Vail Gondola Construction Tour

Vail Village Gondola on Schedule for Nov. 16 Opening

Vail is replacing the venerable Vista Bahn Express with a new 10-passenger Leitner-Poma gondola that will be the first and fastest of its kind in North America. The new lift travels up to 1,230 feet per minute and has an hourly capacity of 3,600, an increase of 40 percent. The cabins offer heated seats, and riders will have wi-fi access for the duration of the 7.5-minute trip.

The new gondola will bear the designation of lift number “1” to commemorate Vail’s original gondola, which lived in same location. The gondola will be operational for the opening day of the 2012-13 ski and snowboard season, Nov. 16, 2012, just in time to celebrate Vail’s 50th anniversary.

SAM toured the construction site earlier this week as crews were completing work on several aspects of the installation. Here's a glimpse of Vail's anniversary gift to itself.

Crews are pulling the haul rope next week, and were pulling and tensioning the comm lines while SAM was there. And the pavers that lead right up to the gondola? Yep, they are heated. No snow getting into these gondolas.