Yesterday was the last day anyone will ever ski at a place called Canyons Resort. For those who have been living under a rock, most of the land that both resorts sit on has been owned by Talisker Corporation for decades. Most of that time Canyons was operated by American Skiing Company and Park City by Powdr Corporation. In 2013, Vail Resorts came to Utah, signing a long-term deal with Talisker to operate Canyons. Two years earlier, Powdr Corp. had forgotten to renew their lease to the Talisker land that PCMR sits on. Talisker evicted them and after a lengthy legal battle, Powdr Corporation sold Park City Mountain Resort to Vail last September.
Now under a single operator, the two resorts are about to become one. Construction is beginning now on an interconnect gondola that will connect the Flat Iron lift at Canyons with the base of the Silverlode lift at Park City. The Doppelmayr gondola will have an angle station on the ridge that separates the two resorts, from which guests can ski off either side. The gondola will be approximately 7,000 feet long with 27 towers and 60 eight passenger CWA cabins. The Canyons station will be at about 8,400 feet next to White Pine Lake in The Colony. The angle station will be just below 9,000 feet on Pine Cone Ridge with the Park City station a thousand feet lower at Snow Hut Lodge. Vail is also building a six pack, detachable quad and new lodge on the Park City side this summer.
The combined lift stats for the new PCMR are impressive. A single ticket will include 37 aerial lifts including 4 gondolas, 6 six-packs, 9 high speed quads and 18 fixed grip chairs. Nearly 85 percent of the resort’s lifts will be GaraventaCTEC or Doppelmayr. Only 5 Yans will remain in addition to the Red Pine Gondola, one of Utah’s only Poma-built lifts. Combined uphill capacity will be 78,410 skiers per hour. (For comparison Vail’s is just under 55,000.) The total lift length is 29.5 miles with 35,607 feet of vertical rise. There will be 78 loading/unloading stations and 625 lift towers. I tried but failed to calculate an exact number of chairs/gondola cabins but it will be somewhere on the order of 3,000.
It will be interesting to see how thoroughly Vail can merge two large resorts in one summer. I haven’t heard yet whether they plan to keep Park City’s white and red branding or start fresh. Canyons still has lifts painted in their old green color scheme from the ASC days as well as new orange branding. I have to believe it will take a few years to paint every lift and change every trail sign. Regardless, Park City will be a 7,300 acre monster ski resort next year. No word yet on what Big Sky plans to do with its Biggest Skiing in America™ trademark.