News: Vail Announces New Gondola With Wi-Fi, Heated Seats And Record Speed

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The majority of the Vista Bahn Express Lift will be recycled. Some components will be kept at Vail Mountain as well as at some of Vail Resorts’ other mountains as spare inventory.

Vail, Colorado – Vail will celebrate its 50th anniversary in December 2012 with the installation of a new, state-of-the art gondola to replace the Vista Bahn Express Lift, #16, in Vail Village.

The new gondola will sport the number “1” to commemorate Vail’s original gondola in that location. The cabins will be designed to 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 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.

Construction of the gondola began immediately following the closing of the mountain in April and will be operational for opening day of the 2012-'013 ski season – Nov. 16, 2012 – just in time to celebrate Vail’s 50th anniversary.

“We’re thrilled not only to have the opportunity to work with Vail once again, but also to bring such a tremendous advancement in lift technology to the industry in North America,” said Rick Spear, president at Leitner-Poma of America, Inc. The lift manufacturer most recently constructed Vail’s High Noon Express Lift, #5, a high-speed quad that opened last season.

More than 50-percent of the lift will be manufactured in the United States at Leitner-Poma’s plant in Grand Junction, Colorado. The cabins and other portions will be constructed in Europe.

"Vail's continuing commitment to invest in a quality future is just another example of Colorado on the rise. This new gondola is exciting news for Vail and the many people from here and throughout the world who will no doubt enjoy this speedier access to the slopes," said Governor John Hickenlooper.

This will be the fastest single-cable, 10-passenger gondola in the world. There are other 10-seat gondolas with heated seats, but none of them have Wi-Fi or are designed to travel at 1,200 feet per minute.

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