Deer Valley to Main Street: one gondola or two gondolas? | ParkRecord.com

Deer Valley to Main Street: one gondola or two gondolas?

by Jay Hamburger , THE PARK RECORD

The top executive at Deer Valley Resort is scheduled to talk with Park City leaders on Thursday, continuing a series of high-profile City Hall appearances recently by figures in the ski industry.

Bob Wheaton, the president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort, is expected to address Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council during a public meeting. Wheaton’s appearance is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. The agenda sets aside 25 minutes for Wheaton.

Wheaton said he anticipates responding to questions from the elected officials rather than offering lengthy prepared remarks. He said he anticipates questions about Deer Valley’s internal planning efforts in preparation for building a gondola linking the slopes with Main Street. City Hall is expected to hold a critical role in the discussions since it seems almost certain the terminal on the Main Street end of the gondola will be on property now under municipal ownership.

Wheaton said Deer Valley considered a range of options for a Main Street connection with two of them now being more closely studied.

One option envisions replacing the Silver Lake Express lift, a high speed lift that seats four people. A gondola would run from a spot at or close to the Old Town transit center to a location at the top of the Lucky Bill ski run. Another gondola would replace the Silver Lake Express lift itself.

The other option, a one-gondola alignment, calls for a direct route between the Old Town transit center and Silver Lake Village.

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Either of the routes could be redesigned to include the Huntsman estate on Royal Street, Wheaton said. That acreage is on the market. There has been speculation that the Huntsman estate, notable for its development potential, could occupy an important location along a gondola route.

Construction of a gondola could start as early as the summer of 2016, Wheaton said. He said Deer Valley is in discussions with the Doppelmayr Group manufacturer about a gondola.

Deer Valley sees a gondola linking the slopes to Main Street as something that will be attractive to skiers, offering a direct route between the resort and the shopping, dining and entertainment strip. Main Street would be pleased to have connections to Deer Valley as well as the Town Lift that now links Park City Mountain Resort to the street.

Wheaton, meanwhile, said he intends to describe plans for major development overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir. The land is in Wasatch County and Deer Valley is one of four landowners in the vicinity. A project would involve an expansion of Deer Valley’s skiing terrain. Work such as the expansion of the skiing and the installation of infrastructure could start as early as the summer, he said.

It is unlikely there will be a detailed discussion between Wheaton and the elected officials on Thursday given the time constraints.

Wheaton is expected at City Hall after two earlier appearances by figures in the ski industry. Blaise Carrig, the president of Vail Resorts’ mountain division, spoke to the elected officials in September, shortly after the Colorado firm acquired PCMR. Bill Rock, installed by Vail Resorts as the chief operating officer of PCMR, addressed the mayor and City Council in November.