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New owner fast tracks Afton Alps improvements for upcoming ski season

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When skiers hit the slopes at Afton Alps this winter, they will see significant improvements and renovations to the 50-year-old resort, thanks to a new owner.

Colo-based Vail Resorts Inc. bought Afton Alps last year in a $20 million cash deal and the Star Tribune reports that the new owner is now pumping $10 million into the Washington County park.

This season, skiers will see upgraded guest services facilities, with improved ticketing and scanning systems. Freestyle skiers and snowboarders will have access to and a new terrain park and village, including new village area with indoor and outdoor spaces for skiers to stop for food. That will also give them a new place to look out over the rolling hills of the St. Croix River Valley.

The resort's ski season will be lengthened with expanded snowmaking abilities. Using 72 new snowmaking guns, the Afton Alps system will be overhauled to make snow twice as fast.

Vail Resorts also will install new technology to track skiers and snowboarders for posts and pins on social media. Another social media app to be added will let skiers engage in a virtual race against Olympic champ and St. Paul native Lindsey Vonn to earn gold, silver and bronze “medals.”

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