Mayflower Resort, UT + LCC Gondola

ChrisC

Well-known member
This is a disaster. Mayflower is just a real estate play located in the low-snowfall, ugly, warm, sad back, backside of the Wasatch.

It's really poor terrain – high temps, low snowfall and bad (mostly east) exposure. Almost every run will need snowmaking. And not really a pretty area – scrub brush. There is a reason no one developed this area for 40+ years and why it remained private land (and not part of federal forest lands). It will ski similar to Deer Valley's Little Baldy pod.

And looking at Deer Valley's Little Baldy/Jordanelle area....It's basically a single white ribbon of death the entire season - alternating between pure ice or pure slush. However, Deer Valley (or developers) stuck a $1k/night St. Regis hotel and a gated Deer Crest expensive home community where Jazz basketball players and other Wall Street types have homes - which provided the economic engine behind this heinous development.

Also, it looks like in addition to Mayflower connecting to Deer Valley via Little Baldy, they are hoping to connect to Deer Valley's Mayflower and Sultan lifts. Yet the base areas on these lifts can be a little thin-cover by March. And this will be Mayflower's highest point.

Also, the no-snowboarding policy should be popular with families.

Mayflower is going to end up like Moonlight Basin - build some expensive real estate - and sell the mountain cheaply to Alterra. However, Moonlight has great terrain and exposure. Maybe this plays out like the Spanish Peaks development that Big Sky snatched up/took over.

I would rather see some more natural ski terrain developed sustainably than a dull real estate play.

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jamesdeluxe

Administrator
This is a disaster. Mayflower is just a real estate play located in the low-snowfall, ugly, warm, sad back, backside of the Wasatch.

It's really poor terrain – high temps, low snowfall and bad (mostly east) exposure. Almost every run will need snowmaking. And not really a pretty area – scrub brush. There is a reason no one developed this area for 40+ years and why it remained private land (and not part of federal forest lands). It will ski similar to Deer Valley's Little Baldy pod.
I saw that coming down Broadway! :icon-lol:
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Barnett said most of the skiable terrain will be on north-facing slopes, where he said snowmaking won’t be required.
:bs::rotfl: :bs:There's exactly one new north facing lift at the bottom of the map ChrisC posted. It's also the highest with an elevation range of 7,000 - 8,100. Everything else will be extremely snowmaking dependent.

The next two highest lifts are the ones coming up from the base to the knoll between the bases of Mayflower and Sultan. The elevation range of those is 6,500 - 7,700 and you can easily see those are about as east facing as Mayflower and Sultan in Deer Valley but 1,000 feet lower. The Mayflower lift range is 7,500 - 8,800 while Sultan goes up to the 9,200 foot peak of Bald Mt.

Even in Deer Valley proper I've noticed widespread snowmaking subsurfaces. And as ChrisC said, the new development is lower and drier than the existing ski area. I really don't get it. Why would someone with the means to throw down $2 million+ for a vacation ski house choose this crappy location over numerous more attractive options?
Yes I suspect James was tossing some chum in the water with this thread.:troll:
 
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EMSC

Well-known member
The primary reason Mayflower is being developed is interestingly for the military. Specifically the Military Installation Development Authority is running much of the show. If I recall, several large hotels will be for exclusive military r&r at the base area. I'm sure there are more details online about thier involvement.

Thank goodness that it is connecting to Deer Valley though. The Mayflower skiing itself is going to be rough most of the time.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Why would someone with the means to throw down $2 million+ for a vacation ski house choose this crappy location over numerous more attractive options?
Yes I suspect James was tossing some chum in the water with this thread
Actually not a chum post. Harvey's forum was discussing it and I was surprised to do a search on FTO and find no mention about the first major new North American ski resort in a while. Clearly not designed for the denizens of this forum but interesting to learn about the military angle.

A quick google to identify other ski resorts/areas that have been built in the recent decades includes Mount Bohemia (2000), Silverton (2002), Tamarack (2004), Revelstoke (2007), and Cherry Peak, UT (2014). Any others? I guess Kicking Horse (2000) doesn't count because it took an existing small ski area and expanded on top of it.
 

ChrisC

Well-known member
The primary reason Mayflower is being developed is interestingly for the military. Specifically the Military Installation Development Authority is running much of the show. If I recall, several large hotels will be for exclusive military r&r at the base area. I'm sure there are more details online about thier involvement.

Interesting origin story or this one.

Hill Air Force Base is one step closer to seeing a Morale, Welfare and Recreation hotel become a reality, as a groundbreaking ceremony for the Mayflower Mountain Resort took place June 9. Once open, the 642,000-square-foot conference hotel will include a block of 100 rooms that will be available at a preferred rate for active duty and retired service members.

The development of the MWR hotel has been in the works for two decades. In the late 1990s, a small military MWR ski lodge near Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, Utah, closed in preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympics. In 2001, Congress passed legislation granting a federally-owned, 26-acre parcel in Park City, Utah, to the Air Force on which to either construct a new MWR facility or trade for other property of equal value.

The commercial space and entity creating MWR is owned by MIDA and leased back to Extell with the promise that the developer will deliver a four-star hotel and reserve 100 rooms per night in perpetuity for military use at fixed rates based on military rank.


It looks like the developer donated the land in order to get land redesignated and financing via MIDA.

I was not aware of these military MWR hotels - but knew some military personnel who would learn to ski while based in Germany. Kinda harkens back to the old corporate 'one company for life' days when large F500 companies would have country clubs for their employees.

However, Deer Valley's military discounted lift ticket is still $170+ per day - only a discount of approximately 15% off a full adult day. That likely destroys any value from a discounted hotel room - especially when you can basically day trip from the Ogden area. This should likely be discounted further to make the program worthwhile. Snowbasin and its new proposed village would likely be a better candidate for a MWR hotel - given its location and overall pricing.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Snowbasin and its new proposed village would likely be a better candidate for a MWR hotel - given its location and overall pricing.
+1 On the NASJA trip to Ogden in 2021 we heard the planes from Hill AFB around sunset each day and learned that it's the largest employer in the area.
A quick google to identify other ski resorts/areas that have been built in the recent decades includes Mount Bohemia (2000), Silverton (2002), Tamarack (2004), Revelstoke (2007), and Cherry Peak, UT (2014). Any others? I guess Kicking Horse (2000) doesn't count because it took an existing small ski area and expanded on top of it.
Revelstoke was a massive add-on to the local Powder Springs ski area just as Kicking Horse was to Whitetooth. Mayflower is a lesser add-on (in both quantity and quality) to Deer Valley. I'd say this Extell developer is using MIDA as the financing angle to get Mayflower built and hopes to cash in by getting enough suckers to buy property enticed by the Deer Valley cachet.

I wonder what Alterra thinks about the huge snowmaking/grooming budget it will take to maintain this terrain vs. the number of extra skiers it will attract?
 

ChrisC

Well-known member
Sometimes the base/ and original footprint of The Canyons/Park West can look quite sparse with just a few ribbons of snow on north aspects.

I just cannot imagine what the experience at Mayflower is going to be.

I wonder what Alterra thinks about the huge snowmaking/grooming budget it will take to maintain this terrain vs. the number of extra skiers it will attract?

I cannot imagine it will too many incremental skier days. Assume it will just function as another portal to Deer Valley. If they raise skier capacity, I assume just more skiers will congregate at the Class A sections of DV - like Bald Mountain and Empire.

Maybe it’s a faster drive going around to these portal backsides vs. the AM /PM traffic in Park City?
 

jimk

Active member
I haven't followed the Mayflower project very closely, but from my experience making an occasional run in recent years on the nearby terrain served by the Jordanelle gondola at Deer Valley I tend to go along with @ChrisC 's assessment of the project:

ChrisC said:
This is a disaster. Mayflower is just a real estate play located in the low-snowfall, ugly, warm, sad back, backside of the Wasatch.

I'm strongly pro-military. I served as a civilian employee of the Navy for 30 years. I guess if the project results in a nice R&R facility for military members that would be nice? If ski tickets at Deer Valley are too expensive they can sleep at Mayflower, then ride over to Park City and ski that with the cheap military Epic Passes:eusa-think:

This is a rather poor photo I took a couple of years ago while driving by the base of the Jordanelle Gondola at Deer Valley. In this part of the Deer Valley layout there are numerous large, expensive (and typically empty) slopeside houses that are mostly out of sight to the right. I believe the Mayflower development is taking place on the hillside to the left in this photo. As mentioned by others, the terrain is low, ugly, and mostly snowless. I think that is Bald Mtn (Deer Valley proper) in the left background.

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jimk

Active member
Another intriguing new ski resort development in Utah is the private resort of Wasatch Peaks Ranch off I84 near Mountain Green. It looks to be set up geographically very similar to Snowbasin and is on the backside of the Wasatch Front, but a few miles to the south of I84 on the same ridgeline. I rode up a lift at Snowbird in May of 2022 with an employee that works there. He was quite close hold about details on the place, but it sounded like it had begun ski ops the 2021-22 season. He had free time to ski Snowbird in May because Wasatch Peaks had closed for the season by then. I think it's supposed to eventually have 3000 skiable acres with 3600' vertical and much better terrain than the Mayflower project. Elevation is approximately 6000-9500'. A one year old article on liftblog.com about Wasatch Peaks: https://liftblog.com/2021/01/27/wasatch-peaks-ranch-to-debut-with-two-bubble-chairlifts/
The article includes a link to this promotional video from Jan 2021:
 
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ChrisC

Well-known member
This Wasatch Peaks proposal/development sounds more promising. I cannot find any information about terrain plans. Their website is really lacking here. However, Lift Blog reports its access chair is 8000 ft long. While its upper lift expert oriented. Surprised they are open. Maybe it's a very soft launch?! No press. They would really need to connect to Snowbasin to make it interesting for more than 1-2 days.


When Yellowstone Club launched, I think they already had a lift/trail link to Big Sky. It's become pretty impressive. I just want to know who operates these non-core real estate lifts (those with the unmarked real estate trails). The owners must show up 1 week of the season - the rest of the time/10 weeks there must be zero lift riders. Powder must definitely last for days/weeks.

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Cimarron
And speaking about other bad private ski resort ideas - Cimarron Mountain Club. It's near Ridgway, CO (between Crested Butte and Telluride). Guess they are now open. Looks like a snowcat operation. 13 ranches with 35-acre lots are sold out. Frankly, I'd rather do Canadian heli/cat skiing at lodge for a week. But this is near Ralph Laurens ranch - so I guess they think they are appealing to a lifestyle. I'd get so bored. How many 1%'s of 1% are out there to flip property to each other? How long do they hold these properties till they become bored and sell?


Nordic Valley Utah
I thought this potential Utah development was perhaps a semi-good idea, perhaps not the full proposal. Nordic Valley. You might as well put development where it already exists.

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And while we are on it, I thought the Little Cottonwood Gondola was a good idea. https://gondolaworks.com/
"The gondola would move up to 3,400 people an hour, using cars that hold 35 people and cover the distance to Alta in 36 minutes with a single intermediary stop at Snowbird. At the base terminal near the La Caille restaurant would be a 1,500-stall parking structure that would likely include restaurants, skier services and a transit hub tied to Utah Transit Authority bus routes."
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Of course, not everyone thinks so. https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2022/06/23/officials-blast-little/
It's not like Colorado has done much with I-70 improvements over decades.
Just luck how successful projects like this are in Europe/Canada:
  • Sunshine in Banff. Replaced a road with a gondola system in 1979.
  • Zermatt. Has a train bringing you into the town/ski area.
  • Eiger/Grindelwald. $500M project - same as Utah
  • Les Arcs - Funicular from valley vs. roads
  • Meribel - Gondola from Moutiers vs. roads
  • Telluride - Gondola connecting Telluride town to Mountain Village. Required by EPA to develop Mountain Village to reduce auto traffic since Telluride violates particulate levels almost every winter day. Major year-round tourist draw - skiing/biking/dining.
It's really sad these Utah Save the Canyons clubs just complain about any development. Maybe they just want to pay for parking and have tolls on the road.
 

jimk

Active member
Here goes some big time thread drift:censored:

About the Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola proposal...I'm in favor of it too. There's a lot of precedent around the ski world for building a transport gondola to get from a lower elevation parking lot to a higher elevation trail layout at a ski resort. Two that I've utilized that quickly come to mind are the BreckConnect and Sunshine Banff. They work fine and do what they are supposed to do. What's the big deal?

However, after spending the last four winters in Utah skiing mostly in LCC I conclude that most Utah locals (skiers and especially non-skiers) do not want it. I think the big complaint is the cost. The non-skiing populace especially doesn't want a big chunk of their tax money to be spent benefiting just two ski resorts. The second big complaint, that is common with locals that do ski, is aesthetics and crowds. They don't want to spoil the pristine quality of LCC and they don't something that will draw more crowds to the ski resorts. It's more complicated than this, but those seem to me to be the main complaints.

I think both complaints are short sighted. Spending a half billion or even a billion to ensure a solid future for Alta/Bird is pretty important in the grand scheme of Utah skiing. Those two are the lynchpin of Utah's reputation for the greatest snow on earth. Park City and Deer Valley draw a ton of tourists and are nice resorts, but frankly are nothing special when it comes to high quality ski terrain & primo snow conditions. That extraordinary combo (great terrain and great snow) is what makes LCC so special and also BCC to a lesser degree.

I don't see how a long, nap of the earth gondola spoils the aesthetics of LCC anymore than what is currently going on. The current approach entails more and more buses driving up and down the access road and makes tons of people park their cars all over the resort base areas. The buses are overwhelmed on the big powder days and empty on the vast majority of days when there is no new snow, yet they still roll up and down that road in great frequency for three months. I like the free parking I can still get at Snowbird, but if they made all parking in LCC paid parking and offered free parking at the mouth of LCC to ride a new transport gondola it would make the canyon a much prettier place to visit IMHO.

And there is not much to spoil by building a big parking facility at the mouth of LCC to serve as a staging area for using the gondola. That part of Cottonwood Heights is already heavily developed into suburbia. I also think that trying to throttle visitation by not installing a new transport gondola is an example of locals (many are transplants) who want to save the good skiing for themselves and keep tourists out - something that I do not think is healthy in the long run for ski resort operations. Sorry for the long ramble.
 
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jamesdeluxe

Administrator
The non-skiing populace especially doesn't want a big chunk of their tax money to be spent benefiting just two ski resorts. The second big complaint, that is common with locals that do ski, is aesthetics and crowds. They don't want to spoil the pristine quality of LCC and they don't something that will draw more crowds to the ski resorts. It's more complicated than this, but those seem to me to be the main complaints
Funicular! :bow: I wonder how much more that would be than a gondola. Lots, I suspect.

BTW, the "pristine quality of LCC" -- didn't that horse leave the barn many moons ago? It's one of the biggest industrial skiing locales in the U.S.
 
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ChrisC

Well-known member
Switzerland just stuck a similar gondola system in front of one of their most iconic mountains - the Eiger - at a similar cost of $500m. And now they probably show it off. Link And it links seamlessly into the rail system.

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Switzerland more likely relies on mountain tourism than Utah. And Zermatt and Eiger/Jungfrau are their most famous peaks. In comparison, they make the Wasatch look like small potatoes. I don't know what sort of Swiss design review process went on, but I am sure it was significant.

The road improvements for LLC would cost just as much. Utah is going to be spending $500 m one way or the other. And I cannot imagine the multi-year hell roadwork would take.

I am sure you can design a system of taxes and user fees that lessens the tax burden and spreads it to tourists and state residents who utilize the gondola system. The gondola itself would become a tourist attraction year-round.

Denver I-70 skiing is no longer fun on the weekends due to traffic. Colorado really failed to implement any significant improvements for decades. How much growth can really occur/increase in skier days with the present I-70 transportation infrastructure?
 

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ChrisC

Well-known member
Funicular! :bow: I wonder how much more that would be than a gondola. Lots, I suspect.

BTW, the "pristine quality of LCC" -- didn't that horse leave the barn many moons ago? It's one of the biggest industrial skiing locales in the U.S.

I am not sure why a funicular system was not explored. But possibly cost, some avalanche exposure, and another 'road' going up the canyon?
 
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EMSC

Well-known member
I am not sure why a funicular system was not explored. But possibly cost, some avalnche exposure and another 'road' going up the canyon?
It probably was considered. Road expansion and the gondola are the final two choices after a winnowing down from many choices several years ago. Avi danger would be the same as the road though. Thus leaving two clearly different options as to that aspect for final choice.
 

snowave

Member
Another intriguing new ski resort development in Utah is the private resort of Wasatch Peaks Ranch off I84 near Mountain Green. It looks to be set up geographically very similar to Snowbasin and is on the backside of the Wasatch Front, but a few miles to the south of I84 on the same ridgeline. I rode up a lift at Snowbird in May of 2022 with an employee that works there. He was quite close hold about details on the place, but it sounded like it had begun ski ops the 2021-22 season. He had free time to ski Snowbird in May because Wasatch Peaks had closed for the season by then. I think it's supposed to eventually have 3000 skiable acres with 3600' vertical and much better terrain than the Mayflower project. Elevation is approximately 6000-9500'. A one year old article on liftblog.com about Wasatch Peaks: https://liftblog.com/2021/01/27/wasatch-peaks-ranch-to-debut-with-two-bubble-chairlifts/
The article includes a link to this promotional video from Jan 2021:

So weird, I was driving by that area the other day on my way back to ID, and was wondering what the heck that "new" ski area was. In my quick search online, I couldn't find anything about it. I agree, it looked very similar terrain-wise as SnowBasin... (I kept looking back and forth at the two comparing as I drove by). There appeared to be quite a bit of construction going on, too.

Thanks for the info.
 

EMSC

Well-known member
So far Wasatch Peaks Ranch is in very stealth and security mode. Clearly enough people feeling very rich for them to have two detach quads running all last season with minimal web presence. If there is a recession anytime soon, one has to wonder if trail maps get posted and begging for new homeowners begins...
 

ChrisC

Well-known member
I did a little more digging. The resort looks a little underwhelming since it is only being developed on private land. Easier permitting, but little high alpine/interesting terrain. Essentially, it looks like all cut trail runs. Guess Deer Valley is the same.

Wasatch Peaks Ranch
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Google Map of development (Note: Orientation is E-W)
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The lower liftline is obvious. Not sure where the second expert lift is. It looks like there is a work road to the ridge on the physical Google Map. Guess it goes into the alpine. Not bad.
 
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