz continued. “Overall, our goal is for guests to have more time to enjoy the sport they love. Of course, all of these projects for the 2022-23 season are on top of the big improvements we will have ready this upcoming 2021-22 ski and ride season, which we cannot wait to unveil to guests in just a few months.”
Projects planned ahead of the 2022-23 season include:
British Columbia, Canada
Whistler Blackcomb, Creekside Gondola: A new high-speed 8-person gondola, replacing the existing 6-person gondola, will significantly improve wait times and increase out-of-base uphill capacity by 35% in the Creekside area, especially on high-volume days.
Whistler Blackcomb, Big Red Express: The replacement of the existing high-speed 4-person lift with a high-speed 6-person chair will increase uphill capacity by nearly 30% and enhance and modernize the guest experience mid-mountain out of the Creekside area.
Keystone Resort, Bergman Bowl: Enhancements to Bergman Bowl will include a new high-speed 6-person chairlift, increasing lift-served terrain by 555 acres. Additional enhancements include 16 new trails, a ski patrol facility and snowmaking infrastructure. This project unlocks access for novice and intermediate guests and provides expanded entry to expert terrain in Independence and Erickson Bowls.
Keystone Resort, Outpost Restaurant: An approximately 6,000 square feet expansion of the existing Outpost restaurant will add 300 more indoor seats and 75 more outdoor seats for guests.
Vail Mountain, Sun Down Lift in the Legendary Back Bowls: The installation of a new high-speed 4-person chair in the Sun Down Bowl from the base of Chair 5 (High Noon Express) to the Wildwood restaurant will materially reduce wait times on peak days at Chair 5 and create the opportunity for skiers and riders to much more conveniently access the trails in Sun Down Bowl.
Vail Mountain, Game Creek Bowl: Skiers and riders will see improved reliability and capacity in this popular bowl with the replacement of the current 4-person chair with a new high-speed 6-person lift, increasing capacity by nearly 50%.
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Rip’s Ride Lift: The beginner/ski and ride school experience will be enhanced at the highly utilized Peak 8 base area by replacing the current fixed-grip double with a high-speed 4-person chair, increasing uphill capacity by nearly 70% and improving out-of-base circulation.
Park City Mountain, Eagle Lift: A high-speed 6-person chair with a new mid-station will replace the existing Eagle lift, significantly reducing crowding and wait times, and improving the guest experience, especially for beginner skiers and ski and ride school guests.
Park City Mountain, Silverlode 8-Person Lift: Vail Resorts’ first-ever high-speed 8-person chair, replacing an existing 6-person chair, will increase uphill capacity by 20% and reduce wait times at a critical spot to circulate guests on mountain.
Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
Northstar California, Comstock Lift: A new high-speed 6-person chair will replace the existing mid-mountain 4-person chair and is designed to reduce wait times at one of the mountain’s most popular lifts and increase uphill capacity by nearly 50%.
Heavenly Ski Resort, North Bowl Lift: The replacement of an existing fixed-grip triple with a high-speed 4-person chair will increase uphill capacity by more than 40% and reduce the combined ride time of the Boulder and North Bowl lifts, which is expected to reduce wait times at the Stagecoach and Olympic lifts.
Vermont & New Hampshire
Stowe Mountain Resort, Mountain Lift: The replacement and extension of the existing fixed-grip triple to a high-speed 6-person lift will increase uphill capacity by 100%, eliminate the steep hike to the base of the lift, improve reliability on windy days and offer beginner and intermediate guests with better access to lower-level terrain choices.
Mount Snow, Sundance/Tumbleweed Lift: The replacement of two fixed-grip triples with one high-speed 6-person lift will improve access to underutilized terrain and alleviate pressure on other lifts in the main base area, increasing uphill capacity by nearly 70%.
Mount Snow, Sunbrook Lift: A new high-speed 4-person chair to replace the existing fixed-grip triple will significantly decrease the current 14-minute ride time by approximately 30% and result in better utilization of the Sunbrook terrain.
Attitash Mountain Resort: The replacement of the East and West Double-Double chairs with one fixed-grip 4-person chair will improve reliability and enhance the overall guest experience at Attitash.
Pennsylvania & Ohio
Jack Frost/Big Boulder: The replacement and consolidation of multiple lifts at both resorts will improve reliability and enhance the overall guest experience. Jack Frost will receive two new fixed-grip 4-person chairs (one to replace the B & C lifts and the other to replace the E & F lifts) and Big Boulder will receive a new fixed-grip 4-person chair to replace the Edelweiss Triple.
Boston Mills/Brandywine: At Boston Mills, the resort will get a new fixed-grip 4-person chair replacing the Lift 5 double. At Brandywine, a new fixed-grip 4-person chair will replace the Lift 3 triple. Both projects will enhance reliability and the overall guest experience.