Final Record of Decision Published for Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery Proposal

20 October 2014
  • Epic Discovery initiative to encourage “learning through play,” promoting environmental education and forest stewardship through fun, active experiences in concert with The Nature Conservancy
  • New activities and programming expected to be fully operational for summer 2016
  • Proposal marks the first of its kind in the country following the passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act
The U.S. Forest Service has published a final record of decision regarding the Vail Resorts, Inc.’s (NYSE: MTN) first-of-its-kind comprehensive summer activities proposal – Epic Discovery, a Summer Mountain Adventure – at Vail Mountain, one of the largest ski resorts in the world.
The primary activities and enhancements included in the final record of decision are: 
  • Micro-Interpretive Centers for Education: Integrated with trails and activities around the mountain, these interpretive experiential centers will provide guests with hands-on information and activities about forest health, wildlife and the mountain geography of the White River National Forest.
  • Game Creek and Front Side Zip Line Tours: The ultimate outdoor experiences, these guided tours will immerse guests in the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges. Guests will learn about the mountain ecosystem while working their way through each course’s challenges.
  • More Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails: Comprehensive interpretive and directional signage will be integrated to encourage more hiking and mountain biking across Vail Mountain and descending into the villages below.
  • Family Forest Adventure Park: A playground of rope challenges and bridges to introduce young children to the wonders of the forest.
  • Forest Flyer™: An alpine coaster that runs on raised rails, the Forest Flyer™ winds its way down the mountain, following the natural contours of the landscape through the forest.
  • Wildwood Observation Deck: A panoramic viewing balcony nestled within awe-inspiring scenery of alpine forests, meadows of wildflowers and wildlife.
The Epic Discovery proposal was submitted in July 2012 and has undergone a comprehensive environmental review. Vail Resorts expects to begin construction of trails, activities and the interpretive program in summer 2015.
“We’re thrilled that this final record of decision will allow us to move forward with the first phase of our construction plans next summer and have Epic Discovery – including new activities, experiences and educational opportunities – fully operational in the summer of 2016,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “We are grateful for our continued partnership with the U.S. Forest Service leading to this positive change that will benefit our economy and our mountains.”
The Epic Discovery initiative will encourage “learning through play” by combining extensive environmental educational elements with a variety of fun experiential activities for both kids and adults. Guests will be able to challenge themselves physically with new activities, explore and better understand their natural surroundings and ultimately create lifelong memories.
Vail Mountain's Epic Discovery proposal followed passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Act in 2011, a bill authored by Senator Mark Udall of Colorado.
“Vail Mountain's new activities show how my landmark, bipartisan Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act is helping move Colorado forward. These new activities will create jobs, drive tourism and keep Colorado's economy on the right track,” U.S. Senator Mark Udall said. “I will keep working with Colorado's ski areas and the U.S. Forest Service to ensure my bipartisan ski area jobs law is used to strengthen local economies, support jobs and protect our natural resources.”
Through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy – the leading conservation non-profit organization – Epic Discovery will complement the eco-discovery experiences across the mountain with scientific content. Subsequently, Vail Resorts will utilize its new “1% For The Forest” program as a means to contribute one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects on national forest lands.
Both the new Epic Discovery activities and interpretive programming will be compatible with existing on-mountain infrastructure of lifts and trails, unobtrusively blending into the natural environment.
Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain is the first installment of summer mountain adventure plans that Vail Resorts has for several of its world-class resorts, including Breckenridge and Heavenly.
To learn more about Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain, visit For more information about Vail Mountain visit, stop by the Mountain Information Center, or call (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).
About Vail Mountain
Coveted as one of the largest ski resorts in the world with more than 5,200 acres of skiable terrain, seven legendary Back Bowls spanning seven miles, and the most groomed terrain on the planet, Vail has been an extraordinary winter vacation destination for passionate skiers and snowboarders for more than 50 years. It is home to world-class athletes during the U.S. Ski Team early-season training sessions in Golden Peak, the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships and the future 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships. Under blue skies more than 300 days each year, friends and families reconnect and celebrate here from year to year and generation to generation. The vacation experience is exceptional, from the Vail Ski & Snowboard School to events, activities and festivals, shops and spas, abundant culinary experiences and luxurious accommodations. Coupled with the vision inherent in the spirit of Vail’s founders, and a modern day commitment to excellence in all aspects of guest service and operations, Vail is a mountain resort like nothing on earth.  
About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN)
Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Park City and Canyons in Utah; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is and consumer website is


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