Good reviews for Vail’s Chair 4
VAIL — The first high-speed, six-seat chairlift ever to grace the slopes of Vail made its debut this week, and excitement was in the air.
The lift itself uses different technology than many are used to seeing, with loading gates preceding a moving walkway that takes riders a few yards to an on-snow pickup point, where they are dropped off and scooped up by the lift. After picking up the precious cargo, the chair then makes a 90-degree turn to the right and takes off up the slope.
Ten-year-old Haley Bill summed up the experience with three words after riding the lift on Friday.
“It was fun,” she said.
The loading gates and right angle loading conveyor system have been shown to reduce the number of lift stops and slowdowns, thereby increasing the efficiency of the lift, Vail officials announced at the lift’s opening. The lift will increase capacity by 33 percent, to 3,600 people per hour — the same capacity as Gondola One.
“Hopefully we’ll have less liftlines this year,” said Kristin Tang, of Edwards, who rode the lift several times on Friday and said she hadn’t waited in any lines all day.
Tang said she’s been stuck in lines on the former Chair 4 plenty in the past and is looking forward to watching how things progress with this new lift.
“It will be interesting to see how well it works,” she said.
Jennifer Bill, of Eagle, said while it wasn’t at all busy on the day after Thanksgiving, she’s looking forward to seeing the lift put to the full test during the rest of the holidays this season.
“I hope the tourists do OK with it,” she said. “I think once people get used to it, it should go pretty well.”
Closer to the snow than most other riders, 8-year-old Frankie Marston pointed out an interesting detail which she appreciated.
“It was good that the snow at the end of the lift was sticky, so I didn’t slide off (after departing the moving walkway)” she said.
The lift officially began taking riders up the hill at about 9:20 a.m. Wednesday morning, amid a large staff of Vail Resorts officials in black, red, gray and blue jackets.
Vail Mountain’s Chair 4, Mountain Top Express, runs until 3:30 p.m. every day.
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Officer Haley Walker sat beside her stepmother in a windowless interrogation room just before starting the overnight shift on Thursday evening.