Touring Utah’s Newest Ski Resort

Cherry Peak's  brand new lodge and Gateway chairlift with three months to go until opening.
Cherry Peak’s brand new lodge and Gateway chairlift with three months to go until opening.

Utah may have lost a resort last month but now it has another.  I recently got the chance to tour what will be America’s first new ski resort since Tamarack Resort opened in 2004.  Cherry Peak Resort is under construction just outside of Richmond, Utah.  It is named after the 9,765 foot peak nearby but the ski area will not even reach 8,000 feet.  The resort was scheduled to open last season but never got enough snow and construction fell behind.  Cherry Peak Resort is owned by local developer John Chadwick and located entirely on his private land.  He has been quietly working to build the ski area for the past five years while buying used lifts and equipment.  To call Cherry Peak a resort is a stretch but this will be a nice community ski area with 1,265 vertical feet of skiing and three lifts.

Cherry Peak's trail map.  Note the lift in the middle does not exist yet.
Cherry Peak’s trail map. Note the lift to the top does not exist yet.
Gateway chairlift which came from Blackcomb, BC.
Gateway chairlift which came from Blackcomb, BC.
Looking down the Gateway chair which still needs some paint.
Looking down the Gateway chair which still needs some paint.

Chadwick is currently running the ski lift version of a chop shop with used Yan lifts from across the west being cobbled together into three new triple chairs.  Two lifts, dubbed Gateway and Vista are completed and load tested.  Gateway was Blackcomb’s former Crystal Chair while Vista came from Sunnyside at Sun Valley.  Cherry Peak also bought multiple used lifts from Squaw Valley in 2012.

Cherry Peak's owner bought at least four Yan lifts from other ski resorts.
Yan lifts from all over being taken apart and put back together.
A Doppelmayr combo assembly made it in the mix on Gateway.
A Doppelmayr combo assembly made it in the mix on Gateway.
Top of Gateway, still sporting Blackcomb's number 6.
Top of Gateway, still sporting Blackcomb’s number 6.

The completed lifts have brand new E-Max control systems which are known for being high quality yet simple.  Gateway has also been upgraded with hydraulic tensioning.  Both lifts are quite short; Gateway has ten towers Vista has only eight.  A third lift, called Summit, will be the longest of the three when it is completed with 11 towers.  I have my doubts whether Summit will be done for this season given that nothing is in the ground yet.  Towers are scattered along the line ready to go vertical but there are no footings.

Work is just beginning on the Summit lift.
Work is just beginning on the Summit lift.
Shiny
Shiny “new” bottom terminal for the Vista triple, formerly of Sun Valley.
Looking down the Vista lift, still in Sun Valley green.
Looking down the Vista lift, still in Sun Valley green.

The business model is depends on two things: snowmaking and night skiing.  In an industry first but not surprising in this part of the world, the ski area will be closed Sundays.  A lot of snowmaking infrastructure has been installed on the lower mountain so hopefully Cherry Peak can make magic happen with a base elevation of only 5,800 feet.  (For reference, that’s 800 feet lower than the marginal Jordanelle base area at Deer Valley.)  The new base lodge is beautiful and there is an awesome beginner area with one of the longest magic carpets I have ever seen.

Top of the future Summit lift.
Top of the future Summit lift with the Cache Valley below.
Top of Vista with a nice new lift shack and controls.
Top of Vista with a nice new lift shack and controls.

Cherry Peak is scheduled to open by Thanksgiving.  Running a small ski area is a tough business to be in and I wish John Chadwick and his crew the best.

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6 thoughts on “Touring Utah’s Newest Ski Resort

  1. Jepson December 1, 2016 / 2:26 am

    Nearby Kelly Canyon, ID – has traditionally been closed on Sundays

    Like

  2. Utah may have lost a resort last month but now it has another. I recently got the chance to tour what will be America’s first new ski resort since Tamarack Resort opened in 2004. Cherry Peak Resort is under construction just outside of Richmond, Utah.

    Like

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