For those that remembered we talked about if Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons combining was good or bad thing for locals. Well, Vail Resorts announced they have been given the go ahead from Park City Planning Commission to begin combining them. Vail was quoted saying this project is “one of the most ambitious and impactful capital plans in the U.S. ski industry.” Nobody can argue with that. As long as ski resorts have been around no company has made a bigger single season investment than this. In fact, this purchase has created the biggest ski resort in US.
Vail Promises The Moon
After purchasing Park City Mountain Resort for $182.5 million early this year, Vail immediately had a press release promising colossal improvements were on their way. The industry was intrigued and excited to see the plan. Anticipation was high, but when Vail announced this week that they would be investing an additional $50 million in Park City/ Canyons it was almost unbelievable. Prior to this the largest investment made in a single season was by Whistler Blackcomb at $12 million!
What Does $50 Million Get You?
How much? Once combined the resort will be over 7,300 accessible acres making it the biggest ski resort in the US. That will put them pretty high up when it comes to resorts with the most skiable terrain in North America. In case you are having a hard time realizing how big that is, here are the top 10 in North America as it stands now. These figures are according to their websites.
How Big Are The Biggest
- Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia: 8,171 acres (both mountains)
- Big Sky Resort, Montana: 5,750 acres
- Vail Mountain Resort, Colorado: 5,289 acres
- Heavenly Mountain Resort, California: 4,800 acres
- Canyons Resort, Utah: 4,000 acres (before purchase)
- Squaw Valley Ski Resort, California: 3,600 acres
- Mammoth Mountain, California: 3,500 acres
- Snowmass, Colorado: 3,332 acres
- Park City Mountain Resort, Utah: 3,300 acres (before purchase)
- Northstar, California: 3,170 acres
What Are They Planning For Upgrades
One Big Happy Gondola
The plan is to build an interconnecting, high-speed, eight-passenger, two-way gondola that will run from the bottom of the Silverlode Lift in Park City to the Flatiron Lift in Canyons. It will make several stops along the way, which will allow backcountry access into Thaynes Canyons at Park City. If backcountry isn’t your thing skiers and riders will also be able to access Iron Mountain at Canyons from Pine Cone Ridge using new trails that will be added during the expansion.
King Con has nothing on lift upgrades
King Con Lift will go from a four-person to a six-person high-speed detachable chairlift. This will help ease wait times and increase capacity to a resort favorite. The Motherlode chair is planned to be converted from a fixed grip to a high-speed four person detachable lift. This will increase the amount of skiers and riders taken up the hill by 25%.
Mother nature? We don’t need no mother nature! Bring on the snow!
Vail will increase their snowmaking operations. In Canyons additional equipment will be added on two Iron Mountain area trails to accommodate for the increase in traffic from the interconnecting gondola.
Keeping people safe on the mountain
Due to the lack of spending over the last couple years, maintenance at the resort has fallen behind. $5 million will be spent immediately. An addition $5 million will be spent in annual maintenance costs to keep you and your group safe and happy.
Some new tasty treats when slashing on the mountain
A brand new Snow Hut will bee built at the base of Silverlode next to the gondola terminal. The restaurant will have 500 seats, a state of the art kitchen and will provide a quality dining experience. Upgrades will be made to the Summit House to increase flow and expand seating. Lastly, renovations will take place at the Red Pine Restaurant in Canyons and an additional 250 seats will be added to accommodate more guests.
The plan is to start construction on the gondola as soon as this season is over. Excavations for terminals and towers will begin in May and last until June. Concrete will be poured and terminals and towers will be installed June through August. Lastly, cables and gondola cabins will be installed in September. Vail is trying to have renovations and additions completed by November helping make Park City the biggest ski resort in the US.