Park City, UT – Vail Resorts today announced details of the company’s planned upgrades to Park City Mountain Resort for the 2015-16 ski season that will create the nation’s largest single ski resort in Utah.
“We are pleased to announce that we expect to connect Park City and Canyons into the single largest resort in the United States in 2015,” trumpets Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz. “The transformational capital plan for our Utah resorts will be a dramatic step forward for the guest experience, creating access to vast terrain options for skiers of all abilities, significantly upgrading lift capacity in high traffic areas of the resorts and expanding and upgrading the dining experience. We believe this will further elevate the combined resort as one of the best destination ski resorts in North America.”
The plan, which will cost over $50 million, is one of the largest capital development programs in U.S. ski industry history. The key component of the plan will for the first time connect Park City with nearby Canyons Resort, creating the largest single ski area in the country with more than 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. Spending will also include a number of upgrades to the infrastructure of both resorts.
The plan will be subject to approval by both Summit County and the City of Park City.
“This comprehensive capital plan for Park City and Canyons is one of the most ambitious and impactful plans undertaken at any resort in industry history, transforming the experience at both resorts and creating the largest single ski resort in the U.S. with more than 7,300 acres of skiable terrain,” said Blaise Carrig, president of the mountain division for Vail Resorts. “The improvements offer skiers and riders more terrain and upgraded lifts to enhance the guest experience and reduce crowding and lift lines, new and upgraded restaurants, more snowmaking and an overall ‘touching up’ of all aspects of the resorts.”
An eight-passenger, high-speed two-way gondola is planned to run from the base of the existing Silverlode Lift at Park City to the Flatiron Lift at Canyons. The gondola will also have an unloading station at the top of Pine Cone Ridge to allow skiers and riders the opportunity to ski into Thaynes Canyons at Park City via gated ski access or to the Iron Mountain area at Canyons through new trails that will be created from Pine Cone Ridge. This will mark the first gondola at Park City Mountain Resort since “The Gondola” was dismantled in 1983.
Also at Park City, plans call for an upgrade to both the resort’s King Con and Motherlode Lifts. The King Con Lift will be upgraded from a four-person to a six-person, high-speed detachable chairlift and will increase lift capacity to this very popular ski pod. The Motherlode Lift will be upgraded from a fixed-grip triple to a four-person, high-speed detachable chairlift, also increasing lift capacity.
The plan calls for building a completely new Snow Hut restaurant at the base of Park City’s Silverlode Lift and next to the Park City terminal for the new Interconnect Gondola, with 500 indoor seats. The plan also includes an upgrade to the “scramble” area inside Park City’s Summit House restaurant to improve the flow of diners. At Canyons, the Red Pine Restaurant will be renovated to accommodate an additional 250 indoor seats. This upgrade follows the recent renovation and increase of 150 seats to the Cloud Dine restaurant at Canyons.
The plan features additional snowmaking on two trails in the Iron Mountain area of Canyons which will become increasingly central ski terrain given its proximity to the Interconnect Gondola. The plan also includes almost $5 million of “catch up” maintenance and upgrades at Park City, given what Vail Resorts indicates is a lack of spending at the resort over the past few years. This “catch up” maintenance spending is in addition to the normal annual maintenance capital for the two resorts of $5 million, which will be undertaken this year as well.
“The plan was based on feedback from guests and the local community as well as discussions with the senior operating teams at the two resorts,” explains Carrig. “We look forward to continuing to work with the county and the city and are hopeful we can bring this plan to life for the 2015-2016 ski season.”
Beginning next winter, the company intends to operate the two resorts as one unified branded experience under the name “Park City Mountain Resort”. The Canyons base area will be renamed “Canyons at Park City”. Company officials indicate that they will continue to maintain the unique history and atmosphere of the two base areas with differentiated marketing for each formerly separate resort’s hotel and hospitality experiences.