Vail Mountain confident in December openings for new Sun Down, Game Creek lifts

John LaConte
Vail Daily
A recent view of the New Sun Down Express chairlift which is currently being constructed on Vail Mountain. The chair is a 4-person detachable lift from Leiter-Poma.
Vail Mountain/Courtesy image

Vail Mountain is confident in achieving December openings for the new Sun Down Express lift and the newly upgraded Game Creek Express lift.

The mountain this week released pictures of the project and said concrete foundations were poured, lift towers were flown into place and sheave assemblies were bolted onto the towers earlier this fall.

Much snow has fallen since then — Vail Mountain has recorded 58 inches so far this season — but it hasn’t affected the timeline of the project, the mountain said in a post published Friday.

“Don’t worry, we’re used to working in the snow, so the early season snowfall hasn’t slowed us down one bit. But you may see one more helicopter flying when we splice the haul rope for the new Sun Down Express (#17) to make sure we navigate the snowier terrain more safely,” Vail Mountain said in the post. “This helicopter will fly a line which will be used to pull the haul rope cable over the tower equipment prior to splicing the haul rope. It should be a pretty awesome day, which we’ll make sure to capture and share with everyone.

The Sun Down Express line will be a detachable quad chair from Leitner Poma, designed to reduce congestion at the bottom of the High Noon Express (No. 5), from which there is no other exit than the lift.

A similar situation exists at the bottom of the Game Creek Express (No. 7), prompting Vail Mountain to replace that lift with a six-person detachable chair, also from Leitner Poma. The action in that area has stalled the opening of the Wildwood Express chairlift (No. 3), which accesses the same area.

“This week, the last of our major lift components arrived to the top of the mountain near Wildwood Express, where our teams will start the final preparations of our two new lifts,” Vail Mountain said in its post on Friday.

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