Vail won’t run Vista Bahn lift this summer
April 15, 2009
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail’s Vista Bahn Express will not run this summer due to costs, mountain officials said.
The lift is usually used in the summer by mountain bikers and hikers accessing Vail’s trails, but the numbers of people using the lift weren’t enough to justify running it through the summer, said Chris Jarnot, Vail Mountain’s chief operating officer.
“We had about 145 users on average (per day) last year,” Jarnot said. “The numbers would need to be multiples of that for us to think about keeping it running.”
Last year the Vista Bahn ran through the summer season on weekends. All the mountain’s trails and Adventure Ridge can still be accessed via the Eagle Bahn gondola in Lionshead, which ran daily during the regular summer season.
However, some Vail Village business owners said that the lift brought customers through the village.
“It has a huge affect on our shop because we’re a smaller business,” said Troy Goldberg, owner of Troy’s Ski and Bike Shop. “We’re the go-to bike shop for downhill in the village and the only place that caters to more aggressive riders.”
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Goldberg added that while he’d like to see the Vista Bahn run for the summer, he would rather see trail improvements and additions on the mountain.
“I’d rather see them doing more to the trail system,” he said. “Vail has good beginner or intermediate cross country trails, but it’d be nice to have singletrack and downhill trails.”
He also added that it would help to start running the gondola earlier in the season and extend its daytime hours.
Michael Staughton, owner of Los Amigos restaurant at the base of the Vista Bahn, said that while the lift doesn’t bring in crowds of customers, it certainly helps to have people walking through the village.
“With less people walking by your door, it’ll probably have an impact,” he said. “I’d love for them to keep it open.”
The base of the lift area can be a “dead zone” without skier traffic, said Los Amigos manager Mick Warth.
“(The lift) is an attraction for us,” he said. “A lot of people sit up here and look at it, ask about it. People love going up there and walking along the ridge. It’s sad it won’t be open.”