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Vail Resorts To Pump Up To $140 Million Into 8 Resorts

Red Tail Beaver Creek

Vail Resorts’ officials have announced the company is pumping a record $130 million to $140 million in capital improvements into eight of its nine ski resorts in four states. 


Included are a new six-pack chairlift at Vail, a new on-mountain restaurant at Beaver Creek and 543 acres of additional ski terrain and two new chairlifts at Breckenridge. That figure includes $25 million for the first phase of Epic Discovery, the company’s summer activities plan enabled by federal legislation in 2012.


The plan calls for new zip lines, ropes courses, climbing walls, Forest Flyers (alpine coasters), summer tubing, education centers and expanded hiking and mountain biking trails at Vail, Beaver Creek, BreckenridgeKeystoneHeavenly and Northstar.


The company will spend $10 million each on its two latest acquisitions -- Afton Alps near Minneapolis, Minn., and Mt. Brighton near Detroit, Mich. The two so-called “urban” ski areas are part of a plan to tap into an estimated 450,000 skiers and snowboarders in those two markets. (See related SnoCountry.com Midwest story by Mike Terrell).


Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz on Wednesday told analysts the company wants to improve the local ski experience and then entice Michigan and Minnesota snow riders to travel out west to try the company’s resorts in Colorado and California.


“This year's plan represents the culmination of many years of hard work with recent regulatory approvals allowing for projects such as Epic Discovery and the Peak 6 terrain expansion at Breckenridge, as well as a focused acquisition strategy that allows for a stronger connection to skiers and riders in Minneapolis and Detroit,” Katz said in a press release.


After applying for U.S. Forest Service approval last week, Vail Resorts on Wednesday announced it will replace Mid-Vail’s Mountain Top Express high-speed quad chairlift with a six-passenger chairlift for next ski season.


“The new six-person chairlift will increase capacity by 33 percent, dramatically reducing lift lines and building on this year's success of the newly built Gondola One,” company officials said in a press release. Vail added Gondola One this season – a 10-passenger gondola from Vail Village to Mid-Vail.


In anticipation of the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships – scheduled for February of that year – the company will build a new 500-seat gourmet restaurant and “upscale cafeteria” at Red Tail Camp, located at the finish of the men's and women's downhill courses.


And at Breckenridge, after years of regulatory wrangling, Vail Resorts will open Peak 6 – a 543-acre ski expansion that includes two new chairlifts. The expansion will increase Breck’s skiable terrain by 23 percent.


“Peak 6 will become another iconic feature of Breckenridge, and will better disperse skiers and improve the guest experience across the resort, which is perennially the No. 1 or No. 2 most visited mountain resort in the United States,” company officials said.


{This story was prepared by our partners at Mountain iJournals in its Aspen Business Journal edition)


Photo: Fans at base of Red Tail at Beaver Creek will have new restaurant site for watching World Cup and 2015 World Championship races. (Vail Valley Foundation)





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