Deer Valley focused on Silver Lake-Main Street gondola route
Deer Valley Resort is continuing to research the possibility of building a gondola linking the resort’s slopes to Main Street, an idea that was discussed midyear but has been little talked about publicly since then.
Resort officials have spent the time since the summer considering different options and say they are focused on several possible alignments.
Bob Wheaton, the president of the resort, said Deer Valley is researching a small number of spots in Silver Lake Village as the location for one of the terminals. He did not provide details but said the terminal in Silver Lake Village does not need to be located on the ski slopes themselves.
That would open up more possibilities for the terminal in Silver Lake Village. He said Silver Lake Village is centrally located and skiers are able to reach much of the resort’s terrain from the lifts accessible there. He noted that the gondola would be in use during the summer as well as the ski season, making Silver Lake Village attractive as a terminal location.
Deer Valley, he said, sees the Brew Pub parking lot as the location of the terminal on Main Street, something that was discussed publicly earlier. The Brew Pub lot is owned by City Hall.
"I think that we made a lot of progress, but there hasn’t been anything concrete," Wheaton said.
Deer Valley and Park City officials would eventually need to reach an agreement if the resort wants to locate the terminal at the Brew Pub lot. Wheaton said a purchase or a lease of the land that is needed are among the options. There have been ongoing discussions between Deer Valley and City Hall. The resort and Doppelmayr, a manufacturer that could be hired to build the gondola, have also been in discussions.
It is not clear what route Deer Valley will pursue between Silver Lake Village and the Brew Pub lot. Wheaton acknowledged that details have not been finalized. He said the resort is currently most interested in a route that runs from Silver Lake Village, down a line roughly parallel with Marsac Avenue, also known as S.R. 224, and into the Brew Pub lot. The route envisions the gondola running along the east side of Marsac Avenue.
The route has been seen as one of the most promising given its longtime status as a transportation corridor. The road is already one of two routes between Silver Lake Village and Old Town.
Marsac Avenue is also a residential street along the stretch closest to Old Town. Organized opposition has not been formed, but there could eventually be concerns from some of the people who live there once more details are made public.
The focus on Silver Lake Village is noteworthy since Deer Valley earlier had mentioned two other spots at the resort as potential terminals — a location at the Northside Express lift and one at the Empire Canyon Lodge. Wheaton said researching the other spots is no longer a priority.
It is unknown what sort of City Hall process will be required prior to work starting on a gondola. It seems likely that Deer Valley will need to secure approvals from the Park City government to build a gondola like the one being discussed.
Wheaton said it is possible a gondola could be opened for the 2014-2015 ski season. He said there has been widespread support from Main Street’s leadership, people who own homes in Silver Lake and Old Town residents. He said he has not received a negative comment.
A Deer Valley contingent is planning to join a delegation from North American mountain resorts traveling to Austria in February to learn about lift systems employed there. He said gondolas and aerial trams will be researched on the trip.
If a gondola is built between Deer Valley and the Brew Pub lot, it would serve as a second skiing bookend to Main Street, something that tourism boosters would see as a competitive advantage for Park City. The Town Lift already links lower Main Street to the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.