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    Vail Resorts Invests $50 Million to Connect Park City and Canyons

    Park City and Canyons will become the country's largest ski resort. Image courtesy of Dan Campbell Photography/Park City Mountain Resort.

    Park City and Canyons will become the country's largest ski resort. Image courtesy of Dan Campbell Photography/Park City Mountain Resort.

    Take $50 million, Park City and Canyons.

    Put them together and what do you get?

    The largest ski area in the country.

    When Vail Resorts purchased Park City in September for $182.5 million it was announced the intent was to connect the two Utah ski areas.

    It’s official now as Vail is undergoing an enterprising initiative to upgrade Park City Resort by connecting the two ski areas and operating them as one—one with 7,300 acres of skiable terrain—next ski season.

    The area is called Park City Mountain Resort with Canyons base area becoming Canyons at Park City.

    The capital plan involves:

    • The Interconnect Gondola. An eight-passenger, high-speed two-way gondola from the base of the existing Silverlode Lift at Park City to the Flatiron Lift at Canyons. The gondola will also have an unload at the top of Pine Cone Ridge to allow skiers and riders the opportunity to ski into Thaynes Canyons at Park City via gated ski access or to the Iron Mountain area at Canyons through new trails that will be created from Pine Cone Ridge. This will mark the first gondola at Park City Mountain Resort since “The Gondola” was dismantled in 1983.
    • Upgrade of King Con and Motherlode Lifts at Park City. The King Con Lift will be upgraded from a four-person to a six-person, high-speed detachable chairlift and will increase lift capacity to this very popular ski pod. The Motherlode Lift will be upgraded from a fixed-grip triple to a four-person, high-speed detachable chairlift, also increasing lift capacity. Both upgrades will reduce crowding, lift lines and improve the guest experience.
    • New Snow Hut restaurant, upgrades to Summit House restaurant at Park City and expansion of Red Pine Lodge restaurant at Canyons. The plan calls for building a completely new Snow Hut restaurant at the base of the Silverlode Lift and next to the Park City terminal for the Interconnect Gondola, with 500 indoor seats and a top-of-the-line kitchen and culinary experience. The plan also includes an upgrade to the “scramble” area inside the Summit House restaurant to improve the flow of diners and increase seats. At Canyons, the Red Pine Restaurant will be renovated to accommodate an additional 250 indoor seats. This upgrade follows the recent renovation and increase of 150 seats to the Cloud Dine restaurant at Canyons.
    • Snowmaking and other improvements. The plan features additional snowmaking on two trails in the Iron Mountain area of Canyons which will become increasingly central ski terrain given its proximity to the Interconnect Gondola. The plan also includes almost $5 million of “catch up” maintenance and upgrades at Park City, given the lack of spending at the resort over the past few years. This “catch up” maintenance spending is in addition to the normal annual maintenance capital for the two resorts of $5 million, which will be undertaken this year as well.

    “The plan was based on feedback from guests and the local community as well as discussions with the senior operating teams at the two resorts,” said Blaise Carrig, president of the mountain division for Vail Resorts. “We look forward to continuing to work with the county and the city and are hopeful we can bring this plan to life for the 2015-2016 ski season.”

    He said the improvements offer skiers and riders more terrain and upgraded lifts to enhance the guest experience and reduce crowding and lift lines, new and upgraded restaurants, more snowmaking and an overall “touching up”of all aspects of the resorts.

    The plan is subject to approval by local government agencies.

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