Park City, UT – In addition to a rebranding with the fifth new name in its history — now just “Canyons” — new owner Talisker Mountain Inc. this week unveiled a new state-of-the-art chairlift, a realigned direct-connect gondola, expanded terrain and vastly improved snowmaking capabilities in preparation for the 2010-11 ski season at the Park City-area ski resort. These changes quantify the most improvements to any ski resort in North America this year.
The renovations taking place this summer are designed to improve guest flow up and down the mountain, and to connect what were once disjointed elements at the Utah resort. “We believe that a mountain is something that connects to a person’s soul and inspires them,” says Paul Boardman, new to the ski industry as the recently hired director of brand strategy and development at Canyons. “Our mission is really to allow that connection to flourish.”
This summer, Canyons is building a new, state-of-the-art Doppelmayr chairlift, affectionately nicknamed the “Orange Bubble”. This modern lift is the first of its kind in North America, the only other similar lift being found in the Alps of Austria.
The “Orange Bubble” features a drop-down hood to protect skiers from the elements and heated seats to ensure a cozy ride. The lift will increase uphill capacity from the resort’s base area by over 45% and will whisk skiers from base to summit just south of the Sun Peak lift in just nine minutes, replacing the Golden Eagle chair.
In addition to the swift flight up-mountain, the lift’s hood encapsulates riders behind an uninterrupted orange pane which was inspired by the technology of ski goggle optics. This “lens” gives riders enhanced visibility in almost every condition the mountain can throw their way.
Canyons addressed ease of access for its guests by moving the Flight of The Canyons Gondola to serve as a realigned “direct-connect” gondola a few short paces from the resort’s main entry point, the Cabriolet lift. Unlike the previous setup, which required a 150-yard unprotected walk through the village to the Flight of The Canyons, the loading area for the relocated lift will be conveniently placed across from the village center plaza from the Cabriolet, facilitating the guest flow from parking lot to mountain. The gondola, with its repainted and improved cabins, will still provide access to the Red Pine Lodge.
Canyons, already Utah’s largest ski resort in terms of acreage, is poised to become even more expansive with the addition of 300 acres of northwest-facing skiable terrain. This new area, on Iron Mountain in the southern reaches of the resort, will be accessed by a new detachable quad chairlift that will start from a location near the existing Timberland Lift, which allows travel in both directions.
“The new lift will enhance the ease of skiing both north and south off of Lookout Peak and guests will be able to ski directly to the Red Pine area,” explains Libby Dowd, spokesperson for the resort. “The south end of the resort is accessible via Timberline Lift which you can ride in both directions. It has stations at the bottom of Tombstone and the bottom of the new Iron Mountain Lift.”
Ten new ski runs will be located off the new lift. These runs will range from intermediate to expert levels and bring the total number of runs to 176.
Adequate snow cover, especially on the lower part of the mountain, has been a substantial concern at Canyons in past seasons. This year, this concern will be mitigated through the construction of a 20-million-gallon reservoir above Lookout Peak for snowmaking water. The new reservoir will help ensure a consistent ski surface, particularly at the beginning and end of the season, and will more than double Canyons’ snowmaking capabilities.
In an effort to increase time spent at the resort of the start and end of a ski day, Canyons has created an area which will cater to guests who wish to linger and enjoy activities sans skis. This area, called the Ski Beach, will cater to everything from concerts in the summer to breakfast to après-ski dining. Canyons hopes that the creation of the Ski Beach will provide a gathering place for cultural and social events and will increase the enjoyment of those visiting the resort.
This winter’s changes reflect phase one of the ski resort’s recreation which will take five to seven years to build out, officials indicate. They declined to reveal the cost of the upgrades.