By Yeti \ September 1 2015 \ 2 Comments
But it all started when the resort we used to call Canyons was Park West and Park West was the smaller neighbor of Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. Operations began in 1968, in a wild and wooly place with rickety lifts and iffy terrain. Generations of Salt Lakers and Park City-ites remember Park West fondly as much for its outdoor concert series as the skiing.
Along came Wolf Mountain and then The Canyons. More lifts were added and the resort’s footprint continued to grow. In 2008, real estate juggernaut Talisker bought the resort. A vast influx of capital culminated in 2010 with a major rejiggering of the elements that had frustrated skiers. The resort realigned its gondola and installed a fancy, heated-seat, high-speed lift that whisked skiers up to the top in total comfort. The food got better, the service got better and The Canyons dropped ”the,” becoming simply “Canyons.” Then, in 2014, Talisker turned over the ski operation to the experts at Vail Resorts.
The shared border between Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort has always been on the mind of every skier who has peered across Pine Cone Ridge. The resorts were practically begging to be connected. The transition took four years to play out as Vail purchased Park City Mountain Resort from Powdr Corp in the fall of 2014.
Vail officially began operating Park City Mountain Resort during the 2014–15 season. And that same season Bill Rock, Park City’s chief operating officer, came to town from Northstar in Lake Tahoe on a mission to merge the two resorts into one epic area (also part of Vail’s Epic pass, BTW).
“This is the biggest, most inspiring opportunity I’ve had in my career,” Rock says looking back on his 20 years in the ski biz. “We are putting two resorts, both with rich history, together into one, and we get to have the best of both to create something entirely new. It’s humbling.”
On Rock’s watch, Park City has laid out the largest single-season infrastructure investment in the history of the sport in America—a $50 million spend that will build the new border-erasing Quicksilver gondola line as well as the brand new Miners Camp Lodge in the Silverlode area to serve as the gondola’s arrivals and departures lounge. And Christmas comes early this season for skiers and boarders who have long bemoaned the old Motherlode lift, up for a long-overdue upgrade. And King Con lift gets bigger going from a high-speed quad to a high-speed six-pack.
“This connection is going to really combine these two resorts. As you ride the gondola over Pine Cone Ridge, you’re gonna whoop,” Rock says. “We’re taking people into a whole new world.”
There is nothing else in the world like the new Park City. Imagine waking up at the Grand Summit Lodge at Canyons Village, riding the Orange Bubble Express up the mountain and cruising your way to Park City’s Main Street, a European-type ski experience over the snow. Now that there is only one, you have at your disposal a giant mountain playground that stretches from the southern edge of Park City right to Main Street. That’s 6.5 miles from edge to edge, and, as you can imagine, it took a herculean effort by legendary ski map artist James Niehues just to fit this resort onto one trail map. Only one.
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