Vail The sound of helicopter propellers echoed through Vail on Thursday as crews installed the towers for Vail’s newest lift, Gondola 1.
Vail Mountain plans to announce the name of the gondola before its grand opening Nov. 16, which also is the opening day of Vail Mountain’s 50th anniversary ski season. For now, the lift is being called Gondola 1, which commemorates the original gondola built in the same location in the 1960s.
As the helicopter hauled in each tower piece by piece, Vail Mountain Chief Operating Officer Chris Jarnot watched from the base area beaming with pride. He said he’s been excited about the new gondola all along, especially as he watched construction progress throughout the summer. The resort began tearing down the old chairlift, the Vista Bahn, on closing day last season, and the work hasn’t skipped a beat since.
“It’s exciting to see all this pop up in one day, but it’s been exciting every day, all summer long, as we’ve made progress,” Jarnot said. “It’s going to be an amazing lift. I think people are going to be really excited when they see how well it works and how nice it is.”
Nice is an understatement when you’re talking gondola standards. This one will feature heated leather seats and free Wi-Fi access, and it will hold 10 passengers per cabin. It’s also fast, with a speed of 1,200 feet per minute, making it the fastest gondola of its type in the world, according to Vail Resorts. More than 70 percent of the gondola was manufactured in Grand Junction by Leitner-Poma of America while the cabins and some other portions were manufactured in Europe.
Read the full story at the Vail Daily's website.