good snow, good mountain
poorly managed, bad access, child unfriendly
Sunday Dec 14: I stand at a bus stop over 20 minutes. No bus is seen until someone calls a local to call out the EASE bus and we talk the driver into taking us to the base area. At noon, from base area, I wait 45 minutes on the one bus serving the West half of the resort, and take a 30min ride. What was a 20min circulator route is not possible, which a resort employee described as cost cutting.
Monday Dec 15 visit: I have a young girl ready to ski on a carpet lift or bunny slope area. Mtn House base and nearby lifts are closed, leaving only one appropriate area, at top of mountain. But the modified River Run Gondola is not running as of 9:30. Concierge advised me to go eat breakfast and wait. I opt to walk 4 blocks back to the car, drive crying children back to the condo, and in route, pass multiple resort bus stops with guests waiting. One group stands in road thumbing a ride, saying it had been 30min since a call to get a bus on the route. Bus service on west side of resort is apparently a cost reduction when Vail holdings' bookings are down.
At noon I check the website, to see no indications of cut bus routes and incorrect data about running lifts.
Tuesday Dec 16 visit: Today the only mountain access is via Gondola, no chair service goes up the mountain. This Gondola was moved 100yds into a village, across a bridge and up a hill, as a ruse of ski-in ski-out marketing, with an impact of less utility by on mountain skiiers. So a 20min lift line opens the day while 100yds away a chair lift sits unused. Later in the morning a tourist tells me he is frustrated with runs that require walking into the village to return up the mountain. I tell him to stop at a mid mountain lift chair, or to drive up to Arapahoe Basin in afternoon. At top of North Peak, the electronic information sign is down, showing no lift or run status, and a time that is an hour off. Venturing on to Outback peak, I have only a green access road type of run or early season tree skiing options.
Over a 3 day period I see multiple instances of ski lift attendants discussiing the new RFI card reader not working, with one operator telling the other go back inside and reboot it. Vista maybe? At resort bus stops, I see a posting about bus schedules, looks like an October service level. Apparently the week prior to Christmas is not Winter to Vail Resort management.