Think you know Vail and Beaver Creek? Not so fast. In Vail Resorts' attempt at tipping the global scales in their favor as being the best of the best when it comes to ski destinations, both our local hills have added everything from new chairlifts, terrain, and on-mountain amenities for the upcoming winter season. So what do Vail and the Beav' have in store for the upcoming season? We charted out some of the highlights you should check out once the lifts start spinning. 

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Vail Resorts is hoping upgraded lifts and the introduction of EpicMix Time Insights helps mitigate chairlift wait times.

The future is now, with EpicMix Time Insights.

We've all been there — it's a powder day, and Vail Ski Patrol has just opened Blue Sky Basin. You take a gamble that everyone's going to rush back to Blue Sky, and try your luck on one last lap down Never to Chair 5, only to find each side of the maze wrapping up the slope. Apparently, some of the decisionmakers at Vail Resorts have experienced this too, hence the company's introduction of EpicMix Time at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Park City, where visitors to the new Epic Mix Insights website can access average wait times for every lift on the mountain (with corresponding snow totals) from each day of the previous season. While it might not reflect real time chairlift waits, it should give mountain guests a better method to the powder day madness when it comes to planning which lifts to miss, and when to hit them. 

Beginner terrain is getting bigger at Beaver Creek.

If you're not quite ready to tackle the Beav's Birds of Prey course (and really — aside from Lindsey Vonn — who is?), or you're skiing with out-of-town guests or little ones for the day, Beaver Creek's new 200-acre beginner terrain might be the perfect spot to cruise down the slopes in peace. Red Buffalo Park will open for the season at Beaver Creek's highest point (11,440 feet) with 13 new trails dedicated to Ski School Skills Zones and Kids Adventure Zones (and a mountain top cookie cabin for Ski School enrollees!). Access to the new area is changing, too — Chair 5 (previously known as the agonizingly slow "Drink of Water Lift") has gotten a high-speed upgrade ("Red Buffalo Express") that promises to cut the ride down to 4.3 minutes, officially making all the primary lifts at the resort high-speed. 

Vail Mountain will debut a new six-passenger Northwoods Express lift.

You probably saw the signage indicating an impending upgrade for Chair 11 ("Northwoods Express") last season, and if you were around for the summer, also probably noticed helicopters buzzing around delivering towers and other equipment. Well, it's finally here, the former quad first installed in 1985 has been upgraded to a six-seat chair to usher more skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain (and hopefully reduce wait times in the process). 

A new après-ski area is opening at the base of Gondola One.

The grab-and-go food court in Mountain Plaza — at the base of Gondola One in Vail Village — is expanding into a full-serviced après space, where patrons can cruise down Pepi's Face straight to an awaiting cocktail or craft beer overlooking the harrowing terrain they just conquered. What can top than that? The newly renovated bar at Hotel Gasthoff Gramshammer, the historic home of Pepi himself.

 

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