UDOT must certify new lifts at Canyons | ParkRecord.com

UDOT must certify new lifts at Canyons

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

With Canyons officials pushing to open the state’s largest ski area on Dec. 10, the Utah Department of Transportation must still certify new lifts being constructed at the resort before they become operational.

"As soon as those projects are ready to be certified, we’ll go out there, we’ll inspect them and if they are ready to go we’ll open them up," UDOT spokesman Adan Carrillo said. "They perform tests for about two or three days then they give us their specs, all their data, all their research and all the facts that they used to come to those conclusions So if it takes two or three days of testing we’re assuming that testing period will begin shortly before Dec. 10."

The new terrain will make Canyons the third largest ski resort in North America, behind Vail Resort in Vail, Colo., and California’s Heavenly Ski Resort, according to Todd Burnette, the vice president of marketing at Canyons.

Burnette insisted that Canyons "absolutely will be ready to open to the public on Dec. 10."

A new high-speed lift is being

built near where the base of the Flight of the Canyons gondola had been.

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The certifying of that lift was underway on Tuesday, Canyons Managing Director Mike Goar said.

"The process is right on schedule," he said.

The gondola base is being moved closer to the Cabriolet lift. State transportation officials are scheduled to begin certifying the gondola on Dec. 7.

The reconstruction of Canyons also includes a new lift and 300 new acres of skiing in the Iron Mountain area, which is the southern-most part of the resort. According to the resort’s website, there will be about 10 new runs ranging from intermediate to expert.

Goar said it may be another five days before he knows when the Iron Mountain lift will be certified.

"Those certification processes need to be scheduled in advance," Goar said. "All of the systems are tested and the lift is then certified for public operation."

Carrillo said it could take a few days to certify the new chairlifts.

"Basically, they’re the ones who conduct all the testing for the design, for the construction, for the manufacture of the lift," Carrillo said. "Once they are ready to get certified they call UDOT and they say we’re ready for you to come check it out."

UDOT officials observe as the lifts are tested, he explained.

"[Canyons] knows what kind of weight it will handle," Carrillo said. "As soon as they are ready to go we’ll go out there and make sure they get it open as soon as possible because we know it’s very important to them. We’ve already been in conversations with them. This is not a surprise that they are building a brand new lift."

UDOT officials are part of a board which overseas how resort lifts are constructed in the state.

"They are also in charge of conducting check ups on these lifts," Carrillo said about the panel. "All the ski resorts are aware of that process They have to follow that process in order to certify those lifts."

"We’re glad that they are making progress and we’re glad that they are not rushing the opening without making sure that they’re properly following all the procedures that they need to follow," he added.

Goar said it was too soon to comment about which lifts would be available to skiers and riders on opening day.

"We’re looking good for our Dec. 10 opening," he said. "I’m optimistic we’re going to open a big section on the mountain."