By Travel Tips and Deals \ December 9 2014
The news is out. Big, I mean HUGE, changes are on the horizon for Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort now that they have been acquired by Vail Resorts. The plan includes connecting the two ski areas, creating the largest ski resort in the country, totaling 7,300 acres! Astonishingly, this plan represents the largest resort improvement project in the history of American Skiing! In addition, Vail plans to invest $50 million dollars into upgrades and infrastructure by next season.
“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 Blaise Carrig, president of the mountain division for Vail Resorts in a press release. "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.”
Reading this, I decided to look at the plans from the perspective of a skier who wants to make the most of every day I’m on the slopes. Here’s a run down on the proposed plans and how skiers will benefit:
An eight-passenger, high-speed gondola running from the base of the existing Silver Lift at Park City to the Flatiron Lift at Canyons. When conditions allow, gondola passengers will be able to unload at the top of Pine Cone Ridge and ski or ride directly down to Park City's Thaynes Canyon trail via gated ski access or to the Iron Mountain area at Canyons through new trails that will be created from Pine Cone Ridge.
Why it makes your ski day rock – Short lines, fast rides, cross access between resorts, and more places to explore from the top of Pine Cone Ridge. You could ski for days and not slide the same trail twice, unless you wanted to. Also, you would have more convenient lodging options. Stay at a lovely ski-in-out condo in Canyons Resort, ski both resorts all day, then return right to your room. Yes, THAT rocks!
King Con will be upgraded from a 4-person to 6-person high-speed detachable chair, meaning increased lift capacity. Motherlode will switch from a fixed-grip triple to a 4-person high-speed detachable, similarly improving the number of guests it can carry.
Why it makes your ski day rock – More lifts with shorter wait times.
A completely new Snow Hut restaurant, replacing the current Snow Hut next to the base of Park City's Silverlode Lift and the Park City terminal for the Interconnect Gondola, will include 500 indoor seats and a top-of-the-line kitchen and culinary experience. Meanwhile, upgrades to Summit House will improve the flow of diners and increase seating. At Canyons, Red Pine Restaurant will be renovated to the tune of 250 additional indoor seats.
Why it makes your ski day rock – Have you ever stood in a long lunch line, hot and sweating because you’re still wrapped in ski gear, with your stomach gnawing a hole through your belly? Ya, me too. It doesn’t rock. These upgrades mean additional capacity to serve more hungry skiers, fast.
The plan rounds out with additional snowmaking on two trails in Canyons’ Iron Mountain area to handle increased skier traffic for Interconnect Gondola access.
Why it makes your ski day rock – Thinking ahead to the changes in skier traffic, Vail is preparing the most impacted trails to avoid bottlenecks and keep the conditions prime.
We’ll also be putting almost $5 million of "catch up" maintenance and upgrades at Park City, given the 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.
Why it makes your ski day rock –Sometimes it’s the little details that can make the difference between a good experience and a great one. By jumping on deferred maintenance, Park City will be ready to deliver the kind of experience you expect.
While all of these plans have potential to deliver a world-class experience to skiers, they are subject to permits and approval. Watch closely for updates over the next year to know what great things are in store for the “new” Park City Mountain Resort.
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