Ski heavyweights spending millions |

Ski heavyweights spending millions

The two heavyweights of the ski industry are pouring $80 million into their resorts this summer.

Whistler/Blackcomb announced it is spending $20 million on improvements for the 1999-2000 season. It will add two high-speed detachable quad chairlifts, boosting its total inventory of high-speed lifts to 15.

The new Village Lift and Gerbanzo Area Lift will provide easier access to 200 acres of Whistler’s mid-mountain terrain. The new lifts will boost the British Columbia resort’s uphill lift capacity to an astonishing 59,000 skiers and boarders per hour.

In an effort not to be outdone, Vail Resorts Inc. is spending $60 million at its four ski areas – Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge.

At Breckenridge, the parent company is adding a six-person, high-speed chairlift as the primary access point to Peaks 9 and 10.

At Vail, the company is spending $23 million on improvements such as the rebuilt Two Elk Lodge and the controversial expansion into an area known as Category III. Two Elk was targeted by arsonists protesting the expansion last year.

The Aspen Skiing Co. has two primary projects on its plate this summer. It is rebuilding and expanding the Sundeck Restaurant atop Aspen Mountain, and replacing the Cloud 9 and Olympic chairlifts at Aspen Highlands with one high-speed model.

The Sundeck alone is a $14 million project. The Skico will spend a total of $24 million on work at the ski areas and the new Snowmass Lodge and Club.

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