Vail Resorts is set to debut its Epic Discovery recreation centers at Vail Mountain in Colorado and Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe. The new features, including on-mountain coasters, will open in June and aim to attract more visitors to the ski areas during the summer months.
Breckenridge just received approval for its own Epic Discovery amenities, and Vail Resorts plans to start construction in 2016 with an opening sometime in 2017.
"Epic Discovery will provide an avenue for our summer guests to experience our alpine settings in a new, immersed way, similar to what our ski and snowboard guests experience in the winter," said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. "Vail Resorts, along with our partners at the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy, envisions Epic Discovery as a catalyst for helping to foster a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors among a diverse audience of summer visitors to the mountains."
At Vail Mountain, visitors can expect the following new amenities:
- Game Creek Canopy Tour: A guided tour through the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges as high as 300 feet above the valley floor. Guests will learn about the mountain environment from interpretive guides while working their way through the course.
- Forest Flyer™: This gravity-based alpine coaster allows guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through the forest while giving riders full control of their speed.
- Expanded Trail System: A wildlife exploration trail, featuring mountain flora and fauna and a series of installations that each resembles a different animal ability, such as vision, stride, agility and strength. Vail has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, the USFS and Walking Mountains Science Center to bring interpretive elements to the Epic Discovery experiences and will be contributing one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects.
At Heavenly, Vail Resorts has already opened a new rock climbing wall, kids course and zip line. But this summer you can expect:
- Canopy Tour: Set amongst the pines surrounding the mid-station observation deck of Heavenly’s Gondola, this guided tour goes through the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges featuring an unfiltered view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains.
- Alpine Coaster: This gravity-based alpine coaster allows guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through the forest and natural rock formations, with scenic views of Lake Tahoe.
- Guided 4x4 Mountain Tours: Guests will enjoy Heavenly’s view from the cab of an off-roading SUV. These 4x4 tours offer the best of an alpine summer with views of Lake Tahoe, the Carson Valley and Desolation Wilderness.
- Interpretive Learning: Heavenly’s project integrates a robust interpretive learning component with curriculum created in collaboration with the Forest Service, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and The Nature Conservancy.
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