Park City ready for big winter | ParkRecord.com

Park City ready for big winter

When discussing the upcoming season at Park City Mountain Resort, the first season where Park City and Canyons will be combined, there’s no sense wasting time talking about anything other than the Quicksilver Gondola and when it will open.

Park City Chief Operating Officer Bill Rock said all the projects the resort started this summer should be ready early in the season.

"All the $50 million worth of projects are on time," he said. "We expect to open the gondola to the public mid-December. All the improvements will be ready to showcase for Christmas week."

Park City opens on Saturday, Nov. 21, with portions of both the Park City and Canyons Village sides available for skiers and snowboarders. Rock said there should be plenty of terrain open for the first weekend.

"We’ve had great snowmaking, so conditions should be excellent," he said. "I would say opening conditions will be pretty similar to last year and then we’re hoping to rapidly expand as we get into the season. Ideally the whole mountain, or at least most of the mountain, [will be open by Christmas]. Some natural snow has to come help us out, but the forecast looks fantastic and we think we’re in a good pattern. We’re optimistic."

With Park City potentially in a zone that will be affected by the El Niño weather system, Rock said he and the Park City staff are hoping for a big winter with plenty of powder.

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"I believe the most optimistic weather report out there," he laughed, "which says we’re going to have a record snow year."

He’s also expecting a big year in terms of activity on the mountain.

"There’s clearly a lot of interest around the world in Park City," he said. "Park City was already a well-known, well-loved destination. Obviously, being the biggest resort in the United States has created a lot of buzz and we think we’ll see lots of visitation."

In addition to the new connecting gondola and the Miners Camp Restaurant, Rock said Park City visitors will see other benefits from the $50 million capital improvement project.

"Visitors will see some things we haven’t talked about much," he said. "We have increased snowmaking over on the Canyons side and we’ve widened Chicane, which is key. We’ve added safety bars on Town Lift, which our guests from out of town talk about a lot.

"Then there are the finer points. The lift terminals are painted [and] there are brand-new uniforms for everybody that will really pop. There’s a crispness to what’s happening out there."

The Quicksilver Gondola area will feature new terrain and a midway station for guests to experience, Rock added.

"The mid-station on the gondola is going to be a real surprise and treat for people," he said. "It’s at the top of Pinecone Ridge. On either direction you’re riding the gondola, you’ll be able to get out and look around and get back on, or ski down to either side. We’ve built some trails on Iron Mountain and you’ll be able to ski down into Canyons. On the Park City side, depending on snow conditions, there will be gated access into Thaynes Canyon. It’ll be beautiful skiing when it’s available."

For next Saturday’s opening day celebration, festivities will start at 8 a.m. with live music, giveaways and free hot chocolate and coffee at the Park City base area. At 8:45, Rock will address the crowd and officially kick off the season as lift service begins promptly at 9 a.m. Then, from 2-4 p.m., Parlour Hounds will play a live show on the PayDay Deck.

"Opening day is going to be a big celebration," Rock said. "We’re looking at it as the first day of a new resort, a new combined resort. We couldn’t be more excited and ready to go."

Epic Pass sales will end on Nov. 22, Rock said. For those interested in purchasing a pass, visit http://www.epicpass.com . For more information on Park City Mountain Resort, visit http://www.parkcitymountain.com .