Vail Mountain received 38 inches of snow within 48 hours last weekend, one of the highest snowfall events they’ve seen in their 58 years, and in turn saw a record number of guests lined up to ski—emphasis on lined up. Some guests reported waiting was long as two hours in the lift line.
Photos and videos circulated on social media and gaining viral traction showed almost incomprehensibly long lines at Gondola One and Chair 5, which is the only way to access Sun Up and Sun Down Bowl. Some guests opted to shoulder their skis and walk back up the run to avoid the extensive wait time.
Beth Howard, Chief Operating Officer at Vail Mountain, responded to the footage on the resort’s blog earlier today, both acknowledging and providing context around the incident.
“I am well aware that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I truly hope my words here help provide context for what happened,” Howard wrote in her statement. “I have complete confidence in our team at Vail Mountain and the huge investment we’ve made in high-speed chairlifts to alleviate lift line concerns across our resort. I am confident this was an isolated incident in the midst of extreme conditions.”
According to Howard, guests began lining up on Friday at 6 a.m. (two hours before opening), which caused some of the initial bottlenecking.
“I want to assure you that those lines were gone by 10 a.m. on Friday and by 9:15 a.m. on Saturday,” she said. “That gondola can manage a lot of guests, and once the initial group dissipated, the line was around 5 minutes long the rest of those days.”
By midday on Saturday, additional lines formed at Chair 5 due to the limited amount of terrain in the back bowls ski patrol had been able to open safely.
“Again, I know we could have done a much better job anticipating these situations and communicating with our guests,” said Howard. “As we head into another big weekend, with more snow in the forecast, I’m focused on improving those communication channels.”
This article originally appeared on Powder.com and was republished with permission.
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