Deer Valley says it is in talks to operate Mayflower Mountain Resort terrain, snowboarding ban would apply

Ski industry talk touches on housing, Park City Mountain paid parking and the plentiful snow

A panel addressed a variety of issues related to the ski industry on Monday evening at the Santy Auditorium. At table, from left, are travel industry veteran Ralf Garrison, Ski Utah President and CEO Nathan Rafferty, Deer Valley Resort President and Chief Operating Officer Todd Bennett and Deirdra Walsh, who is the vice president and chief operating officer of Park City Mountain.
Courtesy of Park City Municipal Corporation

Deer Valley Resort is in talks with the firm that is developing Mayflower Mountain Resort in Wasatch County that could result in Deer Valley operating the terrain there, a scenario that envisions a major expansion of Deer Valley’s slopes.

The topic was mentioned on Monday night during a panel discussion about the ski industry organized by Leadership Park City and held at the Santy Auditorium in the Park City Library.

Mayflower Mountain Resort is an Extell Development Company project that is underway in conjunction with the state Military Installation Development Authority. There will be discounted hotel rooms reserved for the military as part of the overall project.

Todd Bennett, the president and chief operating officer at Deer Valley, briefly addressed the topic as part of his remarks during the forum. He told the crowd there is an ongoing dialog between Deer Valley and Mayflower Mountain Resort about the operations of the terrain. If the Mayflower Mountain Resort slopes are folded into the Deer Valley terrain map, Bennett said, Deer Valley’s ski-only experience would apply there.

The comment referring to the snowboarding prohibition drew applause from the audience.

In an interview after the event, Bennett said Deer Valley and Extell Development Company are not formally affiliated but there are continuing discussions about the potential of Deer Valley becoming the operator of the Mayflower Mountain Resort terrain.

If an agreement is reached, an expansion of the Deer Valley terrain would be significant and follow years after the additions of the Empire Canyon and Deer Crest acreage, which effectively stretched Deer Valley from a point close to the banks of the Jordanelle Reservoir to the highest elevations of Empire Canyon.

A timeline for the talks between Deer Valley and Mayflower Mountain Resort was not provided on Monday.

In another comment related to Mayflower Mountain Resort, Bennett told the audience the project will increase the pressure on the area’s workforce housing stock. He did not talk extensively about the subject, though. Workforce housing has long been one of the challenges of the Park City-area tourism industry as rank-and-file workers have largely been priced out of the resort-driven real estate and rental markets.

In her comments on Monday, the top staffer at Park City Mountain, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Deirdra Walsh, addressed the resort’s first winter of a paid-parking system. She said 63% of the vehicles parking on the Mountain Village side, where paid parking was instituted, are considered to be carpools. Parking for carpools, requiring at least four people be inside a vehicle, is free. The resort does not have carpool data from previous ski seasons.

“In a lot of ways, mission accomplished,” Walsh said about the parking operations this ski season, explaining arrival times have been spread out and the paid parking has encouraged people to use carpools and the bus system.

Both of the resort executives noted the plentiful snowfall this winter, which allowed Park City Mountain and Deer Valley to extend their respective ski seasons. Walsh predicted Park City Mountain will reach 500 inches of snow this winter, saying the total to date was 482 inches. Bennett said snowfall at Deer Valley to date was 490 inches. That total also makes the 500-inch mark likely at Deer Valley.

Another panelist, Ski Utah President and CEO Nathan Rafferty, said the state will never reach the number of skier-days of Colorado, one of Utah’s chief competitors. He presented a graph, though, showing the consistent increase in skier visits to Utah since the mid-1970s, capped by a record 2021-2022 winter with more than 5.8 million visits.

Ralf Garrison, a travel industry veteran with extensive experience in mountain resorts, told the crowd the 2002 Winter Olympics, when upward of 50% of the competitions were held in the Park City area or nearby Wasatch County, did lots to distinguish the community. He said Park City is considered to be upmarket nowadays.


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