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By Regan Dickinson, Examiner.com

It may seem a bit soon to discuss improvements at Colorado ski resorts for next season, but summer is flying by faster than you think. Speaking of flying, one of the improvements slated for Vail next season is a new high-speed, six-passenger chairlift, replacing the four-passenger Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) from Mid-Vail to Patrol Headquarters.

Construction is underway and Vail reports the lift will be operational for the 2013-2014 ski and snowboard season. Vail says the lift will reduce the number of stops and slowdowns. Additionally, the new lift will result in a 33 percent increase in capacity, or 3,600 people per hour, which is the same capacity as Vail’s new Gondola One. The old Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) was installed in 1985 and provides access to Patrol Headquarters and a number of surrounding areas including the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin.

“The Mountaintop Express Lift is one of the busiest lifts on Vail Mountain,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “Upgrading it to a six-passenger lift and adding capacity will make a noticeable improvement in wait times and skier/snowboarder circulation. The use of the loading conveyor, which is a common feature at top European resorts, is an added luxury and reduces the frequency of misloads as well.” Jarnot also said, “The new triple lift in Golden Peak will allow for twice the capacity of our three to six year olds enrolled in lessons, as they are required to ride the lift with an adult. While this upgrade may seem small to our more experienced guests, it’s a critical improvement for our newest and youngest visitors to get them on the hill and learning faster.”

The majority of the both old lifts will be recycled and some components will be kept as spare inventory for Vail or other Vail Resorts mountains. For more information about Vail Mountain visit www.vail.com, or stop by the Mountain Information Center, open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or call (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245). See you on the slopes!

By Sharon Pellowe, Examiner.com

If you’ve been wondering how to stay in “ski shape” during the off-season, Woodward at Copper has announced its late summer and early fall hours of operation in The Barn, the first-of-its-kind, 20,000 sq. ft. facility, giving participants access to Snowflex® jumps, foam pits, a spring floor, fly-bed trampolines, and indoor skateboard features.

Although camp sessions are finishing up for the summer,  August 3 – 16, The Barn will be open seven days a week 12:00 – 6:00pm. Starting August 17 to October 27 The Barn will be open Saturday and Sunday 12 – 6pm.

The One Hit Wonder session is a mandatory, one-time introductory session that helps you become comfortable with the equipment in The Barn and teaches you key techniques to progress more quickly and safely. One Hit Wonder sessions are available every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00 p.m. from August 5 through September 5. After Labor Day, from September 6 through the start of winter season in early November, One Hit Wonder sessions are available 7 days a week at 2:00 and 4:00.

Once you’ve successfully completed a One Hit Wonder session, you can participate in the Drop-In Sessions, an hour and 45 minutes of whatever you want to learn — working on individual skills and focusing training on the trampolines, jump line, rail garden, quarter pipe, log jib, spring floor, or any of the skate features.

Barn private lessons offer you one-on-one coaching in The Barn. What you work on during the lesson is completely up to you; the Woodward staff is trained to teach beginner techniques to the most advanced tricks. One caveat, you must complete a One Hit Wonder session prior to signing up for a Barn Private Lesson.

For more information, or to sign up visit Woodward at Copper website, or call Copper at 888-350-1544 or The Barn at 970-968-3400.

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