Vail plans new lift to serve steeps
Aspen, CO Colorado
VAIL – Ken Tensen will miss Chair 10, the slow lift that has ascended over giant moguls and steeps on Vail’s east side since 1973.
“It keeps the riffraff out of here,” said Tensen, a Vail resident and Chair 10 rider since 1975.
A high-speed-quad lift will replace Vail’s crawling Chair 10 – also known as Highline – next season to the chagrin of some locals. Tensen and others who skied the double-black-diamond runs around Highline Lift on Sunday said that the solitude, sentimentality and good snow might disappear along with the lumbering lift.
Vail wants to allow more people to ski the expert terrain, said Jen Brown, spokeswoman for Vail Resorts.
Vail also will realign Chair 14, also known as Sourdough, so skiers can access Two Elk Restaurant. With the two lift upgrades, skiers could reach the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin with ease, she said.
That increase in skiers worries some.
Donny Parker skis the expert terrain because crowds avoid it, the Silverthorne resident and Chair 10 devotee said. Most people shun the slow two-seater, Parker said.
Beginners would frequent the area and put themselves in danger, Tensen said.
The two-seater’s demise delights others.
Chair 10 is too slow, said Vail resident Maud Hensen.
The ride lasts 14 minutes. The ride on the quad will last 6 1/2 minutes, Brown said.
Even with the attraction of a faster lift, people would continue to avoid Blue Ox, Roger’s Run and Highline, Hensen said.
“This is an expert area, and not many tourists will come here and hurt themselves,” she said.
With or without crowds, some enjoy Chair 10 for sentimental reasons.
“It’s quaint, old and reminds me of what Vail used to be like,” Parker said.
The U.S. Forest Service approved the project some time ago, but other projects delayed the upgrades, Brown said.
Vail will begin construction on Chairs 10 and 14 this spring, she said.
Vail wants to replace the 28-year-old Chair 5, also known as High Noon, but the Forest Service has yet to approve the project, she said. Chair 5, a three-seater, ascends along the ridge between Sun Up and Sun Down bowls for an 11-minute ride.
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