Andy Mink

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I asked the question a few weeks ago. I don't understand how there can be a storm of that magnitude, then closures of roads and areas, and still have people surprised or upset when there are huge lines when they get to the hill, no matter how many lifts are spinning. A few years ago I got caught in a line at N* after a storm. The lift didn't open on time BECAUSE THEY HAD TO DIG IT OUT! Big line, and @Philpug and I stood in it. I knew it was a possibility so my fault. Not the weather, not the management, not Epic. I imagine that whatever happened at Vail to contribute to those lines was not done on purpose so management could see what would happen.
 

Jack skis

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As I read the statement from Vail, via Beth, there were two situations. First people lined up early in the morning for the Gondola at the front side of the mountain (6am) and once the gondola started running it took several hours to clear the line-up. The gondola can haul lots of people per hour, and it did it's job. A reasonable explanation of that situation. Second many of those people skied the powder down to the bottom of Sun Down and Sun Up Bowls -- where the only way out is to upload on Chair 5 -- and that's where the huge lines piled up. That lift can't haul people uphill fast enough, and it was overwhelmed. A great powder dump, skiers with pent-up demand, and a lift that in this case was too slow to handle the load, and lines of skiers.

Like Phil I'm no apologist for Vail, but I've skied down Sun Down and Sun Up (even the first day it was open to the public) with only one way out, and I see this as a perfect storm situation and not a result of some catastrophic failure on the part of the organization. As is said, **it happens, and it sure did at Vail on that great powder day. Could Vail have done something else to prevent or alleviate the situation? Damned it I know. Pretty sure if I'd been in charge it would have been way worse.
 
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Noodler

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I asked the question a few weeks ago. I don't understand how there can be a storm of that magnitude, then closures of roads and areas, and still have people surprised or upset when there are huge lines when they get to the hill, no matter how many lifts are spinning. A few years ago I got caught in a line at N* after a storm. The lift didn't open on time BECAUSE THEY HAD TO DIG IT OUT! Big line, and @Philpug and I stood in it. I knew it was a possibility so my fault. Not the weather, not the management, not Epic. I imagine that whatever happened at Vail to contribute to those lines was not done on purpose so management could see what would happen.
The problem at chair 5 has been going on for as long as I can remember. Even though it was upgraded in 2010. It's a known issue that VR has failed to fully remediate. I honestly think they must like having that choke point for some odd reason, because they have had the money and the time to address this and haven't.
 

Mister Tea

The skier formerly known as Walt
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Well, I have heard it said that detachables are easier to load and unload, cutting down on stoppage times, which would be the main reason they end up with higher capacity.
You're right about that - in theory, a fixed grip has the same capacity as a detachable while in practice the fewer stops and the ability to fill more chairs results in about a 10% increase in capacity. Fixed grips typically run at ~85% while detachables tend to be more like 95%.

But that doesn't begin to explain why lift lines are less than they used to be (last weekend at Vail excepted) . Ten percent is a nice bump, but it's not the 100% some people seem to think. Just because the rope goes twice as fast and you get from bottom to top in half the time doesn't mean that twice as many people are getting up the hill.
 

Eleeski

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I rode Gold Coast today at Squaw, a detachable 6 pack. I also rode Emigrant, a fixed grip triple. Gold Coast seemed to move over the hill twice as fast as as Emigrant as well as having twice as many seats. Gold Coast replaced several lifts and substantially reduced wait times in the area served. So the lift technology has real benefits to reduce lift lines. Certainly more than a 10% difference.

Should Vail upgrade their chairs for a couple powder overcrowding days? Maybe. And they might now.

Epic and Ikon have done wonderful things to get people into skiing. Having skied alone today, it's way more fun to share with others - so I approve of their results. With the extra income from all those passes, hopefully resort infrastructure will improve. Including lifts that will reduce lines.

Eric

PS The real culprit for those powder day crowds are the ski manufacturers. Praxis, Moment, Armada, K2 and everybody else building skis that make powder outrageously fun force us to become chase powder as a horde!

Maybe some miracle in race skis will make icy days like today as fun...
 

pchewn

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The problem at chair 5 has been going on for as long as I can remember. Even though it was upgraded in 2010. It's a known issue that VR has failed to fully remediate. I honestly think they must like having that choke point for some odd reason, because they have had the money and the time to address this and haven't.
Maybe the downhill capacity of the terrain being served by the lift is "X" skiers per hour. (So the slope is not too crowded, or the snow doesn't get all skied off, or whatever....) You certainly don't want or need a "2X" capacity lift for terrain that can only support "X".

Myself: I'd much rather have the uphill capacity limited and keep the runs less crowded. I'll suffer a crowd in a lift line, but not on the slopes.


You're right about that - in theory, a fixed grip has the same capacity as a detachable while in practice the fewer stops and the ability to fill more chairs results in about a 10% increase in capacity. Fixed grips typically run at ~85% while detachables tend to be more like 95%.

But that doesn't begin to explain why lift lines are less than they used to be (last weekend at Vail excepted) . Ten percent is a nice bump, but it's not the 100% some people seem to think. Just because the rope goes twice as fast and you get from bottom to top in half the time doesn't mean that twice as many people are getting up the hill.
The uphill capacity of a detachable is more affected by the line speed than it is by the duty cycle (% of time running). Detachables run about 1000'/min, fixed about 500' per minute. The reason the detachable can run faster is that the chair is not moving at 1000'/min when loading/unloading.
 

tball

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The problem at chair 5 has been going on for as long as I can remember. Even though it was upgraded in 2010. It's a known issue that VR has failed to fully remediate. I honestly think they must like having that choke point for some odd reason, because they have had the money and the time to address this and haven't.
Yeah, the old chair 5 triple stuck around much longer than it should have. By the time it was replaced in 2010, six-packs were common, but they put in a quad.

I recall there were some local protests about the upgrade to Chair 5 because the bowls would get tracked out too quickly. Maybe that's why they didn't put in a six-pack.

There's also long been talk about another lift from the bottom of 5 to the top of Game Creek. That makes a ton of sense and would make lapping the west ridge of Sun Down no longer a pain in the butt, for better or worse. I bet that happens sooner rather than later in response to this bad publicity.

More lift capacity really is the answer.

Replacing the aging quads with six-packs seems inevitable, and will make a difference. There's plenty of acreage in the back bowls to support more capacity. It will just take away some of what makes the back bowls special, having far more skiable acres than uphill capacity.
 

Green08

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Resort Master plans are almost always available online these days. They are not set in stone, but is a pretty good guide.


Well there you have it. There is another lift planned for Sundown and an upgrade planned for Wildwood.

Vail typically announces lifts in December. This allows marketing during one ski season before the upcoming summer construction. For now there is nothing for Vail. Not saying they can’t come in at the last minute. But not usually.

Peak 7 infill at Breck and Peru upgrade at Keystone are the plans only for now
 

Noodler

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Yeah, the old chair 5 triple stuck around much longer than it should have. By the time it was replaced in 2010, six-packs were common, but they put in a quad.

I recall there were some local protests about the upgrade to Chair 5 because the bowls would get tracked out too quickly. Maybe that's why they didn't put in a six-pack.

There's also long been talk about another lift from the bottom of 5 to the top of Game Creek. That makes a ton of sense and would make lapping the west ridge of Sun Down no longer a pain in the butt, for better or worse. I bet that happens sooner rather than later in response to this bad publicity.

More lift capacity really is the answer.

Replacing the aging quads with six-packs seems inevitable, and will make a difference. There's plenty of acreage in the back bowls to support more capacity. It will just take away some of what makes the back bowls special, having far more skiable acres than uphill capacity.
The additional lift to the top of Game Creek is the one I have wished for many times sitting in the line at 5.
 

Noodler

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Resort Master plans are almost always available online these days. They are not set in stone, but is a pretty good guide.


Well there you have it. There is another lift planned for Sundown and an upgrade planned for Wildwood.

Vail typically announces lifts in December. This allows marketing during one ski season before the upcoming summer construction. For now there is nothing for Vail. Not saying they can’t come in at the last minute. But not usually.

Peak 7 infill at Breck and Peru upgrade at Keystone are the plans only for now
I didn't realize the "fix" was already approved in 2009. The Sundown Express is exactly what is needed.
 

tball

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Resort Master plans are almost always available online these days. They are not set in stone, but is a pretty good guide.


Well there you have it. There is another lift planned for Sundown and an upgrade planned for Wildwood.

Vail typically announces lifts in December. This allows marketing during one ski season before the upcoming summer construction. For now there is nothing for Vail. Not saying they can’t come in at the last minute. But not usually.

Peak 7 infill at Breck and Peru upgrade at Keystone are the plans only for now
And an HSQ in Outer Mongolia, for better or worse. That's a great example of underutilized terrain where Vail can spread skiers.

I really like that the Mongolia lift is situated to expand into East Vail Chutes. :duck:

I wonder if the environmental wackos will come out of the woodwork if Vail pushes too hard. The top of the old Chair 5 burned along with Two Elk.
 

4aprice

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The real culprit for those powder day crowds are the ski manufacturers. Praxis, Moment, Armada, K2 and everybody else building skis that make powder outrageously fun force us to become chase powder as a horde!

Maybe some miracle in race skis will make icy days like today as fun...
I think your really on to something here. I was reading a girl on another forum who's writings I have followed over the years (don't think she's on here) and she stated that back in the days of the straight narrow ski, she had difficulty skiing in powder and didn't enjoy it nearly as much as now. The fat ski may be as much to blame as the passes.

What I would like to know is what do people think the solutions are? I love the multi mountain pass but when I go for a day of skiing I just want to have fun and its not my intention to piss off the locals. I've been called (not to my face but indirectly) a free loader by full season pass holders with chips on their shoulders. For me I really have not changed my habits from previous years but planning wise its so much simpler now. But I am guilty of hitting some places not previously not on my radar and new to me because I now have the access. There has to be tweaks that can make the situation better for all. Outside of some of the locals attitudes that the tourist should just plain go away (we're not) there has got to be a middle ground. I think most of us would agree regardless of the situation lines like those pictured at Vail recently are not good for the skier/boarder or the resort and are not acceptable.

I know I am not adverse to such things as charging for parking (think the areas have every right to make as much as they can when they can). I also wonder why more places don't limit the amount of skiers on the mountain. I know back in the day one of my favorite New England resorts, Loon Mt in New Hampshire, used to limit tickets. I got caught a couple of times where they were sold out and I wasn't able to ski them that day. I never felt I was robbed or entitled to ski there. To me it's not too different from wanting to see the big game or concert that's sold out.

So I'm interested to hear ideas.
 
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Erik Timmerman

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You're right about that - in theory, a fixed grip has the same capacity as a detachable while in practice the fewer stops and the ability to fill more chairs results in about a 10% increase in capacity. Fixed grips typically run at ~85% while detachables tend to be more like 95%.

But that doesn't begin to explain why lift lines are less than they used to be (last weekend at Vail excepted) . Ten percent is a nice bump, but it's not the 100% some people seem to think. Just because the rope goes twice as fast and you get from bottom to top in half the time doesn't mean that twice as many people are getting up the hill.
The reason that HSQs increase capacity is because usually they are replacing a fixed-grip double.

It does seem pretty self evident that if people line up hours before the lift is going to run that there will be an hours long line. But why would they line up hours before opening? It's because they know that the mountain is going to be way too crowded! They know that you have to be there first to get first tracks and if you show up at 8:30 for a 9 AM opening you are going to be a mile behind. Just speaking from my personal experience, if you want to be near the front of our line you need to show up an hour earlier at a minimum than you did a few years ago.
 

Scruffy

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...
The real culprit for those powder day crowds are the ski manufacturers. Praxis, Moment, Armada, K2 and everybody else building skis that make powder outrageously [easy] fun force us to become chase powder as a horde!

Maybe some miracle in race skis will make icy days like today as fun...
That nut has been cracked, it's just not easy for most and therefore not fun for them. :duck::snowball:
 

Green08

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The reason that HSQs increase capacity is because usually they are replacing a fixed-grip double.

It does seem pretty self evident that if people line up hours before the lift is going to run that there will be an hours long line. But why would they line up hours before opening? It's because they know that the mountain is going to be way too crowded! They know that you have to be there first to get first tracks and if you show up at 8:30 for a 9 AM opening you are going to be a mile behind. Just speaking from my personal experience, if you want to be near the front of our line you need to show up an hour earlier at a minimum than you did a few years ago.
This is the very same thing you need to do at Disney World to ride most of the headline attractions without a major “wait” during opening hours.
 

Lofcaudio

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This is the very same thing you need to do at Disney World to ride most of the headline attractions without a major “wait” during opening hours.
Disney utilizes FAST PASSES which ski areas are now using to a limited degree with lessons and premium tour packages. I worry that this idea will be expanded which will give the people who are willing to pay for it additional shortcuts. For those of us who have limited budgets and already bemoan the high cost of riding lifts, that would be an unfortunate result (but paying for parking is not much different, but makes complete sense if the parking lots are full).
 

Green08

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Disney utilizes FAST PASSES which ski areas are now using to a limited degree with lessons and premium tour packages. I worry that this idea will be expanded which will give the people who are willing to pay for it additional shortcuts. For those of us who have limited budgets and already bemoan the high cost of riding lifts, that would be an unfortunate result (but paying for parking is not much different, but makes complete sense if the parking lots are full).
Disney Fast pass is not an apples to apple comparison. It is available to all, is free, and there is limited availability total, and limiting things like only being able to pick one headliner ride.

If every season pass holder was allowed to cut one line each day, only once, it would create that much trouble I think.
Paying extra for cutting the line privileges is another story. And some do this anyway via private lessons.

There is much to compare with DisneyWorld and ski resorts. I don’t think fast pass plus isone of them. Universal and most other theme parks use a different system, and those are often pay to play.
 

mikel

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@dbostedo you were recently at Copper. Did you notice the line cutting? Actually it's been in place the last few seasons you've been to Copper. It use to be a really good value. Now? $500 includes priority line, parking, and use of the athletic club which includes the indoor pool. Ski School have their own line, Private or group.

Local media was still talking about last weekend on the 5:00 p.m. news this evening. Mostly because CDOT is already warning motorists of the pending winter weather watch and 10-20" of snow that might be coming. Shit show to be expected. Right now drive time from Golden to the tunnel is 90 minutes.

Apparently there were approx. 175,000 cars on I70 thru Summit last weekend. I didn't catch if that was just Sat. or both Sat and Sun. All of that in spite of CDOT and other agencies asking people to not travel. Like I posted in another thread, I was pretty surprised at the number of people that made it up with I70 mostly closed on Fri. It was reported that on Sat. I70 had heavy traffic at 4:00 a.m. and by 5:15 a.m. was backed up with stop and go traffic to the I70/C470 merge (Golden). I know the backup to get into Copper got ridiculous and probably added 45 minutes to the drive time just to get off I70 and get parked.
 

raytseng

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I think a lot of this discussion has been rehashed in threads of yesteryear bemoaning prices and crowds and new charges or Vail or alterra buying out my resort.
My take is that the world is changing, the past is gone. There are 7billion people on earth competing for resources. Skiing is still a leisure activity for those that can afford leisure; and If you haven't doubled your income or net worth overthe past 10years you've fallen behind everyone who has. Be glad that you can complain just about lines and not about picking up a 3rd shift at Dairy Queen to pay bills.

Then if the topic is about class warfare, with people having the ability to buy out of waiting, you should try to take the perspective that there are rich suckers buying $200 window tickets or $900 lessons to subsidize and provide the profits; so you can at least partake in skiing, versus getting shut out or priced out altogether.
Nothing you say or do has an effect on the Resort Business; The "I've been a loyal passholder for 25years" has no weight to the bottom line. Making a change.org online petition is meaningless. Unless you happen to be a lurking Jeff Bezos or Larry Ellison; you can only adjust and change what is in your control and the decisions you make.

With climate change perhaps the whole thing will be over in 20years by 2040; or we may also be old men and women by then who can't ski. You better get it while you can.
If you truly are fed up with how much things "costs", the backcountry maybe calling you and you will truly earn your turns.
 
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