Breckenridge and Keystone get upgrades as part of $320M in Vail Resorts improvements

Bergman Bowl’s new chairlift and trails take shape

Nate Peterson
Vail Daily
Tracy Ross weaves her way through wide-open powder at Keystone Resort in February 2016. Keystone’s Bergman Bowl is expected to be lift-served by the 2022-23 ski season.
Phil Lindeman/Summit Daily News archive

Vail Resorts announced Thursday, Sept. 23, an unprecedented number of on-mountain projects planned for the 2022-23 North American season in what will be the company’s largest single-year investment in its resorts.

The sweeping set of 19 new chairlifts — including 12 high-speed lifts, an eight-person, high-speed gondola and six fixed-grip lifts — is part of Vail Resorts’ $315 million to $325 million capital investment plan for 2022. Each of the upgrades is designed to reduce wait times, increase uphill capacity and create more lift-served terrain. The projects outlined span 14 resorts including Vail Mountain, Keystone Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado.

At Breckenridge, the Rip’s Ride chairlift is getting an upgrade. The fixed-grip double, which is on Peak 8 and often used by beginner skiers and riders, will be replaced with a high-speed, four-person chair. According to a news release, the change will increase uphill capacity by nearly 70% and improve skier circulation.

At Keystone, the anticipated Bergman Bowl changes are taking shape. Now that the project has been approved by the U.S. Forest Service, Keystone is moving ahead, bringing lift-served skiing to the Bergman Bowl area in the form of a new high-speed, six-person chairlift. The chairlift would increase Keystone’s lift-served terrain by 555 acres. In addition to the chairlift, 16 new trails, a ski patrol facility and snowmaking infrastructure would be added to the area.

In addition to expanding lift-served terrain, Keystone is expanding dining space with a 6,000-square-foot expansion of the existing Outpost restaurant. The expansion will tack on an additional 300 indoor seats and 75 outdoor seats.

At Vail Mountain, the installation of a new high-speed, four-person chair from the base of Chair 5 (High Noon Express) to the Wildwood restaurant will reduce wait times on peak days and create the opportunity for skiers and riders to conveniently access the trails in Sun Down Bowl. Skiers and riders will also see improved reliability and capacity in Game Creek Bowl after the replacement of the current four-person chair for a new high-speed, six-person lift.

In the release, Vail Resorts said additional projects will be announced in December 2021 and March 2022.

With this latest spending project, Vail Resorts said its total investment into the guest experience over 15 years is expected to reach about $2.2 billion. Those investments include lift and terrain projects as well as snowmaking infrastructure and technological innovations.

For the upcoming 2021-22 ski season, the company expects to spend about $120 million on new projects such as the McCoy Park expansion at Beaver Creek Resort, new lifts at Breckenridge and Keystone — a new chairlift on Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 7 and a replacement of Keystone Resort’s Peru Express Lift — and new lifts at Okemo and Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

“Our mission at Vail Resorts is to provide an experience of a lifetime to anyone who visits our resorts, and delivering on that mission requires constant re-imagination and investment into the guest experience,” said Rob Katz, the chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, in a statement. “Our teams have been hard at work identifying significant opportunities to improve the guest experience and have produced an initial list of exciting lift upgrades, a restaurant expansion and projects that expand access to incredible terrain for next season, with more to be announced.”

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