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Vail Works To Make Ski Resorts More Than Winter Destination

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An artist's rendition of a summertime zipline (credit: CBS)

An artist’s rendition of a summertime zipline (credit: CBS)

VAIL, Colo. (CBS4)- It’s no surprise that ski resorts in Colorado are a huge tourism draw in the winter but now there’s a push to make them just as attractive in warmer months.

Vail Mountain is starting a three-year endeavor they believe will change the game.

“The North Aerial Challenge Course, this is going to be 35 feet in the sky,” said Vail Mountain Adventure Center spokesman Mark Hendrickson.

There’s a lot of construction underway at the top of Vail Mountain that will expand activities designed to bring in summertime tourist traffic. The best part of the design is that it can be used during winter months for even more activities.

“It brings a lot of fun and excitement to the area,” said Hendrickson.

The area is called “Adventure Ridge” and two rope courses are being built along with a speeding zipline.

“It’s called Ziprunner. It’s a 1,200 foot zipline sure to grab your attention. You could reach speeds up to 45 mph while looking at the beautiful Gore Range,” said Hendrickson.

The next step in Vail’s attempt to expand summer recreation and bring in more tourism dollars is still awaiting National Forest Service approval. While they wait more activities are being planned.

“Canopy tours, hiking and biking guided tours and Jeep tours. There’s going to be quite a bit going on,” said Hendrickson.

Along with the activities there will be an emphasis on education.

“You’d learn about the history of the area, you’d learn about the topography, the flora and fauna and the understanding that it’s a beautiful place and we need to preserve it,” said Hendrickson.

Vail is also asking the forest service for permission to build nearly 45 miles of new trails for hiking and mountain biking. It’s all part of a nearly two-year-old change in federal requirements on ski area permits.

The hope is that the new activities will bring significant tourism dollars to the High Country during a time of year that has, in the past, been slow.

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