On Tuesday, Vail Resorts announced their $61,500 expansion plan which caters specifically to urban skiers. Included in this plan are the Green Monster double kink, a 4 stair gap to down rail, and the Minnesota rail gardens. Vail Resorts plans to improve the quality of the handrails as well as offer amenities on site to provide a quality experience to their guests.
In a recent press conference regarding Vail Resort's $61,500 expansion plan, CEO Robert A. Katz stated "It is crucial that we as a network of resorts branch out of all types of skiers. After watching For Lack of Better from Teton Gravity Research I realized that urban skiers are looked over all too often. It is time that our company caters to all varieties of skiers."
The majority of the funds from this expansion plan will go towards handrail repairs, repainting, and small shacks for food, restrooms, and lodging. "The goal of the project is to make urban skiing a more family friendly experience." Katz stated.
Another significant improvement Vail plans to bring to these handrails is snowmaking equipment. Minnesota never has issues with being cold enough for snow but occasionally falters with precipitation. Snowmaking equipment at handrails is only practical, especially since many urban trips by pro crews have been limited by lack of snow.
With safety being a high priority with Vail Resorts, policies will be implemented to ensure that stairs are covered with at least 10 inches of snow at all times. If any skiers are caught shoveling the stairs they will be issued a $47 fine. High speed winches will also be banned because they make skiers go unsafely fast. Skiers who bring high speed winches to any kind to one of Vail's handrails will be given a speeding ticket. Pictured below is a reckless young soul that shoveled the stairs and used a high speed winch, a lethal combination! Digitally added in the picture is one of Vail's mountain safety patrols to illustrate how Vail will not allow such dangerous activities at their handrails.
Part-time park rat and proud father of 3 Joshua Messersmith believes that “The commercialization of urban skiing is exactly what skiing needs. I want to push my three children to hit urban and become super star street skiers in a safe environment."
Going into the future Vail Resorts plans to expand their ownership of handrails, likely into Summit County and various locations on the East Coast. Katz said "With Urban skiing on the rise, it is likely to pass the olympics in popularity. This is why we felt the need to jump on the opportunity to commercialize it. We hope to someday have an operation in Duluth with a run through the city that links together handrails that can be accessed by chair."
On your next urban trip, be sure to check out some of the spots owned by Vail Resorts. You won’t have to worry about getting kicked out. Ski patrol and mountain safety are there to assist you if needed. No risk of getting a ticket for trespassing or vandalism, just a small $35 hiking fee per day. Not to mention fantastic apres ski! An urban epic pass is also available $419 for full access to all Vail Resorts handrails. Big ups to vail for keeping it real in the streets!
(Artist rendition of the Minnesota Rail Gardens after Vail Resorts improvements)