Vail Mountain debuted the new Northwoods Express (Chair 11) on Dec. 26, 2017, to powdery conditions. The lift is a new incarnation of the detachable quad that was installed in 1985, and is similar with one exception:
It now seats six rather than four.
A skier enjoys powdery conditions in Northwoods Bowl on Vail Mountain on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts.
“Vail Mountain doesn’t ski the same way it did 10 years ago,” said Doug Lovell, Chief Operating Officer of Vail Mountain. “Vail has made tremendous efforts in the last 11 years to make improvements that directly benefit our guests. The amount of lifts we have built in the time frame we have built them doesn’t happen at other resorts.”
A view of the new Northwoods Express six-pack chair on Vail Mountain on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts.
Northwoods Express is the most recent lift upgrade on Vail Mountain and marks the 10th new chairlift in the last 11 years at the resort. Otherwise known as Chair 11, Northwoods Express is a primary lift on the front side of Vail Mountain, serving intermediate and advanced terrain.
Snowy trees surround the new Northwoods Express six-pack lift on Vail Mountain. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts.
The new six-pack upgrade will reduce wait times and increase capacity by 25 percent. The increase will also improve the flow of skiers and snowboarders to the legendary Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin throughout the day, as well as create a better flow of traffic exiting Blue Sky Basin and moving across the mountain at the end of the day.
The previous Northwoods lift – a Doppelmayr detachable-quad– was installed in 1985, along with a group of lifts including, the original Vista Bahn Express (#16), Mountain Top Express (#4) and the current Game Creek Express (#7).
The new Northwoods Express is the 10th new chairlift in the last 11 years at Vail Mountain. Photo courtesy Vail Resorts.
Unlike the six-chair upgrades Vail Mountain made in recent years to Chairs 2 and 4, the new six-seat Chair 11 does not come with a magic carpet, 90-degree turn or metal gates to allow people in. All in all, it looks very similar to the four-seater that preceeded it.
With the chairlift openings and additional accessible terrain, Vail Mountain had 900 acres of terrain open as of this week. On Christmas Day 2017 Vail opened Game Creek Express Lift (Chair 7) and Sourdough Express Lift (Chair 14). Two Elk Restaurant also opened for dining on Tuesday, December 26, 2017. The Forest Flyer alpine coaster is now operating daily, as well, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. for guests at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19).
Vail Mountain currently operates the following lifts with access to 1,201 skiable acres:
- Gondola One
- Eagle Bahn Gondola
- Avanti Express (#2)
- Wildwood Express (#3)
- Mountain Top Express (#4)
- Riva Bahn Express (#6)
- Game Creek Express (#7)
- Born Free Express (#8)
- Northwoods Express (#11)
- Gopher Hill Lift (#12)
- Sourdough Express (#14)
- Little Eagle (#15)