Colorado's Favorite Ski Resort - Vail Sets the Bar High with New Gondola

Colorado's Favorite Ski Resort - Vail Sets the Bar High with New Gondola

Jack Affleck Photography, Vail Gondola, vail resort rentals, vail condominium rentals, Vail Ski Resort in Colorado Installing New Gondola

Photos courtesy Vail Resorts / Jack Affleck

The Vista Bahn.  It is one of the most iconic, recognizable chairlifts on Vail Mountain, one of Colorado’s favorite ski resorts.  It’s where the anticipation and socializing begin on a powder day, and where friends and families gather to start their ski adventure.  “Let’s meet at the Visty” is a phrase many of us have spoken or texted once, twice or a hundred times.  So when Vail Resorts announced last year that they would be replacing this beloved chairlift, the news did not come lightly.  Especially when they confirmed that a high speed, 10-passenger gondola would be built in its place.  But the community is overjoyed to welcome this upgrade to the classic chairlift route from Vail Village.

This incredible Leitner-Poma lift infrastructure will carry sliver gondola cars by Sigma, a French manufacturer.  Vail likes to offer guests an incredible, topColorado condominiums, vail colorado rental, vail colorado resort, vail colorado resorts-notch ski experience, so it is no surprise that these cars are furnished with heated, cushioned seats and convenient Wi-Fi access for passengers.  But don’t plan to get too much work done on your mobile device on this ride, as it’s going to be a quick one clocking in at only 7 minutes.  Heated seats, which are electrically warmed to over 100 degrees while the gondola cars pass through the base terminal and while passengers are loading, retain heat and make your seat toasty for the quick ride.  The new gondola will increase uphill capacity by 40% at an unparalleled speed of 1200 feet per minute, making this the fastest gondola in the world.   

“The new gondola will be a tremendous addition to the guest experience in Vail, adding significant improvements in comfort, capacity and ride time for skiers and snowboarders out of Vail Village,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “I can’t think of a better way to kick off Vail’s 50th anniversary than with a new, state-of-the-art gondola in the same location where the very first Gondola One was built in 1962.”  The new gondola will carry the number “one” in honor of this vintage Vail gondola. 

The gondola construction has made an impression on the Vail community since it began after the close of the 2012 ski season.  The 1st 2 weeks of April, Vail locals watched as an incredible helicopter-aided removal of the old lift towers began.  Aided by the flying expertise of helicopter pilot Tim Norton of Mountain West Helicopters, the Vista Bahn was deconstructed piece by piece, with many of the lift towers being flown away from the site by Norton’s precise heli skills.  It took a total of 37 days to deconstruct the lift, and Vail Resorts worked diligently to find conscientious homes for deconstructed materials.  In all, a staggering 594,000 lbs of steel and 87,920 lbs of steel cable were recycled, and a good part of the remaining materials are being creatively repurposed around the resort, even as new features in the terrain park.  
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In June and July crews worked on preparing for new structures to be built by excavating, building foundations and pouring concrete for the Gondola tower bases.  This was another heli-assisted operation: a Huey helicopter flew containers of wet concrete to tower locations not accessible by road, where ground crews helped place them into position below.  Currently crews are working on laying foundations for the terminal stations and continuing work on preparations for the new lift towers.   According to mountain operations managers, the construction timeline is right on track for completion by November 16th.  Want to learn more about the fascinating process of constructing the new gondola?  Look for local channel TV8’s special segment about the details of the project, which will air this winter.

Simba Run Vail Condominiums – Vail’s Official Headquarters for Family Fun. Book your 2 bedroom, 2 bath condominiums rental at Colorado’s favorite ski resort, Vail Mountain.  Call 1-800-746-2278 or book online at