Park City’s New Pinecone Gondola

It's not hard to figure out where the new gondola goes.  This is looking down from the top of Crescent.
It’s not hard to figure out where the new gondola goes. This is looking down from the top of Crescent.

I found myself near Park City this week and had to check out all the construction creating Utah’s largest ski resort.  It’s one thing to read Vail Resorts’ press releases touting $50 million in improvements but it is quite another to see hundreds of workers scrambling to complete a long list of projects spread over 7,300 acres.  This post will focus on what is perhaps the most exciting part – the new Pinecone Gondola that will link Park City to Canyons.

PCMR terminal and Snow Hut Lodge under construction.
PCMR terminal and Snow Hut Lodge under construction.

The 8,200′ long gondola starts adjacent to Park City’s Silverlode six-pack where a new Snow Hut lodge is also being built.  The terminal and first two tower footings have already been poured.  From this point, the line crosses over a modest ridge and descends before beginning the climb to Canyons in earnest.  There is a break halfway up Pinecone Ridge where the liftline moderates before a steep section to the summit.  Most of the holes for the towers in this portion have been dug including the two breakover towers just before the ridge-top mid-station. I was surprised at how sharp the midstation’s angle will be – around 30 degrees.

Looking up the lift line from tower 4.
Looking up the lift line from tower 4.

Midstation site ready for a gondola.
Midstation site ready for a gondola.

The amount of work going on on the Canyons side is staggering.  Logging and grading are ongoing along with the installation of snowmaking throughout.  This is where most of the new ski terrain is. The terrain under the gondola on the Park City side is too low, too steep and faces East.  I doubt it will be skiable without considerable grading and snowmaking which will have to wait for another summer.

Canyons terminal in The Colony.
Canyons terminal in The Colony.
Looking down on the Canyons side.
Looking down on the Canyons side.

The Canyons section of the gondola is definitely the shorter of the two.  The bottom terminal is located just yards from the Flat Iron lift and White Pine Lake.  It really is in the middle of nowhere compared with the Park City station.  Some of the tower locations have been worked on this section but others have not.

Gondola parts are starting to arrive in the Park City parking lot and I imagine more will be staged in Canyons’ parking lots.  Keep in mind it’s over 15 miles for crews to drive from one end of the gondola to the other.  An access road has been completed to about halfway up the ridge but I doubt it will be completed this summer.

IMG_1470 IMG_1446  IMG_1432 IMG_1428

I was impressed how far along this project is but there is much more to do.  King Con and Motherlode are further along and I will post updates on those projects later this week.

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