Sports: A place to play
Upgrades, expansions and even a new ski resort
This story is found in the 2019 edition of Milepost.
Deer Valley Resort
While Deer Valley Resort has seen a few changes after being acquired by Alterra in 2017, it aims to retain its identity. “The goal is still to be the ultimate in customer service,” says President and Chief Operating Officer Todd Shallen. “We will always stay true to what makes Deer Valley special.”
But more change is coming.
One improvement for the upcoming season is the use of electronic gates to read lift passes for a couple of reasons. “It’ll let us know the patterns, like where people are skiing,” says Shallan. “They will also reduce fraud, because your picture will come up at the gate.” Shallan is a data guy who is excited about collecting information to allocate resources and even customize some ski packages, and he sees the new gates as key to that.
“We are going to be doing upgrades to both Snow Park and Silver Lake Lodges for the 2020-21 season,” he says. “They stay the same size, but with some internal changes.” There are also some early discussions of the development of the Snow Park parking areas. The overall approval was part of the original development agreement from the 1970s, which included 420,000 square feet of resort condominiums, townhouses and commercial space. “We’ll see plans within the next 12 months,” says Shallan.
Deer Valley is also looking at increasing the number of parking spaces in the existing lot, by utilizing some of the periphery. This will add approximately 200 more spaces, the same number of vehicles that were utilizing the on-street parking along Deer Valley Drive. Deer Valley has also secured a 199-year lease on 25% of Deer Valley’s skiable acres with Extell Development Company, which will be developing the Mayflower Mountain resort in the next few years.
The 2018-19 season was a banner winter for snow and skiers. “We were up 14% from prior years in paid visits,” Shallen says, “and Utah was up 24% total visitation. It was great to see how the mountain reacts when it’s busy.”
He also sees the Ikon Pass as key to resort, and industry, growth, now with 41 destinations. Ikon passes were about 15% of total visitation, and about 20 to 25% of Ikon holders formerly had a paid pass. Ski vacationers are often buying Ikon passes ahead of time and saving a bundle compared to purchasing day passes. “The average passholder is 10 to 12 years younger than the average guest,” he says. “Ikon, and the Epic Pass, are opening up the ski industry to the next generation.” But for now, snowboarders need not apply, as Deer Valley is only one of three American resorts that restricts them. “People come here because we are ski only,” he adds.
Shallan sees being part of a large group of resorts as an big advantage. “We’re individual resorts, but still a collective,” he says. “This is not top-down management.” But overall, he is very positive about the future of Deer Valley and skiing in the Wasatch. “Utah is a great place to do business!”
Park City Mountain
Vail Resorts’ multi-resort Epic Pass changed the ski industry forever. The Ikon Pass and Mountain Collective passes soon followed suit. “It has made skiing and snowboarding more accessible than it had ever been and provides a more convenient and affordable option for all guests,” says Margo Van Ness, Director of Communications at Park City Mountain. “The Epic Pass, as with all of our season pass products, is also an insurance policy against fluctuations in weather and because of the geographic diversity of our resorts; it ensures that our guests will be able to go wherever the best snow conditions may be.”
They also offer five days of free skiing and a lesson to kids with the Epic SchoolKids program, as well as the Epic Military Pass, a deeply discounted pass for just $129.
New on Park City Mountain this year is the new Over and Out lift, which will whisk skiers from the bottom of the Tombstone Express Lift to the top of Sunrise, which greatly reduces travel time between the two resort bases. The new High Meadow Park near the top of the Red Pine Gondola on the Canyons Village side is designed just for beginning skiers and riders, with wide-open slopes and great adventure trails. The Mid-Mountain Lodge has also been renovated, and a hearty lunch on the deck is always memorable.
After lunch, visitors can sign up for a free guided tour of historic mining sites on the mountain, with the Silver to Slopes Tour and learn about the history and heritage of all of this mining structures visible on the sides of the runs.
The Park City Mountain base parking lot will also be undergoing changes in the next few years. These 10 acres will be redeveloped to feature a new hotel and spa, condominiums, commercial space and parking garages. On the green side, Park City Mountain has also committed to hit net zero emissions by the year 2030. There will also be zero waste directed to the landfill by that same year and will eliminate all single-use plastic products at their facilities.
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Mayflower Mountain Resort
There are big developments, and then there are huge developments. The Mayflower Mountain Resort is the latter. It’s been three decades since we’ve seen a brand-new ski resort proposed. This 5,600-acre property sits on the eastern porch of Deer Valley in Wasatch County. According to Extell Development, the first of three hotels there will offer 388 hotel rooms and 55 private condominiums. That’s over 600,000 square feet of space. Administered by the Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA), 100 of the hotel rooms will be reserved for members of our armed forces with prices based on rank. The resort could cost one billion dollars once it’s all built out.
The proposal spans hundreds of skiable acres, the hotels, a public recreation center, a quarter of a million square feet of commercial space, 1,500 residences, and nearly 100,000 square feet of worker housing. Construction can’t begin, however, until the new Jordanelle Parkway is completed, likely next spring. While it’s too early to know if they will reach an operating agreement with Deer Valley Resort, Extell hopes to have skiers on the mountain for the 2021-22 ski season.
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