‘Canyons’ announces major expansion plans
Ryan Summerlin August 20, 2010
Talisker will be "re-creating" its Park City resort over the next 15 months. Changes to be ready for opening day include new branding, new gondolas, new lifts and a new village center.
The Canyons Resort is now to be called just "Canyons."
Paul Boardman from New York was recently hired as the company’s new director of brand, strategy and development and explained that "Canyons" is more appealing at a Thursday press conference.
He also said he will be pressing the question, "How do you mountain?"
People have an emotional connection to mountains and Talisker wants to tap into that, he said.
"What are people’s expectations, desires and emotions with the mountain?" he asked rhetorically. "Here people have some of the most strong, most passionate connections as with any terrain in the world."
A new series of video ads features people explaining what spending time at Canyons means to them.
In addition to introducing its new campaign, the press conference also unveiled three new ways to get up the slopes.
The base of the Flight of The Canyons Gondola is moving to directly across the village center from Cabriolet Lift, dramatically shortening the walking distance for people parked below the resort.
The direct-connect gondola will still transport guests from the village center to the Red Pine Lodge. The gondola cabins will also be upgraded.
Where the gondola base had been will feature the resort’s new high-speed quad lift that Talisker is calling "orange bubbled" and "state-of-the-art."
As guests sit down on the padded and heated seats they will pull down an orange, bubble-like enclosure. Managing Director Mike Goar said the color is visually striking from the outside, and makes colors "pop" from the inside like a pair of giant ski goggles.
Goar said he believes there may be none like it in North America; the inspiration came from Austria.
The new lift will take guests to just south of Sun Peak Lift in nine minutes and will increase uphill capacity by 47 percent.
Iron Mountain to the very south of the resort will see 300 aces of new, northwest-facing skiable terrain. This will include 10 new runs including intermediate to expert, and glade tree skiing, bringing the total at the resort to 176 runs. The construction will include a new detachable quad lift. Timberline Lift will also give guests access to the area.
According to resort spokesperson Elizabeth Dowd, "The new lift will enhance the ease of skiing both north and south off of Lookout Peak and guests will be able to ski directly to the Red Pine area. The south end of the resort is accessible via Timberline Lift which you can ride in both directions. It has stations at the bottom of Tombstone and the bottom of the new Iron Mountain Lift."
Goar said many of the complaints guests have had since Talisker bought the resort two years ago can be addressed through improved snowmaking so Canyons is constructing a 20-million-gallon reservoir. The water and other infrastructure investments will more than double the resort’s snow-making capabilities and provide a more reliable early-season experience, he said.
He also anticipates this development to significantly improve the resort’s rankings in SKI Magazine’s annual survey.
Boardman said something the resort is lacking is a way for guests to relax between runs. That’s why changes to the village center are also planned including a "ski beach."
Located between the bases of the new gondola and new quad lift, guests on the beach can order food and beverages from breakfast to après ski. It will also make an appropriate venue for events, according to a press release.
Boardman said these changes are part of why Smokies Bar and Grill was torn down.
"All you saw was the back of a bar. Now you’re looking at the slopes," he explained.
Ready by winter
Goar said these changes will be ready by opening day. More are coming before opening day 2011. Everything Talisker has envisioned for the resort’s "re-creation" will likely be completed within five to seven years.
An increase in ticket prices will be required to help fund the projects, but Goar said it won’t be more than guests might anticipate or be comfortable with.
He also expected the resort to employ 100 additional people this year.
Goar said he believes these changes are the most significant improvements any resort is making in North America this year. They may be the most significant improvements made in years, he added.
Furthermore, he anticipates the first phase of construction to attract attention and raise the profile of Utah skiing.
"The strength of this business in the long term is the synergy that exists with the other resorts," he said.
"Our investment here is part of the larger thesis of Utah skiing," Boardman added.
Boardman said in a new video spot that his experience with the mountains began on hikes with his father in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He said in the press conference he is a newcomer to the ski industry, but is an expert in helping people make an emotional connection to a brand.
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