Vail Resorts (VR) has seemingly cut zip lining from the 2022 summer offerings at its ski resorts, including Vail Mountain and Breckenridge, Colo., and Park City Mountain, Utah.
As reported by Jason Blevins in The Outsider, a newsletter from the Colorado Sun, when VR shared summer operating plans for several of its western resorts earlier this month, zip lining was noticeably absent from the lineup. VR’s decision to drop zip tours follows several years of significant investment in summer operations across the company’s portfolio, including a $25 million capital outlay at Vail Mountain that included a seven-segment zip line, and was attributed to staffing challenges by company reps and other sources.
“I think zip lines can be tricky for employers because they require a higher skill level and more training,” Thaddeus Schrader, whose Bonsai Designs built the Vail Mountain zip line, told Blevins. “If a company is expecting to source only 60 percent or 70 percent of its staff that it used to get with no problems, resorts are probably taking a hard look at operational costs and … I guess zip lines are not making the cut.”
It is unclear whether zip tours will get axed for 2022 across all of Vail’s 40 resorts, as VR has yet to finalize summer operations and opening dates for many of them. Attitash Ski Resort, N.H., which has historically done robust summer business and boasts a two-span zip line, is not offering any activities this summer, ostensibly to allow resort personnel to focus on deferred maintenance and chairlift upgrades.
The multi-hour zip tour at Okemo Mountain, Vt., has been closed for the last two years due to Covid precautions, but this year’s summer operating plans have yet to be released. Stowe Mountain Resort, Vt., where an employee zip line fatality occurred last September, also has yet to share summer 2022 plans.
Climbing walls at Breckenridge and Vail Mountain, the Breckenridge rope challenge courses, and Vail Mountain’s “kids zipline” are all still slated to operate, as are the independently operated zip tours out of VR-owned Whistler Blackcomb, B.C. Additionally, VR reps suggested to Blevins that “resorts may revive zip line tours if staffing can support it.”