Resort Un-'Vail's Gondola for 50th Anniversary
KREX News Room
VAIL, Colo. 2012 marks Vail Mountain's 50th Anniversary. To celebrate the milestone, officials invested in a state-of-the-art gondola, which they unveiled on Friday.
Despite the fact that Colorado recently had one of its weakest winters in terms of snow pack, Vail officials went ahead with the new gondola.
For the last five decades Vail Mountain has seen faces from all over the world.
CEO of Vail Resorts, Robert Katz, said, "[We're] Celebrating the legacy of Vail Mountain, all the way back to Earl Eaton and Pete Seibert. They were visionaries who took bold risks."
Since 1962, Vail has undergone changes. Their new gondola, named One, is the latest.
Katz spoke to crowds early Friday morning and said, "I don't care what list is out there, this is the number one resort in the world."
He also said, "Vail has been here 50 years, we're going to be here another 50 years and the bottom line is, even though last year might've been a tough snow year, we know we want to provide the absolute best guest service year in and year out."
The gondola was designed, engineered manufactured and built not far from its new home.
Anton Seeber, chairman of Leitner-Poma of America, said, "Business for Colorado in Colorado is extremely important."
President of Leitner-Poma, Rick Spear, said, "It was built in Grand Junction, Colorado. About 120 employees down there with machinists, engineers and welders."
"We have a great team here in Grand Junction and we couldn't really do it better anywhere else but here," Seeber said.
Officials say 22,000 man-hours went into building the gondola, and they did so in less than a year.
Katz said, "For us to make this kind of significant investment and be able to create jobs right here at home, right here in Colorado, right down the road in Grand Junction, that was really a win-win."
The 10 passenger gondola is the fastest of its kind in North America. It also features padded heated seats and Wi-Fi technology. The old gondola had a ride time of 9 minutes and One has a ride time of 7.5 minutes.
"You want to make a decision that you're going to be proud about five years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now. So to have the state-of-the-art pieces in this gondola really is what Vail Mountain is all about," said Katz.
In the years to come Vail Mountain will see many more faces. Officials hope that One will be just one of the reasons to keep them coming back.