Vail Resorts to send PCMR lifts to Canada
Equipment intended for Silverlode Express, Eagle lifts will go to Whistler Blackcomb
Two controversial chairlifts intended for use at Park City Mountain Resort will be sent to another Vail Resorts property in Canada.
PCMR’s parent company announced Wednesday that the equipment purchased to upgrade the Silverlode Express and Eagle lifts would instead be installed at Whistler Blackcomb for the 2023-2024 season, pending approval. PCMR previously hoped to upgrade the two lifts for use in the upcoming season, but the Park City Planning Commission prevented the work from starting in June.
“Park City Mountain is a world-class resort and one of the leading destinations in the ski and ride industry. We will continue to pursue our permit to upgrade the Silverlode and Eagle chairlifts because we are committed to investing in the guest experience at the resort,” Deirdra Walsh, PCMR’s vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
She continued, “Once we have resolved our permit with the city, we plan to procure the lifts and equipment necessary for the installation.”
PCMR planned to replace the current Eagle and Eaglet lifts with a high-speed, six-person detachable lift. The resort also wanted to upgrade Silverlode Express from a six-person to an eight-person high-speed lift. Now, the lifts will be used to replace two four-person, high-speed lifts at Whistler Blackcomb, if granted the necessary permits.
The PCMR lift project was one of three scheduled for the 2022-2023 season that experienced delays. Resort officials hope it will be approved and completed next year for use that winter. In the meantime, Walsh said, the two previously purchased lifts can improve the guest experience at Whistler Blackcomb in time for the 2023-2024 season.
Sara Huey, a spokesperson for PCMR, said the decision to move the lifts will have no impact on Vail Resorts’ appeal of the Planning Commission decision.
The company filed the appeal in the 3rd District Court at Silver Summit in July, nearly one month after planning commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of four Park City residents who successfully appealed an administrative conditional-use permit granted by City Hall staffers for lift improvements.
“We know the timing of the judicial appeal process is uncertain,” Huey said in an interview with The Park Record. “The decision was made to deploy these lifts to Whistler Blackcomb so that skiers and riders can get the positive impact of these lifts as soon as possible. Once we have resolved our permit with the city, we plan to procure the lifts and equipment necessary for the installation.”
Huey said the resort has also engaged with the Utah Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman. The independent office specializes in property rights and assists landowners and local governments in resolving disputes and complying with laws. It also advocates for fairness and balance when private rights conflict with public needs.
While the appeal argued the project should have been exempt from staff-level review and should not have been approved due to inadequate parking mitigation and insufficient conditions of approval for peak ski days, others in favor of the project said the improvements would help reduce crowding.
The resort, which is due to open for the winter season in November, plans to introduce a new paid parking system and is expected to start limiting daily lift ticket sales in response to Parkites’ concerns about long lift lines and crowded slopes. Resort officials have said the changes are part of an effort to prioritize the mountain experience for guests.
“We are very optimistic about the future of Park City Mountain and look forward to sharing more about upcoming projects and capital investments soon,” Walsh said in a statement.
The Park City Chamber/Bureau is pleased with the Condé Nast Traveler listing. The organization said a sustainable tourism plan it adopted is expected to result in “a drop in occupancy (inbound visitors) coupled with an increase in ADR, also known as average daily room rate.”
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