Vail Resorts Inc. is planning a massive makeover that is set to transform the skiing experience in Utah. Hoping to give reality to their vision, the company announced a comprehensive $50 million investment that will attract adventuring skiers and snowboarders who are always looking for something new.
Their big idea is to connect Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort, which, although they can be skied on a single ticket, require ground transportation between the two. A new gondola lift will access the two resorts in nine minutes. According to Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association, this will create one of the largest ski areas in America, spanning 7,300 acres of ski-able terrain.
The ambitious plan is pending approval from Summit County and Park City. It includes an interconnected gondola, lift improvements, a new restaurant, improved snow-making capabilities and other upgrades.
The Interconnect Gondola will accommodate eight people. It will swiftly connect Park City to Canyons via the Silverlode and Flatiron Lifts. Stopping en route at Pine Cone Ridge, it will allow the option to ski into Thaynes Canyons or Iron Mountain on proposed new trails. It will be the first gondola at Park City Mountain Resort since the dismantling of the original one in 1983. The King Con and Motherlode Lifts will be upgraded to provide added speed and capacity. This will reduce wait times and crowding and will positively impact the guest experience.
The Vail Resorts plan includes a new Snow Hut restaurant at the Silverlode Lift, adjacent to the Interconnect Gondola terminal. It will seat 500 indoors and will offer a top-of-the-line kitchen. Projected improvements to the “scramble” area inside the Summit House restaurant will increase capacity and convenience for the flow of diners. The Red Pine Restaurant at Canyons will undergo renovations and will expand to accommodate 250 extra indoor seats.
Lastly, Vail Resorts plan to top their transformation of the Utah ski experience by installing improved snow-making facilities. These are focused on two trails in the Iron Mountain area of Canyons, which, due to their access by the Interconnect Gondola, are set to become the central ski terrain in the resort.
Of the total investment, $5 million will be allocated to long-needed “catch up” maintenance and upgrades at Park City. This spending will augment the $5 million already expended annually as maintenance capital for the two resorts.
The planned capital undertaking is one of the most far-reaching in the history of the ski industry. The unification of the two resorts will result in the biggest single ski destination in the U.S., said Blaise Carrig, an executive at Vail Resorts.
The complete guest experience takes into account access to a vast ski terrain, multiple options for all levels of skiers, improved lift capacity and speed, state-of-the-art dining and general improvements in all areas. No stone seems to have been left unturned by Vail Resorts, resulting in an expected elevation to one of the best destination ski resorts in North America.
The plan was based on guest recommendations, community feedback, as well as the expertise of senior executives within and outside of the company. The expectation is to be ready for the ski season next year. While maintaining the unique history and atmosphere of each, the two resorts will be marketed under a single brand as, “Park City Mountain Resort.” The Canyons will be called “Canyons at Park City.” The skiing fraternity eagerly awaits Vail Resorts’ plan to transform the ski experience at their new Utah properties.
By Bina Joseph
Photo by Jack Affleck – Flickr License
Photo by Pravin Premkumar – Flickr License