Vail’s newest high-speed quad chairlift, the High Noon Express Lift (#5), also known as “Chair 5,” is set to officially open for the season on Friday, Dec. 10 at 9 a.m. The long-awaited lift boasts a ride time of six minutes, just half that of the fixed-grip triple chairlift it replaces. With the opening of the lift and surrounding terrain, Vail’s skiable acres will climb to 5,000 on Friday.
To celebrate the lift’s debut, guests are invited to gather at the top of the lift for complimentary cookies, hot cocoa and commemorative lapel pins while supplies last. Long-time Vail local’s Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer’s inaugural ride up the High Noon Express Lift (#5) will kick off the opening of the High Noon Express Lift and surrounding terrain at 9 a.m.
“There is nothing on earth like Vail’s Back Bowls on a powder day, and with 70 percent more capacity and half the ride time of the old lift, the new Chair 5, will allow our guests to move quicker up and around the mountain and get even more out of their days,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.
The legendary Back Bowls have been part of the ski scene since Vail opened in 1962 with only a gondola out of the village and two chairlifts, including the original lift out of the bowls. The area surrounding the new High Noon Express Lift (#5) is made up of Sun Up Bowl on the east side and Sun Down Bowl on the west with High Noon Ridge standing between and sweeping vistas of the Colorado high country that made the Back Bowls famous amongst skiers and snowboarders worldwide. Pepi himself was amongst the first to ski the terrain prior to its public opening in December 1962 and will be eternally linked to the long and infamous trail “Forever,” which he skied with Vail pioneers Dick Hauserman, Bob Parker and Morrie Shepard before the lift was installed, remarking that he thought it would take them “forever” to hike back out.
Manufactured by Leitner-Poma of America, the High Noon Express Lift (#5) will improve skier and rider circulation in the Sun Up and Sun Down areas and will also provide an alternate route for guests moving west from the top of the Teacup Express Lift (#36) at the end of the day. The new lift increases Vail’s uphill lift capacity to 59,092 people per hour.
Continue the Celebration at Vail Snow Daze
Don’t miss the Vail Snow Daze festivities surrounding the grand opening of the High Noon Express Lift (#5) all week long in Vail from the annual Dummy Demolition Derby to free performances by Weezer, O.A.R., Dwight Yoakam and Mix Master Mike. Vail Snow Daze, the resort’s biggest early-season event, takes place Dec. 6-12, 2010. For more information and a complete schedule of concerts, parties and contests, visit www.vail.com/snowdaze.
Starting Friday, Dec. 10, Vail Mountain lifts will open beginning at 8:30 a.m. Operating hours are posted at the base of all open lifts. Skiers and riders are asked to observe all posted signs and closures, especially during the early season. Closed trails may contain hazards due to early snow coverage. Crossing an on-mountain closure is a violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act and will result in the loss of skiing privileges and could involve prosecution and a fine of up to $1,000.