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Minturn Alpine crossing

Thank you for your interest in the Minturn Alpine Crossing project.

Here you will find all relevant information updated as soon as new details are available.

A EUROPEAN INSPIRATION

The countdown is on... to what we are calling the Minturn Alpine Crossing

This will include an aerial tram from Minturn's Meadow Mountain to a new upper arrival station/restaurant just to the west of Eagle's Nest in Vail. It will create one of the most beautiful tram routes in the United States. We are calling this tram "Skyway Holy Cross" with a little bit of inspiration from Skyway Monte Bianco. Skiing in Colorado's Vail Valley: A new cable car and top-notch gastronomy make it a tempting prospect.

The Minturn Alpine Crossing will also include a large one-of-a-kind gondola to the new Rose station near Spruce Saddle — the mid-point of Beaver Creek, For the first time ever, guests will be able to traverse the route from Vail to Beaver Creek and vice versa on two feet — without skis or snowboards.

 

We believe this activation of the Minturn Alpine Crossing will be a most wonderful win for those with mobility challenges, including our guests and residents in wheelchairs, elderly, and youth, opening up new areas previously unable to be seen by them. We want to make the forests around Vail and Beaver Creek more welcoming for everyone. This section closes the last remaining gap between the two and turns a long-standing vision into reality. 

In 2012, Lucerne unveiled the first double-decker, open-air cable car in the world. Vail and Beaver Creek are bringing this roofless upper deck tram to America. It moves on two side-mounted support cables, so you’ll enjoy the extraordinary views without any cables overhead. Ours can carry 60 passengers at a time and if you wander up the elegant staircase, you’ll find the open-air top deck with room for 30 people. 

OF NOTE: This will be Vail's single aerial tram... and it will be designed as an attraction of its own draw. Yes, the brand new floor-to-ceiling window aerial trams with a rooftop balconies in Snowbird and Big Sky, along with Jackson Hole's new tram are remarkably beautiful and iconic. But, we are going to be a little different. 

"Think" Switzerland's most unique and beautiful TITLIS Rotair, where people from all around the world travel for its exhilarating ride and stunning views with rock ascents. TITLIS Rotair is the world's first rotating cable car and its upper arrival station features an ice cave, restaurants, and telescope/observatory. Vail wants to bring the same awe, wonder, excitement, and one-of-a-kindness with its aerial tram on a route that includes its thrilling rise/drop over the steep cliffs of Minturn.

 

This/our "Skyway Holy Cross" aerial tram and summit station will offer breathtaking 360-degree views of the Holy Cross Wilderness, Gore Mountain Range, gorgeous views up Minturn valley, and all the surrounding mountain ranges. In an ultrafast 15 minutes, our Skyway glides upward 2,489 vertical feet to 10,350' along 3.11 miles from the Town of Minturn. Yes, we are hoping to be working with NASA on our arrival station that, in addition to a delicious Michelin-star chef restaurant (with world-famous gourmet waffles and more), will have an Observatory that boasts some of the planet's most spectacular views. Nestled high up in the clouds in dark sky the center welcomes astronomers, geologists, physicists, students, and everybody else.

"The people didn't even know they wanted it or its benefit until we showed it to them. It's the same for most major tram installations."

From vision to reality. After years of groundbreaking work, the vision of an all-season link between the world-class resort of Vail and the mountain and village of Beaver Creek is about to become a reality. Surrounded by a breathtaking Alpine panorama, the new route offers a thrill-packed ride. Passengers ride in cabins luxuriously fitted out for maximum comfort. The crossing is an experience in a class of its own – gliding over the stunning mountain landscape. In the winter tram riders may be able to see skiers and snowboarders tackling Colorado's most legendary backcountry run - the Minturn Mile. In the summer, the beautiful wildflower colors and potentially the elk, moose, deer, and bears that call the mountains near Minturn their home. 

 

No matter what time of day or year, the view is unparalleled. Until now the iconic cliffs of Minturn between Vail and Beaver Creek were only available to the talented few. Called the cleanest, biggest gap in Colorado.

 

See views below (that will be soon available to many via the high and nearly silent tram of the Minturn Alpine Crossing):

THE TRAm DESIGN

Cable cars can serve as a symbol, an attraction or even a hallmark of mountain regions or towns. We want a ride on our cable car to be more than transportation but an experience in itself. This requires beautifully designed, timeless, and state-of-the-art cabins that can be harmoniously integrated in the alpine environment. We are used to working closely with architects and designers to create the best possible design and functionality and we plan on having the quietest and most innovative tram ever built.

In addition to others, we are in collaboration with Porsche Design in Zell am See and Thomas Küchler — one of the most renowned Swiss designers and a visionary in cable car cabins in the Alps. We are envisioning a two-level "open-air" aerial tram with a glass bottom (not on all - for those scared of heights :). 

See some of our inspiration below: 

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The round Titlis Rotair in Engelberg, Switzerland: Some ski lifts offer much more than a fast ride to the top of the mountain. The Titlis Rotair makes a complete 360-degree spin as it climbs above the town of Engelberg.

 

Also, the see thru flooring of the new tram in Zermatt.

The 3S tram near the Matterhorn, above — excitement, grandeur, magnificence, and comfort has undoubtedly influenced our design. Opening ceremony below.

THE Route

The journey on the Minturn Alpine Crossing is taken in two sections. One begins at the new Holy Cross station and restaurant (80m to the west of the new Eagle's Nest at the top of Lionshead) and lands in an area of Minturn near Meadow Mountain. This will likely be a 100-person aerial tram that goes to the north of the Game Creek drainage (image below) spanning 3.11 miles. Then from Meadow Mountain will be a separate gondola that goes to the top of Rose Bowl near Spruce Saddle restaurant. This second lift will be 4.00 miles. 

Are these distances possible? Yes, of course. Alterra-owned Steamboat has recently completed the longest lift in America with it's 3.16 mile-long Wild Blue Gondola.

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Below gives you an idea of what the upper deck of our "planned" cabin design might look like along with the spectacular views it offers. And for those who would like, we are offering a headphone option to hear from guides who help visitors identify the trees, animals of the national forest below, and the surrounding mountains. We hope this adds to the allure of the whole adventure beyond simply the aerial tram ride experience. Bring your camera!

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THE TIMETABLE

The Skyway Holy Cross cable cars depart every 20 minutes. On busy days, cable cars run more frequently or non-stop.

 

To avoid gatherings and queues at the counters, throughout the summer tickets must be purchased exclusively online, with reservations required and free of charge. Arrival at the departure station 15 minutes before the booked time of the ascent. The descent from Summit Station will be free.

The tram will open at 6:30 AM and close at 6:30 PM at the mid-way stop in Minturn during the ski season. The tram hours then change to a summer schedule where the tram opens at 8:30 AM and closes at 9 PM (during the peak summer times) with dinner available at the Holy Cross summit station. And at some point, of course, with hope that the observatory/telescope gets designed and built, the hours might even extend later into the evening on special evenings. 

THE Benefits

  • ​Social benefits:

    • Increase the quality and offerings of the location (Town of Minturn, Vail, Avon) for residents and visitors.

    • Be enlivened by spectacular mountain scenery in ways previously unavailable to many including (1) our guests and residents in wheelchairs or physically handicap in any way, (2) the elderly (our parents, guest, etc.), (3) the youth, and more.

    • Learn and be inspired on a genuine wildlife holiday.

    • Open up village-to-village travel/movement for our disabled, non-skiers, families with small children... allowing for breakfast in Vail, lunch in Beaver Creek, and on the return dinner in Minturn before making it back to Vail. 

    • Give those who work in Vail or Beaver Creek, additional opportunities for lower-cost housing (close to working location) and ways to commute.

    • Awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through educational opportunities (borrowed from the mission of the Vail Valley's "Walking Mountain"). There will be headphones for audio (in different languages) for learning about the environment below which the trams travel. This will be led by an expert naturalist guide. Incorporated in the audio will also be the history of the mountains visible from the tram including that of the Ute Indians who lived here in these Rocky Mountains, and seasonal updates on the flora and fauna below. All designed for guests/locals to experience and learn about our national forests in a rich and exciting way.

    • Increased mobility alternatives, especially for local workforce and residents.

    • Enhanced flexibility for guests who use regional transit.

    • Less congestion and parking demand.

  • Economical benefits:​

    • We anticipate that the lift stations and corresponding restaurants will offer employment to ~70 people (full and part-time).

    • Open 270 days of the year, we anticipate bringing in 5 million in annual revenue simply from individual day tickets of $40/person. Of this, non-annual Vail/Beaver Creek lifts pass, 1% of revenue will go to the Town of Minturn, 1% will do to the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District

    • Drive demand during lower-demand time periods.

    • Bring another segment of summer visitors who are interested in the tram rides who might never consider the Town of Minturn or the Vail Valley as a destination.

  • Diversity benefits: Offer additional opportunities for "winter" appeal beyond skiers only. Along with this tram we are working with Audi on special VIP type gondolas (new gondola and Eagle's Nest alpine lodge will be built the year after completion of our Minturn Alpine Crossing) to move guests around the mountains. Equitable access to mobility solutions.

  • Environmental benefits

    • Primary benefit will be that of fewer cars on the roads.​

    • Reduced greenhouse gases

    • Re: the tram itself will be tall enough above the trees (the home of the animals below) and nearly silent.

  • Regional benefits: We anticipate that our tram will lessen the need for long commutes (as we believe that more of our work force can live in the town of Minturn and take the tram to/from Vail. ​Decreased VMT (Vehicle Miles Travelled)​.

  • Architectural benefits: Extraordinary architecture can create a unique visual highlight for the Vail and it's surrounding areas. Beauty attracts in its own right and brings happiness as well. Our lift stations will appear welcoming to visitors and blend harmoniously into the surrounding landscape as another landmark for Vail. Yes, we will be working with the finest lift station architects in the world.​​

    • Do we want our architectural firm(s) responsible for the tram stations to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize or the UIA Gold Medal, ABSOLUTELY YES!​

    • Our striking museum will combine an ecological construction with an environmentally friendly operation.​

    • The new "Holy Cross" lift station and restaurant will have an cantilevered terrace open views to beautiful the Holy Cross mountains range.​

    • Do we want our Minturn Alpine Crossing to be recognized by by Architectural Digest, The New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, beyond the great ski publications, YES, YES, and YES.

Our tram welcoming station on the Vail side (110 meters west of Eagle's Nest), designed by a renowned alpine architect, will overlook the Holy Cross mountains. It will feature a cantilevered outdoor patio with a unique viewing platform and a chef run fondue restaurant featuring traditional cuisine of ski chalets in Switzerland and Austria. And, yes, it will have fresh pastries every morning baked on site for those arriving on their morning commute to Vail for work from our Minturn station. 

 

Yup, we'll have many of those very charming patio umbrellas like our friends in Lucerne did at their tram arrival station too. We hope it will help you prolong your visit and add to your enjoyment! 

The Skyway building will be in addition to the Gondola building of Eagle’s Nest. A very valid question is: would there a need for two buildings of this size? Yes, for many reasons. 

Still a ways off, but the upcoming EverVail site base area will add a substantial amount of additional people staying in the area and opening opportunities at the top will be a win for all. The Skyway can also be beneficial as commuter transportation from Minturn and could potentially be another place to house workers. Vail Resorts currently currently owns a large storage yard for old Vail equipment - this could very viably be a beautiful location for employee housing.


The Skyway building will additionally be of a different flavor than Eagle's Nest. It will be directly adjacent to the Observatory and beyond having a beautiful bakery and coffee shop it will also have a Michelin Star chef-run restaurant and also four (hotel style) room available for spending the night. Yes, following the lead of Zermatt (which has 8 rooms at their skytop observatory) they telescope will be open all night long... 😁

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